Monty says Europe in full health

By Doug FergusonSeptember 28, 2010, 12:03 am

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – European captain Colin Montgomerie might have had cause to be concerned about the health of his Ryder Cup team when he arrived at Celtic Manor.

Lee Westwood has not competed since the second round of the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone on Aug. 6. Peter Hanson of Sweden had to pull out of the tournament in France last week with a chest infection.

Montgomerie said both players were fit and ready to go.

“I spoke to Peter yesterday. He’s landed here in Britain now and he’s OK, he’s raring to go,” Montgomerie said. “And Lee, I’ve been following his progress very much over the last month. And I’m so glad that he’s played 36 holes over the weekend within a day, so he can cope with that all together. He’s been playing a lot of golf, a lot of practice. So there’s no worries with our fitness at all.”

There was talk that Montgomerie might take Paul Casey – who was not among the three captain’s picks – in case of an injury to Westwood or any other injury on the European side.

Casey had planned a biking trip in western Canada, and that’s where Montgomerie expects him to be.

“He’s gone for a bike ride, and I wish Paul Casey all success,” Montgomerie said. “Lee Westwood has been in close contact with me over the last month. And for that reason – total return to fitness – there was no need to have a so-called reserve.”

If either Europe or the United States needs a reserve, it must be announced before the opening ceremony Thursday. Montgomerie wouldn’t say who that might be – Casey is No. 7 in the world, but Justin Rose won twice in America this summer.

“I would have to go back to my vice captains and we would discuss the situation,” he said.


CELTIC MANOR: As the host captain, Colin Montgomerie can set up the golf course any way he likes. He didn’t do much to Celtic Manor, home of the Wales Open on the European Tour.

He didn’t think he had to, nor did he think it was in the best interest of the Ryder Cup.

“This golf course is set up in a very, very fair manner to allow the best team to win,” he said. “I don’t think it was right to set the course up any other way than to what it’s been designed for. It’s a great, great golf course and it’s in super condition.”

There is a yard-wide stripe of secondary cut about a half-inch deep, then the heavy stuff beyond that. Montgomerie said the greens would be running about 10 1/2 or 11 on the Stimpmeter, which he called ideal.

Montgomerie said the advantage was simply being a European Tour course.

“I was hardly going to set up a U.S. tour setup,” he said. “So it’s a very fair test of golf, and something that our European Tour players will be used to in the pace of greens.

“I think I’m allowing the best team here to win.”

He still can dictate hole locations. And the slower greens typically favor the Europeans.


CLASSY MOVE: The greatest act of sportsmanship in this Ryder Cup so far came on the charter flight over.

Three caddies were bumped off the flight when the plane was reconfigured and there were not enough business-class seats. Instead of sending the caddies to coach, the PGA of America paid for caddies of three captain’s picks – Steve Williams (Tiger Woods), Frank Williams (Stewart Cink) and Joe Skovron (Rickie Fowler) – to go business class from their home cities.

That’s when Jim Mackay stepped in.

Wanting Fowler’s caddie to have a good experience at this first Ryder Cup, Mackay gave up his business-class seat on the charter to Skovron. Mackay, the longtime looper for Phil Mickelson, took a seat that came open in coach on the charter flight.

“Very cool of him,” Skovron said Sunday night at the airport.

Then again, it was suggested to Mackay that an even greater gesture was NOT offering his seat to Steve Williams, who was just as content to fly on his own from his summer home in Oregon.


FREE OF CHARGE: Whether the Americans have the best team at the Ryder Cup won’t be decided until Sunday. They arrived in Wales on Monday as the richest team – at least based on what happened Sunday.

Nine Americans who played in the Tour Championship collectively earned more than $18.66 million – most of that FedEx Cup bonuses, the rest of it Tour Championship earnings. Jim Furyk was the big winner with a combined $11.35 million for both trophies.

“He walked into our team area that we had set up and he got a nice round of ovation from everybody,” U.S. captain Corey Pavin said. “Everybody is happy to see him win. And I’m sure Jim was probably the happiest of all. It’s quite a payday for him. What was it, $11.35 million or something like that? That’s a good deal. He was quite pleased.”

No one will make that much at the Ryder Cup, the one week of the year they play for free.


DIVOTS: The world ranking Monday made it official: For the first time, all 24 players at the Ryder Cup are among the top 50 in the world. It nearly happened two years ago, except that J.B. Holmes was No. 56. Eight of the top 10 players in the world ranking are at the Ryder Cup, with Ernie Els replacing Matt Kuchar in the top 10. Paul Casey, No. 7, was not picked.
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High school seniors win U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

By Associated PressMay 24, 2018, 1:44 am

TEQUESTA, Fla. - The 18-year-old Hammer, from Houston, is set to play at Texas next fall. Barber, from Stuart, Fla., also is 18. He's headed to LSU.

''Growing up watching U.S. Opens and U.S. Amateurs on TV, I just knew being a USGA champion is something that I desperately wanted,'' said Hammer, who qualified for a U.S. Open three years ago at 15. ''And to finally do it, it feels incredible. It feels as good, if not better, than I thought it would. And especially being able to do it with Garrett. It's really cool to share this moment.''

