Woods ready for Ryder Cup challenge

By Doug FergusonSeptember 28, 2010, 9:19 pm

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – The Ryder Cup is getting personal for Tiger Woods.

Interrupting an otherwise dull press conference Tuesday, Woods fired back at a comment Rory McIlroy made six weeks ago that “I would love to face” the world’s No. 1 player in the Ryder Cup unless his game rapidly improved.

Asked for a reaction, Woods leaned into the microphone and said only, “Me, too.”

The quote from McIlroy – the closest thing to bulletin board material at Celtic Manor – came the week after Woods’ golf reached a low point in a dismal season. He had the highest score of his career and beat only one player in the 80-man field at Firestone.

McIlroy was not worried that he had given Woods or the U.S. team any more motivation.

“I’m fine. I’m all right,” said the 21-year-old from Northern Ireland. “You’ve got to realize, I said those things the week after he had just shot 18 over at Akron, so he wasn’t playing too well at the time.”

Woods was aware of the comment before arriving in Wales.

He mentioned the quote two weeks ago at Cog Hill while talking about Stephen Ames, whom Woods had beaten 9 and 8 in the Match Play Championship after Ames was quoted making fun of Woods’ accuracy.

“At least Rory said, ‘Unless my game improves,”’ Woods said in Chicago.

There also were stories circulating at Cog Hill that Woods had said to McIlroy upon passing him, “Careful what you wish for.” McIlroy, however, denied that ever happened.

The singles matches on Sunday, which decide the Ryder Cup, are a long way off. And because it’s a blind draw, there is no guarantee Woods and McIlroy would play each other.

Singles rarely has been a problem for Woods or the other top American players. Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk—the core of the U.S. team since 1997 – collectively have won 125 times on the PGA Tour, including 19 majors.

That hasn’t carried over into the Ryder Cup.

In singles, they are 10-6-2, with Woods and Furyk losing only once. In fourballs and foursome matches, with different partners in the 18 Ryder Cups they have played, that trio is 18-34-9.

Maybe that explains why they all have losing records, and have played on losing teams.

“It’s disappointing,” Furyk said. “But I guess we’ve got an opportunity to get closer back to square. Instead of looking at the past, I think right now you look ahead. You look ahead to Friday, Saturday, Sunday and not worry about what’s happened. The bad news is the last 20 years, we haven’t won very often. Right now … try to figure out how we’re going to take the cup back home with us.”

Tuesday was the first day of practice on the Twenty Ten course at Celtic Manor, designed specifically for the Ryder Cup. What began under a light drizzle soon gave way to mild sunshine, only for rain to arrive toward the afternoon.

Based on the foursomes both captains sent out, there were no surprises.

Europe started on the back nine with Francesco and Edoardo Molinari playing with McIlroy and Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland. Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington and Ross Fisher brought up the rear.

European captain Colin Montgomerie defended his selection of Harrington, a three-time major winner who has not won in two years, saying he played the best of anyone on his side during practice and made two eagles.

“There’s reasons why Padraig Harrington was picked, and judge me about that selection on Oct. 4,” Montgomerie said.

Montgomerie cited the record of Luke Donald – 5-1-1 – when he made the Englishman a captain’s pick. Donald, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood all have winning records in the Ryder Cup. They are considered to be good Ryder Cup players.

Does that mean Woods, Mickelson and Furyk are not good Ryder Cup players because of their records?

“You can say that about a number of players,” Montgomerie said. “Tiger’s record in the Ryder Cup is not quite as bad as people think it is. It’s just because his individual record is incredible.

“Who says that won’t happen this week?”

Woods played alongside Steve Stricker, with whom he was 4-0 at the Presidents Cup a year ago. They were joined by Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson, while the anchor foursomes was Mickelson and Dustin Johnson with Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler, the 21-year-old who became the first PGA Tour rookie to be picked for the Ryder Cup.

Woods got through his least favorite part of the week – his press conference – putting little thought into any of his answers, except when he listened to one British reporter refer to him as an ordinary golfer. Woods thought he recognized the reporter from the British Open who harshly asked whether he would respect the game.

“I hope you’re having a good week,” Woods replied.

His teammates painted a different picture, especially Stricker. Woods gave him a putting tip during the practice round, and Stricker noted that Woods was hitting the ball crisply and his spirits were high.

“He’s talking very positively,” Stricker said. “I think his motivation level is high, as it is always in this event. I think he’s a little misunderstood when it comes to these team events.”

Asked what he meant by talking positively, Stricker said it appeared to him that Woods was “in a good place.”

The sex scandal that led to so many humiliating headlines also cost him his marriage – the divorce became official Aug. 23 – and kept Woods from qualifying for the Ryder Cup team for the first time. He is playing as a captain’s pick, although Woods says he feels no extra pressure to perform.

Even so, he no longer looks as unbeatable – even in individual tournaments – and McIlroy picked up on that.

“He’s still a fantastic guy, and I’m sure he’ll get back to winning the way he used to,” McIlroy said. “For the meantime, I suppose a little bit of that aura is probably gone.”

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Molinari holds off McIlroy to win BMW PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 3:20 pm

VIRGINIA WATER, England - Rory McIlroy left his victory charge too late at Wentworth as Francesco Molinari delivered a clinic in front-running to win the BMW PGA Championship by two shots with a 4-under 68 on Sunday.

McIlroy, who led by three shots at halfway, entered the final round tied for the lead with Molinari on 13 under par but a Sunday shootout at the European Tour's flagship event never really materialized.

Instead, as McIlroy toiled to a 70 that was propped up by birdies on the par fives at Nos. 17 and 18, Molinari went bogey-free for a second straight day to claim the fifth victory of his career and the biggest since a World Golf Championship in Shanghai in 2010.


Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship


The Italian only dropped two shots all week and finished on 17-under 271, with McIlroy alone in second place. Alex Noren (67) and Lucas Bjerregaard (65) were tied for third place a stroke further back.

Molinari moved into the automatic qualifying places for the Ryder Cup, which he hasn't played since 2012 when Europe beat the United States in the so-called ''Miracle at Medinah.''

He'd previously had five top-10 finishes in the last six years at Wentworth, including being runner-up to Noren last year.

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Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.