Big differences between Tiger and Phil

By Doug FergusonSeptember 30, 2010, 12:05 am

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are closer than ever in the world ranking, but far apart in personalities.

“They couldn’t be any more different,” Hunter Mahan said.

Mahan might be the one player who spends equal time with both of America’s biggest stars. He has been playing practice rounds with Mickelson for several years, and used to call him “32” to represent the number of PGA Tour wins by Mickelson (the number is up to 38). He also plays with Woods, especially now that they use the same swing coach in Sean Foley.

“Just watching them play,” Mahan said. “Tiger is very stoic and doesn’t really talk much. And I know Phil, he talks to Bones (caddie Jim Mackay) on every shot, and they really talk a lot in depth. Phil, the more he talks and chitchats, it calms him down. He likes that.”

Matt Kuchar noticed the same differences in the team room.

“I think Phil is a lot more talkative in general,” Kuchar said. “There’s a guy who’s pretty much going to speak up. And Tiger might be more like me, kind of sit back and wait his turn.”

The one time Mickelson and Woods get together is across the net on the pingpong table.

But at dinner? Practice rounds together? Partners in the Ryder Cup?

“I’ve played with both of them, all the time,” Mahan said. “I like them both. I get different things from both of them when I talk to them, about tips and stuff like that. They’re just two different people, and I wouldn’t expect them to be friends, just because of what they are aiming for and what they are trying to accomplish. Their personalities are just 180 degrees.”

KAYMER’S DEBUT: Martin Kaymer is at his second Ryder Cup, his first as a player.

Kaymer, who won the PGA Championship in a playoff at Whistling Straits, was invited to the Ryder Cup two years ago at Valhalla by European captain Nick Faldo, who thought it might help the 25-year-old German down the road.

“The experience of going to Valhalla has helped me already this week,” Kaymer said. “When I came here, I knew what to expect. I knew there would be a lot of media. A lot of things are planned. Everything is very organized. There is not a lot of time for yourself that you can sit down and relax and think about a few things.

“So those things, just the organization of things, have helped me already.”

As for the golf? Stay tuned.

“It’s my first Ryder Cup, so I don’t know how it feels on Friday morning,” Kaymer said. “But the things that happened on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, they helped me already.”

LEARNING EXPERIENCE: Though he’s just 21 and a Ryder Cup rookie, Rickie Fowler already has some experiences to draw on when the matches begin in earnest.

For one thing, he’s already won a cup on European soil – as a member of the winning U.S. team at the Walker Cup three years ago at Royal County Down, when Fowler went 3-1 as the youngest player on the squad. How much that will carry over is anyone’s guess.

“I played well in Ireland, and it was a similar stage,” he said Wednesday. “But this is multiplied by 10, 20 or 30.”

Fowler also got a close look at European captain Colin Montgomerie when the two were drawn together at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Fowler, added to the U.S. roster as a captain’s pick, probably wishes now that he’d been making notes.

“Earlier this year,” he said, “I wasn’t really thinking too much about the Ryder Cup.”

Fowler is the first PGA Tour rookie to compete in the Ryder Cup, and he’s the youngest player since Tiger Woods in 1997 to play for the American team. He’s not the youngest at Celtic Manor – that would be Rory McIlroy, who’s about five months younger.

Even so, his age is a topic.

Someone mentioned to Bubba Watson that the Americans have not won on European soil in 17 years.

“Is Rickie that old?” he replied.

TWO “I’s” IN COLIN MONTGOMERIE, NONE IN TEAM: Colin Montgomerie began his Ryder Cup career at Kiawah Island in 1991, when he earned a half in a memorable – albeit ugly – match against Mark Calcavecchia.

He was paired with Padraig Harrington when they took down the Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson experiment at Oakland Hills. He has never lost a singles match in his eight Ryder Cups.

Asked about the highlight of his career, Montgomerie made it clear what the Ryder Cup means to him.

“No personal highlight at all in the Ryder Cup, not one,” he said. “This event – personally – this event has meant nothing to me, and still doesn’t, personally. But as a team, and as a European Tour, it means the world to me.”

Montgomerie never pursued PGA Tour membership, and along with never winning a major, he is known for having never won an official tournament on American soil.

In the Ryder Cup, he has played on five winning teams.

“I had ample opportunity to go to America and join the U.S. tour as a player when I was No. 1 in Europe,” he said. “Never took it. Always supported the European Tour and the European cause, and that’s why I’m here, for Europe – for the European Tour, for the European cause and the European team.

“Personally? Nothing.”

