Europe eyes big Ryder Cup comeback as night falls

By Doug FergusonOctober 2, 2010, 6:42 pm

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – The Americans stood behind the 18th green with smiles rarely seen on European soil as they watched yet another match go their way Saturday in the Ryder Cup.

They won the opening two sessions. They had a 6-4 lead over Europe. They grabbed lunch and headed back out to the golf course.

And then, it all changed.

Two hours later, Europe was leading all six matches when darkness stopped play at Celtic Manor. The Americans still had the lead. It just didn’t feel that way. And with so much European blue on the scoreboard, it didn’t even look that way.

“Momentum is key in these matches, and we haven’t had any yet,” European captain Colin Montgomerie said. “And it’s been a superb session from the moment that we set off.”

No points are awarded until a match is over, but it was looking good for Europeespecially with Lee Westwood and Luke Donald handing Tiger Woods one of his worst beatings ever in a Ryder Cup. They were 4 up over Woods and Steve Stricker through nine holes.

“I’d say it wasn’t a bad thing that it got dark,” U.S. captain Corey Pavin said.

There has never been a day at the Ryder Cup quite like this one.

About the only thing that resembled a typical Ryder Cup was 11 hours of golf at its highest level.

Sixteen players from both sides competed in parts of three matches. The opening fourballs session ended before lunch, followed by six alternate-shot matches, and play finally was stopped with six matches of both formats still going on. On two occasions, a fourballs match allowed an alternate-shot match to play through.

“I’m not sure what day it is,” Zach Johnson said.

Heavy rain was in the forecast for Sunday, with 12 singles matches still to play after the third session is completed. Any stoppage in play would result in the first Monday finish in Ryder Cup history.

Woods and Stricker won their second straight match convincingly, Stewart Cink delivered a clutch putt and 21-year-old Rickie Fowler atoned for a bizarre blunder by making a birdie on the 18th hole for an unlikely half-point. Padraig Harrington won his first match for Europe in six years and Westwood looked like a player on the verge of going to No. 1 in the world.

But the final two hours changed everything.

Europe came roaring back behind Westwood, Donald and a host of others, taking the lead in every match and pulling some 40,000 fans who stood in the muck back into the game.

“Although none of these games finished, obviously we are in a very, very strong position,” Montgomerie said. “It was a very important two hours of play, and we came through it with flying colors.”

Europe had lost only four holes of the 39 that were played in the third session.

“We’re just going to have to go back tonight, rest up and fire at them tomorrow,” Pavin said. “We’re down in all six matches. I have not seen points given for matches that are through four, five, six or seven holes. So we are going to go out and try to turn those around, and try to turn the momentum back in our favor.”

Westwood and Donald, who have emerged as the European stars at Celtic Manor, might make that difficult.

They won the first two holes – Stricker missed the first green with a 9-iron in hand and Westwood holed a birdie putt on No. 2 – then let the Americans self-destruct. Woods couldn’t make a putt as they fell further behind, and the only positive note came on the ninth and final hole when Stricker made a 12-foot putt. Europe still was 4 up with nine holes to play in its foursomes match.

In the other alternate-shot match, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy birdied the par-3 seventh to go 3 up, and McDowell will have a short birdie putt when they return.

The other four matches are fourballs. Europe has 1-up leads in three of them, with Miguel Angel Jimenez and Peter Hanson 2 up over rookies Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton.

Overton and Watson led a surprising charge for the Americans, trying to win on European soil for the first time since 1993. Overton made putts from everywhere as they closed out a 3-and-2 victory in the opening session, and they were poised to win their second match until Donald drilled his tee shot to 3 feet on the par-3 17th for a 2-and-1 victory.

Woods and Stricker looked unbeatable for most of the day. They were 4-0 last year in the Presidents Cup, and even Woods’ unpredictable game didn’t change much. He contributed enough clutch shots to stay in the match long enough for Stricker to take over. Stricker chipped in for birdie on the 12th to take the lead for good in a 2-up victory in fourballs.

“His stroke is so good,” Woods said, referring to his 12th partner in the Ryder Cup. “It’s fun to watch him. He’s got that ‘go-in’ look.”

In the second session, they steamrolled Jimenez and Hanson, 4 and 3, in what has been the shortest match.

Westwood and PGA champion Martin Kaymer looked as though they would go 2-0 in their matches until a stunning turnaround in alternate-shot got Fowler off the hook for his error on the fourth hole.

Jim Furyk pulled his tee shot into the muck, and Fowler figured his best relief was to drop the ball on the cart path. But he used the golf ball in his pocket – not the one Furyk had hit off the tee – which is a loss of hole.

They recovered at the end when Furyk hit a wedge to the back of the 18th green to 4 feet. After Westwood missed his birdie putt, Fowler made the birdie for a half-point that felt like a loss for Europe, which never trailed in the match.

Cink also came up big. In a wild alternate-shot with Matt Kuchar, in which only five holes were halved, the match was all square when the advantage went to Europe on the 17th. McDowell, the U.S. Open champion, hit his tee shot to inside 10 feet while Kuchar was well left of the flag. Cink knocked in his 30-foot birdie putt, slapping hands with Kuchar in the most animated celebration the Americans had all day.

McIlroy missed the birdie putt, then hit a wedge into the bunker on the 18th when his team needed a victory.

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Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told GolfChannel.com. “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

“When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

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Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.



Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

“The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

“The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

Pay per view does that.

“You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything

By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 5:36 pm

LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:

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Finally got it down lol

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But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.

Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.

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How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

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If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.