The Licking That Wont Stop Ticking

By Brian HewittOctober 13, 2004, 4:00 pm
Try as many Americans might, it becomes increasingly difficult to put the Ryder Cup behind them.
Two weeks after the Euros pummeled the Americans, 18 to 9, at Oakland Hills, Ian Poulter had a large batch of tees made up. The Euro Ryder Cup rookie then distributed them to his teammates, requesting them to sprinkle them around the tee boxes at Mt. Juliet, site of the WGC-American Express Championship.
Each peg had the inscription: Europe 18 on one side and USA 9 on the other.
Just a bit of fun, Poulter reportedly told 'The Sun,' a UK newspaper.
Fair enough, I suppose. But Poulter shouldnt be surprised next week when he finds his reception on the range a little frosty at the Funai Classic at the Walt Disney World Resort. The colorful Poulter has received a sponsors exemption for that event. But he may not be exempt from a chill from the Americans in the event.
Meanwhile, support quietly gathers for Larry Nelson as next American Ryder Cup captain. The PGA is expected to name Hal Suttons successor for the 2006 matches in Ireland sometime soon. Nelson will be 59 by then. His style would be in direct contrast to Suttons. But dont forget, Nelson has won three major championships (three more than the entire European team this year) and he went 5-0 in Ryder Cup play in 1979, including four wins in four tries against Euro Ryder legend Seve Ballesteros.
Finally, the e-mails are ceaseless on the subject of why the Americans struggle so mightily in the Ryder Cup.
The best one I have received so far comes from David Jeffrey. A few excerpts:
. . . . To me, taking an American-born golfer and putting him in the Ryder Cup is like forcing a round peg into a square hole. It is not their personality. Its forced and on top of that its a must-win pressure cooker with the eyes of the world watching. . . .
. . . . The Euros, on the other hand, are suited to the Ryder Cup format like a well-worn pair of jeans. Its an all for one, one for all mentality that is unegotistical. . . .
. . . . I couldnt help thinking, as the matches wound down, that if the PGA took its middle tier of players, even upper middle tier; guys with experience, guys with a little less ego, guys who are relying on each other a little more to get by, we might be more competitive. Guys like Scott McCarron, Tim Herron, Steve Pate etc.
. . . . Back in the days when Floyd, Watson, Kite, Irwin, Lee, Arnold and Jack were at the top, the money was still at a point where they werent corporations unto themselves. They still relied on each other a little more. They still had some struggles - not like the average American - but struggles nonetheless. Some probably play the Champions Tour to maintain their current lifestyle. Do you think Tiger, Phil and David will have to? No.
. . . . The Euros are Robin Hoods band of merry men, all willing to fit into the mix and fight for the cause.
. . . . For the Euros, the sum of the parts is much greater than the whole. For the U.S., too many good cooks are spoiling the broth.
Actually, I think Jeffrey meant the whole is greater than the sum of the parts in this instance. But you get the idea.
Point is, never underestimate the power of the underdog. If Im the next captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team, the movie I show my players the Thursday night before the matches begin is the one about the U.S. hockey team at the 1980 Winter Olympics.
Then I hand them each a bag of tees, as a reminder, that simply say, Miracle on Ice.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Getty Images

Watch: Hahn slam-dunks ace on 11th hole

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 23, 2018, 7:20 pm

There are aces, and there are slam-dunk aces. No question which one this one by James Hahn on the 154-yard 11th hole was.

Getty Images

Els' nephew Rebula wins Amateur Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 23, 2018, 7:05 pm

Ernie Els is one proud uncle.

His nephew, Jovan Rebula, won the Amateur Championship on Saturday at Royal Aberdeen to become the first South African to capture the title since Bobby Cole in 1966.

Rebula, a junior at Auburn, will join his famous uncle in Carnoustie next month for The Open. He also will get invites to the 2019 Masters and the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Rebula defeated Ireland's Robin Dawson, 3 and 2, in the 36-hole final.

"It’s unreal," Rebula said. "It’s really something that is hard to describe. I feel like many have been in this position before but it’s an unreal feeling. It hasn’t sunk in quite yet but hopefully tomorrow morning I can wake up and I will feel a little different."

Rebula received plenty of texts from Els throughout the week, and the encouragement paid off. Rebula opened a 1-up lead after 18 holes, and he extended his advantage by winning the 26th and 27th holes. He was 5 up with six to play before finally closing out Dawson on the 16th hole with an up-and-down from the bunker.

"It’s been a long week and especially today," Rebula said. "I should have finished maybe a couple of holes earlier, but it’s been awesome. A very tiring week. I’m standing here right now and there’s so much adrenaline pumping through me."

Getty Images

Squirrel gets Rory's round off to a rocky start

By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 6:42 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy’s third round at the Travelers Championship got off to a peculiar start before he even hit a shot.

McIlroy had just been introduced on the first tee at TPC River Highlands and was ready to unload on his opening drive of the day when a squirrel ran across the tee box a few feet in front of him.

McIlroy stopped his swing and laughed it off, but the squirrel continued to linger for several seconds, criss-crossing from one side of the packed tee box to the other. And while this was no black cat, the pump-fake to start his round didn’t exactly help the Ulsterman.

McIlroy ultimately blocked his drive into the right rough after enduring his brief rodent delay en route to an opening bogey, and amid soft conditions at TPC River Highlands he played his first five holes in 2 over. McIlroy started the day at 7 under, three shots behind leader Brian Harman.

Getty Images

Kaymer in six-way tie for BMW International lead

By Associated PressJune 23, 2018, 5:29 pm

PULHEIM, Germany - Danish golfer Lucas Bjerregaard shot a 5-under 67 to equal the week's lowest round for a six-way share of the lead after the third round of the BMW International Open on Saturday.

Bjerregaard had eight birdies, a double bogey and a bogey to finish on 5-under 211 - jumping 23 places and joining local favorites Martin Kaymer and Maximilian Kieffer, England's Chris Paisley and Aaron Rai, and Australia's Scott Hend at the top of the leaderboard.

Bjerregaard was fortunate to play before the wind picked up again later in the afternoon.

Full-field scores from the BMW International Open

Kaymer, the 2008 champion, delighted the home supporters with two birdies in his last three holes for a 71.

Finland's Mikko Korhonen and Chile's Nico Geyger were one shot off the lead after rounds of 69 and 73, respectively.

Defending champion Andres Romero equaled the week's best round (67) to be among a large group two shots off the lead going into Sunday, including three-time European Tour winner Andy Sullivan.

Romero is bidding to be the first player to retain the title.