WIDE-OPEN DANCE CARD: Zach Johnson is nothing if not adaptable.

At his first Ryder Cup appearance in 2006, he played his matches with three different partners: Chad Campbell, Scott Verplank and Stewart Cink. Johnson halved his match with Campbell, won his match with Verplank but lost in his pairing with Cink. The Europeans went on to a dominating 18 1/2 -9 1/2 victory.

With Cink the only one of those three on this year’s team, Johnson knows he’ll likely be matched with another partner at Celtic Manor. He doesn’t mind a bit.

“My game is fairly obvious,” Johnson said. “It’s not that flashy. It’s pretty boring. I prefer boring golf. My point is, I think you could be put with just about anybody and I could perform.”

Four years ago, a steady downpour and a barrage of key putts sunk the Americans at the K Club in Ireland. Johnson can’t affect how the Europeans handle the greens at Celtic Manor, but he’ll be ready if the forecast calling for periods of rain the rest of the week turn out to be accurate.

“I hope that’s not the case. But I’m a mudder,” he said. “I don’t mind grinding it out.”

DIVOTS: The Americans wore navy blue rain suits that looked like they belonged to a basketball team – white stripes, with their names stitched on the back. Tiger Woods was the only player whose name was not on the suit. … Bubba Watson says the last time he heard the national anthem played at a golf tournament was a national team for junior college players. “I was in South Africa and I got to carry the flag out to our ceremonies,” he said. “And we won by 32 shots, so we got to listen to the national anthem.” And yes, it made him cry. … This will be the first Ryder Cup that doesn’t have a player from the home country. Rhys Davies is driving Colin Montgomerie in his cart. The last Welshman to play in the Ryder Cup was Phillip Price, who was No. 119 in the world when he beat Phil Mickelson at The Belfry.

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Ciganda, S.Y. Kim share lead in Shanghai

By Associated PressOctober 20, 2018, 9:28 am

SHANGHAI - Carlota Ciganda of Spain shot a 5-under 67 Saturday to share the lead with Sei Young Kim after the third round of the LPGA Shanghai.

Ciganda carded her fifth birdie of the day on the par-4 18th to finish tied with overnight leader Kim at 11-under 205. Kim shot a 71 with four bogeys and five birdies.

Ciganda is attempting to win her third LPGA title and first since the 2016 season, when she won two tournaments in a one-month span. Kim is chasing her eighth career LPGA win and second title of the 2018 season.

''I want to win because I didn't win last year,'' Ciganda said. ''I love playing in Asia. It's good for long hitters, playing quite long, so I'm quite comfortable.''

Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai

Angel Yin also birdied the final hole for a 68 and was a further stroke back with Brittany Altomare (69), Danielle Kang (71) and Ariya Jutanugarn (71).

Yin and Altomare have yet to break through for their first LPGA win. A win in Shanghai would make either player the ninth first-time winner of the 2018 season, which would tie 2016 for the third highest number of first-time winners in a season in LPGA history.

''I love competing,'' Yin said. ''That's why I'm playing, right? I'm excited to be in contention again going into Sunday.''

Local favorite Yu Liu was seventh after offsetting a lone bogey with four birdies for a 69.

Paula Creamer also shot a 69 and shared eighth at 8 under with Minjee Lee (70) and Bronte Law (71).

The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

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Koepka's pursuers have no illusions about catching him

By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:50 am

Ahead by four, wielding his driver like Thor's hammer, Brooks Koepka is 18 holes from his third victory in five months and his first ascent to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking.

The tournament isn't over. No one is handing him the trophy and updating the OWGR website just yet. But it will likely take some combination of a meltdown and low round from someone in the chase pack to prevent a Koepka coronation Sunday in South Korea.

Thirteen under for the week, the three-time major champion will start the final round four shots ahead of his playing partners, Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, and five ahead of six more players at minus-8.

As is his nature, Poulter figures to be undaunted. The 42-year-old is fresh off a Sunday singles victory over Dustin Johnson at the Ryder Cup and in the midst of a career renaissance, having broken a five-year winless drought earlier this year. In one sense, it's Europe vs. the United States again, but this isn't match play, and Koepka, a guy who doesn't need a head start, has spotted himself a four-shot advantage.

Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

"Tomorrow I'm going to need to make a few birdies. Obviously Brooks is in cruise control right now and obviously going to need a shoot a low one," Poulter conceded. "Do what I'm doing, just enjoy [it]. Obviously try and make as many birdies as I can and see how close we get."

