Notes Ishikawas heart in Japan Masters tickets 2012

By Doug FergusonApril 5, 2011, 4:42 am

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Ryo Ishikawa understands that whatever pressure he faces this week at the Masters doesn’t even compare with what his people in Japan are facing as they try to recover from the earthquake and tsunami that destroyed so many lives.

Even so, the 19-year-old has been around long enough to appreciate the role sports can play.

That was one reason Ishikawa decided last week to donate all of his 2011 earnings on the golf course to relief efforts. The money itself, which could be in the range of $2.2 million if he has the kind of season he did in 2010, is a small amount in the big picture.

He hopes the message is what comes across.

“I would like to emphasize the power and energy that sports can create for those people to encourage them, and also it’s my intention to play really well,” he said Monday. “It will be the best way to encourage people in Japan.”

Ishikawa has not been home since the March 11 devastation. He played three straight PGA Tour event in Florida, then drove up to Augusta. His family flew in from Japan to meet him.

He had said during the Florida swing that his mind was on golf, yet his heart was at home as the Japanese try to recover. But he made clear Monday that he would not be distracted by anything except golf while at Augusta National.

Besides, the better he players, the more money for the relief efforts. Along with donating his entire earnings, Ishikawa has pledged about $1,200 for each birdie in competition.

“Right now, since my big decision, I’m 100 percent for playing golf,” he said. “I believe that as I play, I’m connected with the people that are affected by the disaster through the donation, whatever I earn for this year. And that’s why I am fully devoting myself to golf.”

Now comes the hard part.

Ishikawa is a nine-time winner in Japan, once as a 15-year-old amateur, once by shooting 58 in the final round. That hasn’t translated in America, where he has made only nine cuts in 19 events, his best finish a tie for ninth in the Match Play Championship last year.

“I haven’t been producing the results, but at the same time, I know that I am playing well,” he said. “I know what I’m doing is right at this point. And I would like to show to the American people how well I can play.”

MASTERS TICKETS: Daily tickets for the Masters will be available for the first time starting in 2012.

Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said Tuesday that a small number of daily tickets would be available, although the club does not disclose how many. The price for a daily ticket is $75, while a practice round ticket costs $50.

Until now, a weekly badge was the only ticket for tournament rounds.

Meantime, the Masters has moved its application process online for tickets. Applications are being accepted at with a June 30 deadline for daily tournament tickets and a July 30 deadline for practice round tickets. The limit is two tournament tickets for any one day and four practice round tickets for any one day.

Applicants will be notified by e-mail within several weeks after the deadline.

The Masters also said the waiting list for a weekly badge, which reopened briefly in 2000, has been exhausted.

BO AND BOB: Among the questions being asked of players on Monday under the oak tree was what makes the Masters special.

The answer was on the other side of the clubhouse.

Mark Chaney, the caddie for Bo Van Pelt, was sitting alone on the bench when an 82-year-old man in a pink shirt asked if he could join him. It was Bob Goalby, who won the Masters in 1968. This was his 53rd consecutive trip to the Masters.

The stories began to flow.

Goalby talked about the practice routine at the Masters back in his day, how everyone came over from Greensboro because prize money was so low that no one could afford to skip many events.

Van Pelt showed up a few minutes later and he was introduced to Goalby. Van Pelt knew the name well. Meeting the man was a treat. With more stories – the Ryder Cup, practicing with Ben Hogan, the rivalry of Hogan and Sam Snead  – Van Pelt listened and laughed.

This doesn’t happen at any other major.

Goalby held court for close to an hour when he realized he was running late for a lunch appointment. Van Pelt finally headed off to the practice range and then to play the course. It was a good start to his day.

NICKLAUS REVISITED: CBS Sports is planning another Sunday special that looks back at the Masters, this one involving Jack Nicklaus. Only it’s not the Masters victory everyone is talking about this year.

Some might argue it’s even better.

Jim Nantz will revisit the 1975 Masters, featuring the dramatic back nine battle involving Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller. The signature moment was Nicklaus holing a 40-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole, raising his putter and running off in celebration as Weiskopf and Miller watched from the tee.

“This is a rare mulligan for people to look back and experience this historic tournament,” Nantz said. “It is a privilege to bring back the 1975 Masters, considered by many golf purists to have been the most dramatic final round in the history of this storied event.”

Most Nicklaus memories this year are from his 1986 victory, when he shot 30 on the back nine to win a sixth green jacket at age 46. This is the 25-year anniversary of that win, which has been well-documented. Nantz did a special on that in 2006.