Hammer and Cole won the par-4 eighth with a birdie to take a 2-up lead. They took the par-4 10th with a par, won the par-5 13th with an eagle - Barber hit a 4-iron from 235 yards to 3 feet - and halved the next two holes to end the match.

''Cole didn't want me to hit 4-iron,'' Barber said. ''He didn't think I could get it there. I was like, 'I got it.' So I hit it hard, hit pretty much a perfect shot. It was a crazy shot.''

The 32-year-old Dull is from Winter Park, Fla., and the 42-year-old Brooke from Altamonte Springs, Fla.

''Cole Hammer is a special player,'' Brooke said. ''Obviously, he's going to Texas (and) I'm not saying he is Jordan Spieth, but there are certain things that he does.''

In the morning semifinals, Hammer and Barber beat Idaho high school teammates Carson Barry and Sam Tidd, 5 and 4, and Brooke and Dull topped former Seattle University teammates Kyle Cornett and Patrick Sato, 4 and 3.

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Arizona captures NCAA DI Women's Championship

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 11:56 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – Turns out this match play format provides fireworks. Almost always.

In the four years since the women’s NCAA Championship has switched from the stale, 72-hole stroke-play format the championship matches have been pure magic.

This year, again, the title came down to the last match and Arizona took home its third title with a 3-2 victory over Alabama when Haley Moore defeated Lakareber Abe by making a birdie on the 19th hole. The last time the Wildcats won the NCAA Championship was in 2000, when coach Laura Ianello was on the team.

Arizona def. Alabama, 3-2

Yu-Sang Hou (AZ) def. Lauren Stephenson (AL), 4 and 3

Kristen Gillman (AL) def. Gigi Stoll (AZ), 4 and 3

Cheyenne Knight (AL) def. Bianca Pagdanganan, 4 and 2

Sandra Nordaas (AZ) def. Angelica Moresco (AL), 1 up

Haley Moore (AZ) def. Lakareber Abe (AL), 19th hole

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Elway to play in U.S. Senior Open qualifier

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 10:25 pm

Tony Romo is not the only ex-QB teeing it up against the pros.

Denver Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next week, according to the Denver Post.

And why not? The qualifier and the senior major will be held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. Elway is scheduled to tee off May 28 at 12:10 p.m. ET. The top two finishers will earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, June 27 to July 1.

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Jutanugarn sisters: Different styles, similar results

By Associated PressMay 23, 2018, 10:20 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn play golf and live life differently.

The sisters from Thailand do have the same goal in the LPGA, hoping their shot-to-shot focus leads to titles.

The Jutanugarns are two of six women with a shot at the Volvik Championship to become the circuit's first two-time winner this year. The first round begins Thursday at Travis Pointe Country Club, a course six winners are skipping to prepare elsewhere for next week's U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama.

''Everybody has a chance to win every weekend,'' Moriya said. ''That's how hard it is on tour right now.''

Ariya competes with a grip-it-and-rip-it approach, usually hammering a 3-wood off the tee.

Moriya takes a more calculated approach, analyzing each shot patiently.

That's perhaps fitting because she's 16 months older than her sister.

''It's funny because when we think about something, it's always the different,'' she said. ''But we pretty much end up with the same idea.''

Off the course, they're also different.

The 22-year-old Ariya appears careful and guarded when having conversations with people she doesn't know well. The 23-year-old Moriya, meanwhile, enjoys engaging in interesting discussions with those who cross her path.

Their mother, Narumon, was with her daughters Wednesday and the three of them always stay together as a family. They don't cook during tournament weeks and opt to eat out, searching for good places like the sushi restaurant they've discovered near Travis Pointe.

Their father, Somboon, does not watch them play in person. They sisters say he has retired from owning a golf shop in Thailand.

''He doesn't travel anymore,'' Moriya Jutanugarn said.

Even if he is relegating to watching from the other side of the world, Somboon Jutanugarn must be proud of the way his daughters are playing.

Ariya became the first Thai winner in LPGA history in 2016, the same year she went on to win the inaugural Volvik Championship. She earned her eighth career victory last week in Virginia and is one of two players, along with Brooke Henderson, to have LPGA victories this year and the previous two years.

Moriya won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles, joining Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam as the two pairs of sisters to have LPGA victories.

On the money list, Ariya is No. 1 and her sister is third.

In terms of playing regularly, no one is ahead of them.

Ariya is the only LPGA player to start and make the cut in all 12 events this year. Moriya Jutanugarn has also appeared in each tournament this year and failed to make the cut only once.

Instead of working in breaks to practice without competing or simply relax, they have entered every tournament so far and shrug their shoulders at the feat.

''It's not that bad, like 10 week in a row,'' Moriya said.

The LPGA is hosting an event about five miles from Michigan Stadium for a third straight year and hopes to keep coming back even though it doesn't have a title sponsor secured for 2019. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan told reporters he's confident Ann Arbor will be a long-term home for the circuit.

''I can't tell you the specifics about how we're going to do that,'' Whan acknowledged.

LPGA and tournament officials are hosting some prospective sponsors this week, trying to persuade them to put their name on the tournament.

Volvik, which makes golf balls, is preparing to scale back its support of the tournament.

''We're coming back,'' said Don Shin, president of Volvik USA. ''We just don't know in what capacity.''