Perez, in the group at 8 under par, isn't giving up, but like Poulter, he's aware of the reality of his situation.

"We're chasing Brooks, who of course obviously is playing phenomenally," he said. "A lot of the long hitters now when they get in contention, they hit that driver and they're really hard to catch. I'm not worried about it too much. It's going to be harder for me tomorrow than him, so I'm going to try and go out and just do my thing, hit some shots, hopefully hit some close and make some putts and we'll see. I don't expect him to come backwards, but hopefully I can try to go catch him."

Gary Woodland, also 8 under par, summed up the predicament best when he alluded to Koepka's perhaps advantageously aloof demeanor.

"You obviously want to get off to a good start and put pressure on him as soon as you can," he said. "You know, Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much, and he's playing so good, so you're going to have to go out and post a number."

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Koepka has his chance 'to earn' his way to No. 1

By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:09 am

There won't need to be any wonky math involved. He won't have to settle for finally reaching the the top via some kind of mathematical reset while he's sitting at home on the couch (or more likely working out in the gym).

No, Brooks Koepka on Sunday in South Korea will have a chance to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking the way every player would most want to - with a victory.

On the strength of a bogey-free round of 5-under 67 Saturday, Koepka will enter the final round of the CJ Cup four clear of Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, with six more players five behind.

The tournament is Koepka's to lose, and so too is the No. 1 ranking. So long as Justin Thomas doesn't somehow defend his title from 12 shots back, Koepka can supplant Dustin Johnson atop the rankings with a win or a solo second-place finish.

Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

"It was something I wanted to do. I always wanted to become World No. 1 in a week that I was playing," Koepka said Saturday. "I thought like I could really earn it and not have a week off where it just so happens that you bump up. No, it would be very special, and to do it here would be nice and hopefully get to world No. 1 and cap it off with a win, I don't think there would be much better."

It would be a fitting end to this breakthrough year for Koepka, who successfully defended his U.S. Open title and then added his third major victory at the PGA Championship en route to claiming the PGA Tour's Player of the Year Award. Oddly enough, considering his status a three-time major winner and an impending No. 1, this would be Koepka's fifth Tour victory but only his second in a non-major; his only regular Tour win to date was his first, at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

"My confidence has always been pretty high," Koepka said. "Anytime you can win three majors you're going to be feeling pretty good about yourself. To do what I've done over the last two years has been special, but I'm looking to build on that."

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Koepka ahead by four, with No. 1 ranking in his grasp

By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 5:48 am

Following a closing birdie and a third-round 67 at Nine Bridges, Brooks Koepka will take a four-shot lead over Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy into final round of the CJ Cup. Here's how Koepka separated himself from the field in South Korea.

Leaderboard: Koepka (-13), Piercy (-9), Poulter (-9), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-8), Cameron Smith (-8), Jaime Lovemark (-8), Pat Perez (-8), Gary Woodland (-8), Chez Reavie (-8)

What it means: Koepka is in search of his fifth PGA Tour victory and – believe it or not – only his second non-major. The three-time major champion’s only other win came all the way back in February 2015, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. One off the lead to start the day, Koepka opened with eight straight pars and birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to take the outright lead at 10 under par. He added three more circles at 14, 17 and 18 to close out a bogey-free round of 5 under and go ahead by ahead by four. He'll be chased on Sunday by Piercy, a four-time PGA Tour winner who won the Zurich Classic earlier this year alongside Billy Horschel, and by Poulter, who ended a five-year worldwide winless drought back in April and is coming off a 2-2 performance at the Ryder Cup, with a Sunday singles victory over current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Speaking of which, unless Justin Thomas finds a way to win this tournament from 12 back, Koepka will for the first time ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a win or a solo second-place finish.

Round of the day: After contending last week at the CIMB, Shubankhar Sharma rebounded from opening rounds of 74 and 75 with a nine-birdie, 8-under 64 to move up 45 spots into a tie for 26th through 54 holes.

Best of the rest: Four players – Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ted Potter Jr., Jason Day and Brendan Steele – shot 7-under 65 Saturday. Day played his first four holes in 2 over and his final 14 in 9 under.

Biggest disappointment: The only previous winner of this event, world No. 4 Justin Thomas entered the week with a chance to take back the No. 1 ranking with a successful title defense. But rounds of 73-70-72 have him 1 under for the week. Thomas played his back nine in 1 over Saturday with six pars, a birdie, a quadruple bogey and a closing eagle.

Shot of the day: Koepka flying his tee shot 330 yards to the front edge of the green at the par-4 14th and going on to two-putt for birdie.