Nantz also produced a color version of Arnold Palmer’s 1960 win.

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U.S. captures Junior Ryder Cup

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 26, 2018, 12:29 am

The U.S. defeated Europe, 12 ½ to 11 ½, in the Junior Ryder Cup at Golf Disneyland at Disneyland Paris.

Rachel Heck, 16, of Memphis, Tenn., clinched the winning half-point on the 18th hole with a 12-foot birdie putt that halved her match with Annabell Fuller, 16, of England.

"It was the most incredible experience of my life," said Heck, a Stanford commit who last week made the cut in her second LPGA major, the Evian Masters.

Michael Thorbjornsen, 16, of Wellesley, Mass., the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, drove the green on the 315-yard 18th hole, the ball stopping within 5 feet of the pin. His eagle putt completed 2-up win over 15-year-old Spaniard David Puig and ensured that the U.S. would retain the Junior Ryder Cup, as the defending champion needs only a tie (12 points) to maintain possession of the trophy.

Singles results

Match 1 - Lucy Li (USA) def. Amanda Linner (EUR), 4 and 3

Match 2 — Rasmus Hojgaard (EUR) def. William Moll (USA), 1 up

Match 3 —  Ingrid Lindblad (EUR) halved Rose Zhang (USA)

Match 4 – Nicolai Hojgaard (USA) def. Canon Claycomb (USA), 4 and 2

Match 5 — Yealimi Noh (USA) def. Emma Spitz (EUR), 3 and 2

Match 6 —  Ricky Castillo (USA) def. Eduard Rousaud Sabate (EUR), 3 and 1

Match 7 – Emilie Alba-Paltrinieri (EUR) def. Erica Shepherd (USA), 2 up

Match 8 — Michael Thorbjornsen (USA) def. David Puig (EUR), 2 up

Match 9 – Alessia Nobilio (EUR) def. Alexa Pano (USA), 2 and 1

Match 10 —  Robin Tiger Williams (EUR) def. Cole Ponich (USA), 2 and 1

Match 11 – Annabell Fuller (EUR) halved Rachel Heck (USA)

Match 12 — Conor Gough (EUR) def. Akshay Bhatia (USA), 1 up


TOUR Championship Final Round Becomes Most-Watched FedExCup Playoffs Telecast Ever and Most-Watched PGA TOUR Telecast of 2018

By Golf Channel Public RelationsSeptember 25, 2018, 6:48 pm

ORLANDO, Fla., (Sept. 25, 2018) – NBC Sports Group’s final round coverage of the TOUR Championship on Sunday (3:00-6:19 p.m. ET) garnered a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 7.8 million average viewers, as Tiger Woods claimed his 80th career victory, and his first in five years. The telecast’s TAD was up 212% vs. 2017 (2.5m). Television viewership posted 7.18 million average viewers, up 192% YOY (2.46m) and a 4.45 U.S. household rating, up 178% vs. 2017 (1.60). It also becomes the most-watched telecast in the history of the FedExCup Playoffs (2007-2018) and the most-watched PGA TOUR telecast in 2018 (excludes majors).

Coverage peaked from 5:45-6 p.m. ET with 10.84 million average viewers as Woods finished his TOUR Championship-winning round and Justin Rose sealed his season-long victory as the FedExCup champion. The peak viewership number trails only the Masters (16.84m) and PGA Championship (12.39m) in 2018. The extended coverage window (1:30-6:19 p.m. ET) drew 5.89 million average viewers and a 3.69 U.S. household rating to become the most-watched and highest-rated TOUR Championship telecast on record (1991-2018).

Sunday’s final round saw 18.4 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports Digital platforms (+561% year-over-year), and becomes NBC Sports’ most-streamed Sunday round (excluding majors) on record (2013-’18).

Sunday’s lead-in coverage on Golf Channel (11:54 a.m.-1:25 p.m. ET) also garnered a Total Audience Delivery of 829K average viewers and posted a .56 U.S. household rating, becoming the most-watched and highest rated lead-in telecast of the TOUR Championship ever (2007-2018). Golf Channel was the No. 2 Sports Network during this window and No. 7 out of all Nielsen-rated cable networks during that span.

 This week, NBC Sports Group will offer weeklong coverage of the biennial Ryder Cup from Le Golf National outside of Paris. Live From the Ryder Cup continues all week on Golf Channel, surrounding nearly 30 hours of NBC Sports’ Emmy-nominated live event coverage, spanning from Friday morning’s opening tee shot just after 2 a.m. ET through the clinching point on Sunday. The United States will look to retain the Ryder Cup after defeating Europe in 2016 (17-11), and aim to win for the first time on European soil in 25 years, since 1993.


