Prez Cup much different feel than Ryder Cup for U.S.

By Doug FergusonOctober 7, 2015, 3:45 pm

INCHEON, South Korea – Comparing the Presidents Cup to the Ryder Cup is like listening to a conversation between a Scot and an American.

The biggest difference with the Presidents Cup is an American team that is filled with smiles, not stress. And there's a reason for that. The Americans haven't lost in these matches since 1998, and the last four have not been particularly close.

They walk taller. They worry less.

Jordan Spieth has played in one of each in his short but already stellar career, and it was hard not to notice the contrast between the two cups.

''It seems there is a bit of a difference in the two teams rooms in the Presidents Cup experience I've had and the Ryder Cup last year,'' Spieth said Wednesday. ''Almost like we put too much emphasis on the Ryder Cup instead of just freeing up to play our own game.''

Ryder Cup practice rounds felt like dress rehearsals. Presidents Cup practice rounds feel like a Tuesday money game on tour.

''We feel like the favorites,'' Spieth said. ''We're walking around with cockiness in our step, and often that can bite you if you're not careful, but we're aware of that. But the point is, we're out there smiling because we believe whatever matchup we want to put together, we believe we can beat the other team.''



The Americans, who have won the Ryder Cup only one time in the last 16 years, go after their sixth straight victory in the Presidents Cup when the matches get started Thursday at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea.

Adam Scott, who has yet to play on a winning Presidents Cup team in six previous tries, and Hideki Matsuyama lead off the foursomes session against J.B. Holmes and Bubba Watson, two of the longest hitters in golf.

Spieth and Dustin Johnson are in the anchor match against Marc Leishman and Danny Lee.

A lively opening ceremony Wednesday night, which featured South Korean president Park Geun-hye and former U.S. president George W. Bush, began with great suspense when a secret box was carried onto the stage. It was carefully opened to reveal the shiny gold Presidents Cup trophy.

But there really hasn't been much suspense at all.

The last time it was close was in 2003 at South Africa when it ended in a tie after Ernie Els and Tiger Woods matched pars in three sudden-death playoff holes before it was too dark to continue. Jack Nicklaus was the captain that year, and he mentioned that Presidents Cup in a speech Wednesday night. Nicklaus referred to it as the greatest sporting event in which he had ever taken part.

''We have that opportunity again this week,'' Nicklaus said.

The Presidents Cup has lacked the rancor of the Ryder Cup, which is inevitable when it's a competition between two tours (PGA and Europe) instead of the Americans against an International team in which all but one player – Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand – is or will be a PGA Tour member.

''They're all Americans, they were just born in a different country,'' U.S. assistant captain Fred Couples said.

This is the first Presidents Cup without Woods since 1996 when he was a 20-year-old playing on sponsor exemptions to avoid going to Q-School. Els didn't qualify and didn't feel worthy of a pick, so he is out for the first time since 2005.

Price has an International team that is the youngest ever despite the 45-year-old Thongchai. The captain is worried that if the Presidents Cup is another blowout, even some of the players might start losing interest.

What might give these matches a little edge is a debate over the number of matches, which were reduced from 34 to 30 this year in a decision that left neither team happy. The International team wanted it lowered to 28, like the Ryder Cup. The Americans wanted it to stay at 34.

Price believes the fewer the matches, the more likely it is to come down to the last day.

Whether that makes a difference depends largely on the one aspect that doesn't change no matter what kind of cup is involved. It's about making putts, winning holes and piling up points.

''We don't have a crystal ball, and anything can happen in this game,'' Scott said. ''But I believe we're moving closer to a great competition.''

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Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

“We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

“It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.


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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.