U.S. jumps out to 4-1 Presidents Cup lead

By Doug FergusonOctober 8, 2015, 7:02 am

INCHEON, South Korea - Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson won the only match that reached the 18th hole Thursday, the final touch on another dominant day for the Americans in the Presidents Cup.

The rest of the foursomes matches were not much of a contest as the Americans built a 4-1 lead after the opening session.

It was the fifth straight time the Americans have taken the lead in the opening round of this one-sided contest, and the three-point lead was their largest margin since they had a four-point lead in 2007 in Canada.

The Americans are going for their sixth straight victory, and after one day at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, there was a familiar feel to the event.

The South African duo of Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace won the only match for the International side, taking advantage of a few poor shots by Matt Kuchar to seize control on the back nine for a 3-and-2 win over Kuchar and Patrick Reed.

It was the first point for Grace, who went 0-4 two years ago at Muirfield Village in Ohio.

''I know we're behind,'' Grace said. ''But one point is better than none.''

Even so, this was another strong display by the U.S., which never trailed in the other four matches and has lost only one time in the Presidents Cup since it began in 1994.

Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker, who halved all three of their team matches at the Ryder Cup last year, finally got their first full point in the shortest match of a short day. They ran off three straight birdies early and had three more on the back nine to win, 5 and 4, over Anirban Lahiri of India and Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand.

Jordan Spieth, the No. 1 player in the world, and Dustin Johnson proved as formidable as advertised in a 4-and-3 win over New Zealand's Danny Lee and Marc Leishman of Australia.

Perhaps the most pivotal match was the first one. Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes, two of the longest hitters in golf, never trailed after a birdie on the second hole, though it was tight on the back nine against Australia's Adam Scott and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama.

By then, the Americans were ahead in three other matches, and the International team could have used a win to at least keep it close. The Americans were 1 up when Scott missed a putt to win the hole, and the U.S. pulled ahead 2 up when Matsuyama left a downhill birdie attempt short and Holmes rolled in an 8-foot birdie on No. 15. Holmes rolled in a birdie on the 16th from about 15 feet to close out a 3-and-2 win.

Jason Day tried to give the International side at least a little momentum going into Friday. Day and Australian compatriot Steven Bowditch were 2 down to Mickelson and Johnson with two holes to play when Day poured in a 40-foot birdie putt to send the match to the 18th. Bowditch hit a long iron to about 18 feet for an eagle chance, though Mickelson pounded his tee shot so far that Johnson was able to stick his approach to 10 feet. Day narrowly missed the eagle putt, and conceded the eagle to the Americans for a 2-up win.

Mickelson, who has never missed a Presidents Cup, tied a tournament record with his 11th foursomes victory. Tiger Woods also has 11 foursomes wins.

The format was changed this year to eliminate one match a day and reduce the total points from 34 to 30. That didn't help the International side. The way Thursday went, it might have kept the score from being worse.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


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“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”