-NBC Sports Group-

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Tiger Woods names his Mount Rushmore of golf

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 25, 2018, 6:29 pm
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Mickelson savoring his (likely) last road game

By Rex HoggardSeptember 25, 2018, 3:49 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Phil Mickelson lingered behind as his foursome made its way to the ninth tee during Tuesday’s practice round.

He needed the extra practice, no doubt. He’s one of just six players on the U.S. Ryder Cup team with even a modicum of knowledge about Le Golf National, but the likely reason for Lefty’s leisurely tempo was more personal.

The 2019 Ryder Cup will likely be Mickelson’s last road game as a player.

He’ll be 52 when the U.S. team pegs it up at the 2022 matches in Rome. Although there’s been players who have participated in the biennial event into their golden years – most notably Raymond Floyd who was 51 when he played the ’93 matches – given Mickelson’s play in recent years and the influx of younger players the odds are against him.

“I am aware this is most likely the last one on European soil and my last opportunity to be part of a team that would be victorious here, and that would mean a lot to me personally,” Mickelson said on Tuesday.

It’s understandable that Mickelson would want to linger a little longer in the spotlight of golf’s most intense event.

For the first time in his Ryder Cup career Mickelson needed to be a captain's pick, and he didn’t exactly roar into Paris, finishing 30th out of 30 players at last week’s Tour Championship. He’s also four months removed from his last top-10 finish on the PGA Tour.

Ryder Cup: Articles, photos and videos

Although he’s reluctant to admit it for Mickelson Le Golf National looks every bit a swansong for the most accomplished U.S. Ryder Cup player of his generation.

In 11 starts at the Ryder Cup, Mickelson has a 26-16-13 record. Perhaps more telling is his 7-3-1 mark since 2012 and he holds the U.S. record for most matches played (45) and is third on the all-time list for most points won (21.5), just two shy of the record held by Billy Casper.

Mickelson’s record will always be defined by what he’s done at the Masters and not done at the U.S. Open, but his status as an anchor for two generations of American teams may never be matched.

For this U.S. team - which is trying to win a road Ryder Cup for the first time since 1993 - Lefty is wearing many hats.

“You know Phil and you know he's always trying to find a way to poke fun, trying to mess with someone,” Furyk said. “He's telling a story. Sometimes you're not sure if they are true or not. Sometimes there's little bits of pieces in each of those, but he provides some humor, provides some levity.”

But there is another side to Mickelson’s appeal in the team room. Although he’s never held the title of vice captain he’s served as a de facto member of the management for some time.

“At the right times, he understands when a team needs a kick in the butt or they need an arm around their shoulder, and he's been good in that atmosphere,” Furyk said. “He's a good speaker and good motivator, and he's been able to take some young players under his wing at times and really get a lot out of them from a partner standpoint.”

In recent years Mickelson has become something of a mentor for young players, first at the ’08 matches with Anthony Kim and again in ’12 with Keegan Bradley.

His role as a team leader in the twilight of his career can’t be overstated and will undoubtedly continue this week if Tuesday’s practice groupings are any indication, with Lefty playing with rookie Bryson DeChambeau.

As DeChambeau was finishing his press conference on Tuesday he was asked about the dynamic in the U.S. team room.

“We're going to try and do our absolute best to get the cup back,” he said.

“Keep the cup,” Lefty shouted from the back of the room, noting that the U.S. won the last Ryder Cup.

It was so Mickelson not to miss a teaching moment or a chance to send a subtle jab delivered with a wry smile.

Mickelson will also be remembered for his role in what has turned out to be an American Ryder Cup resurgence.

“Unfortunately, we have strayed from a winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best,” Mickelson said in the Scottish gloom at the ’14 matches. “Nobody here was in any decision.”

If Mickelson doesn’t step to the microphone in ’14 at Gleneagles in the wake of another U.S. loss and, honestly, break some china there probably wouldn’t have been a task force. Davis Love III likely wouldn’t have gotten a second turn as captain in ’16 and the U.S. is probably still mired in a victory drought.

Lefty’s Ryder Cup career is far from over. The early line is that he’ll take his turn as captain in 2024 at Bethpage Black – the People’s Champion riding in to become the People’s Captain.

Before he moves on to a new role, however, he’ll savor this week and an opportunity to win his first road game. If he wants to hang back and relish the moment so be it.