US wins Presidents Cup once again

By Doug FergusonOctober 12, 2009, 12:37 am
Presidents CupSAN FRANCISCO – Tiger Woods provided a fitting conclusion Sunday to a perfect week at the Presidents Cup, for him and an American team that remains perfect at home.

With a flop shot out of the trees to set up one last birdie, Woods won the point that clinched the cup and made him only the third player in the Presidents Cup to win all five matches.

His 6-and-5 victory over Y.E. Yang was a tiny token of revenge for Woods blowing a final-round lead to him in the PGA Championship this summer. Even so, it was the first time in either the Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup that Woods earned the decisive point.

And he didn’t even know it.

Elin Woods Fred Couples Presidents Cup
Fred Couples and Elin Woods celebrate after Tiger Woods' winning putt to beat Yang on Sunday. (Getty Images)

“Oh, perfect,” Woods said, an apt choice of words. “All I knew was I was trying to get my point, and I was 5 up trying to make it 6.”

Phil Mickelson wrapped up another anticlimactic finish with a 7-foot birdie putt for a 2-and-1 victory over Retief Goosen, leaving Lefty unbeaten (4-0-1) in the Presidents Cup for the second time in the last three contests.

The Americans won 19 1/2 -14 1/2 , the same margin as last time against an overmatched International team.

The United States leads 6-1-1 since the Presidents Cup began in 1994, and it improved to 5-0 on home soil, the previous four victories coming across the country in Virginia.

“I’m sure we tried our best all week,” Geoff Ogilvy said after his 2-and-1 victory over Steve Stricker. “Coming in today, we had too much to do and the U.S. team was obviously very motivated.”

British Open champion Stewart Cink, disgusted with his performance Saturday, asked to play early and put the first point on the board by overwhelming Adam Scott, a questionable captain’s pick who contributed only one point for the week.

Sean O’Hair and Anthony Kim followed with big victories of their own, while Hunter Mahan eventually won his leadoff match over Camilo Villegas of Colombia, the only player to get shut out at Harding Park.

That set the stage for Woods, whose performance has been mediocre since he started playing these team competitions in 1997.

He won four holes in a five-hole stretch in the middle of the round, pouring in one birdie putt after another, then sealed it with a 9-foot birdie on the 13th hole.

Woods went 5-0 for the week, joining Mark O’Meara (1996) and Shigeki Maruyama (1998) as the only players to win all five matches in the Presidents Cup. Woods has 18 victories, the most of any player in this event.

Woods and Stricker became the first partnership in the Presidents Cup to win all four of their matches, with Stricker making all the putts and Woods providing the defining moment Saturday morning with a 25-foot birdie and a 3-iron to 8 feet on the par-5 18th that turned a certain loss into an inspiring victory in foursomes.

U.S. captain Fred Couples was the first to greet Woods with a hug.

When Couples was appointed captain, he called Woods and jokingly asked for a big favor: Make the team so Couples wouldn’t have to waste a captain’s pick on the world’s No. 1 player.

What he didn’t tell Woods were the expectations Couples had for him at Harding Park.

“I needed him – this is going to sound stupid – to go 5-0,” Couples said.

It was the first time Woods and Yang have played together since the South Korean became the first player to rally in the final round at a major to beat Woods. This wasn’t quite the same.

“He got me there, and I figured I could get him here,” Woods said. “It certainly was not exactly the same atmosphere, but then it still was an important point.”

Mickelson might have played the best for the Americans, carrying along three partners in the team matches and hanging on to beat Goosen. He went 4-0-1 for the week, and revealed after his match that his wife, Amy, had joined him on the weekend.

She is recovering from breast cancer and has not traveled with Mickelson since The Players Championship, a week before she was diagnosed. Amy Mickelson did not come to Harding Park on Sunday.

“I didn’t think she was coming up, and she actually hid in the bathroom when I walked in my room,” Mickelson said. “I didn’t know she was there, and she scared me pretty good. It was an awesome surprise, though.”

Among the few bright spots for the International team on a cold autumn afternoon was Tim Clark, who made eight birdies in 15 holes for a 4-and-3 victory over Zach Johnson. Ryo Ishikawa of Japan, at 18 the youngest player ever in these matches, kept his cool down the stretch to beat 49-year-old Kenny Perry.

Another moment came from Vijay Singh, who led the International team with a 2-0-3 record. It might have been slightly better, but after narrowly missing an eagle putt on the 18th hole, he graciously conceded Lucas Glover’s 7-foot birdie putt to halve the match.

Glover had been 0-3 for the week, and it kept the U.S. Open champion from being shut out.

“He would have made it, anyway,” Singh said.

By then, the Presidents Cup had long been decided. The Americans had a three-point lead going into singles, and picked up seven points in the final session.

Next up is a trip to Royal Melbourne in Australia in 2011, site of the International team’s only victory. Greg Norman is expected to return as International team captain. The Americans, meanwhile, start qualifying in earnest next year for the Ryder Cup in Wales.

This is the first time since 2000 that the Americans held the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup at the same time.

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Vegas helicopters in to Carnoustie, without clubs

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 9:33 am

Jhonattan Vegas did some range work, putted a little and strolled to the first tee for his 5:31 a.m. ET start in the 147th Open Championship.

Everything before that, however, was far from routine.



Vegas' visa to travel to Scotland expired and the process to renew it got delayed - and it looked like his overseas' flight might suffer the same fate. Vegas, upon getting his visa updated, traveled from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Canada to Glasgow, Scotland, and then took a helicopter to Carnoustie.

He arrived in time on Thursday morning, but his clubs did not. Mizuno put together some irons for him and TaylorMade got him his preferred metal woods. He hit the clubs for the first time on the range, less than 90 minutes before his start.

"I'm going to go out there and play with freedom," Vegas told Golf Channel's Todd Lewis.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:40 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on GolfChannel.com.  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:30 am

Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

How old is it?

It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

Where is it played?

There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

Where will it be played this year?

At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

Who has won The Open on that course?

Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

Who has won this event the most?

Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

What about the Morrises?

Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

Have players from any particular country dominated?

In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

Who is this year's defending champion?

That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

What is the trophy called?

The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

Which Opens have been the most memorable?

Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.