Cupboard Looks Bare for US

By George WhiteSeptember 26, 2006, 4:00 pm
Well, the 2006 Ryder Cup belongs to the ages now ' and that seems like an overly dramatic way to express the situation if you are a USA fan. People, 2004 wasnt a fluke. America got beat by nine points then, and it would have finished even worse this time were it not by a supreme act of benevolence from Paul McGinley in conceding a 25-foot putt to J.J. Henry.
 
Its already in the record books, friends. Is it going to be the same for the next six to eight years for the U.S.?
 
Im searching now, going through page after page in the PGA TOUR media guide for the good young Americans. Lets see now hmmm wait a minute, Im sure theyre here someplace.
 
And ' they are few and far between.
 
Europe had three men on their team in their 20s, and all three figure to be around a long, long time ' Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey and Luke Donald. The U.S., alas, had none in their 20s. Its difficult to rebuild when you are handicapped by the likes of that. Critics are saying that we should sacrifice a Cup or two by going with more young players. But whom?
 
According to my calculations, there were 24 American men in their 20s on the PGA TOUR this year. Twelve of them wont be make the top 125 to keep their cards unless something unforeseen happens.
 
That leaves 12 to develop into star material - in a hurry. Oh, there are a few candidates - J.B. Holmes (24) won early this year in Phoenix and Bubba Watson (28) has a T3 and a fourth. He leads the tour in driving distance, but alas, he's 157th in putting.
 
Bill Haas (24) has a T4 at Wachovia, Lucas Glover (28) almost made the Ryder Cup this year and has a win at Disney. Ryan Moore (23) finished T2 at the Buick Championship. Sean O'Hair (24) won the John Deere last year.
 
Charles Howell III (27) is a terrific ball-striker but a poor putter. Ben Curtis (29) has shown flashes of encouragement, winning the British Open three years ago and winnning two more times this. But he's missed the cut six times this year. Jonathon Byrd (28) is 18th on tour in scoring.
 
The big question mark in all these 20-somethings is putting, and that is where Europe consistently has the edge. Howell is 194th on the tour rankings. Curtis is 128th. Glover at No. 44 is the best of the lot.
 
The sad thing is ' for the U.S., at least ' that the European threesome of Garcia, Casey and Donald are individually better that any of the American youngsters. For any of them to make a difference in the Ryder Cup, the U.S. men will have to show vast improvement.
 
The Americans? Dont look for much help from the older players. The worlds second-best player, Phil Mickelson, finished winless at 0-4-1. As long as he insists on shutting down the engines after the PGA, he wont help. Jim Furyk, No. 3, didnt do much to change the final result after his opening match with Tiger Woods, finishing with one win and three losses in his last four outings. David Toms? 0-3-1. Chris DiMarco? 0-3-1.
 
Tiger Woods finished at an acceptable 3-2. The rest of the battle-tested veterans ' Mickelson, Furyk, DiMarco and Toms - finished 2-13-3. Remove Furyks team wins with Woods and you have a winless 0-13-3 record.
 
Poor Tom Lehman say what you will about his captaincy, but he was in dire situation before the matches ever began. There wasnt ANY American - or Americans ' who could have made the winning difference, no combinations of players paired up for the team matches who could have brought about a victory for the U.S.
 
And the question now is ' when will it turn around? Well, what do you see? Are Garcia, Casey or Donald suddenly going to fade from world competition? Highly unlikely. Will the U.S. suddenly discover three or four golfers who are hiding in the shadows ' thats how far away they were from making this Ryder Cup competitive. And thats highly unlikely.
 
The possibility exists that it will take two or three players who are right now still in high school to again tilt the balance in favor of the Americans. Maybe, in spite of all the scoffing, a certain 16-year-old girl from Hawaii maybe some 12-year-old staying late after school to practice chipping at his local muni course. Maybe maybe maybe
 
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    Casey (62) opens up four-shot lead at Travelers

    By Nick MentaJune 23, 2018, 9:48 pm

    On the strength of an 8-under 62, Paul Casey will take a four-shot lead into the final round of the Travelers Championship. Here’s where things stand through three rounds outside Hartford.

    Leaderboard: Casey (-16), Russell Henley (-12), J.B. Holmes (-11), Anirban Lahiri (-11), Brian Harman (-11)

    What it means: Casey is hunting his third PGA Tour victory and his second this season. The Englishman went nine years between Tour titles and racked up a number of near-misses after dedicating himself to a full-time U.S. schedule in 2015. He finally broke through earlier this year at the Valspar, edging a resurgent Tiger Woods, and now looks to further kick down a finally open door. TPC River Highlands is a gettable golf course, and notable names like Day, Watson and DeChambeau lurk at 10 under, but the field may need some help from Casey, who has separated himself through 54 holes.  

    Round of the day: Casey fired the round of the week with six birdies and an eagle at the short par-4 15th. He leads the tournament in birdies made with six in each round for 18 total. He has hit each of his last 23 greens in regulation.

    Best of the rest: Jaime Lovemark signed for a 6-under 64 highlighted by an eagle at 15. He enters Sunday tied for 11th, hunting his fourth top-10 finish of the season.

    Biggest disappointment: While Casey was ripping up the course, four of the top seven players in the Official World Golf Ranking - Rory McIlroy (69), Brooks Koepka (69), Justin Thomas (70) and Jordan Spieth (71) - combined to shoot 1 under par Saturday. .

    Shot of the day: James Hahn’s slam-dunk ace from 154 yards at the par-3 11th.

    After a 3-over front nine, Hahn closed in 29 on the back for a ho-hum 67.

    Quote of the day: "That's something I rarely see from me, 18 greens in regulation. So whatever he told me worked" - Casey on his work with his swing coach, Peter Kostis

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    Watch: Hahn slam-dunks ace on 11th hole

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 23, 2018, 7:20 pm

    There are aces, and there are slam-dunk aces. No question which one this one by James Hahn on the 154-yard 11th hole was.

    It was Hahn's first ace on the PGA Tour.

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    Els' nephew Rebula wins Amateur Championship

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 23, 2018, 7:05 pm

    Ernie Els is one proud uncle.

    His nephew, Jovan Rebula, won the Amateur Championship on Saturday at Royal Aberdeen to become the first South African to capture the title since Bobby Cole in 1966.

    Rebula, a junior at Auburn, will join his famous uncle in Carnoustie next month for The Open. He also will get invites to the 2019 Masters and the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

    Rebula defeated Ireland's Robin Dawson, 3 and 2, in the 36-hole final.

    "It’s unreal," Rebula said. "It’s really something that is hard to describe. I feel like many have been in this position before but it’s an unreal feeling. It hasn’t sunk in quite yet but hopefully tomorrow morning I can wake up and I will feel a little different."

    Rebula received plenty of texts from Els throughout the week, and the encouragement paid off. Rebula opened a 1-up lead after 18 holes, and he extended his advantage by winning the 26th and 27th holes. He was 5 up with six to play before finally closing out Dawson on the 16th hole with an up-and-down from the bunker.

    "It’s been a long week and especially today," Rebula said. "I should have finished maybe a couple of holes earlier, but it’s been awesome. A very tiring week. I’m standing here right now and there’s so much adrenaline pumping through me."

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    Squirrel gets Rory's round off to a rocky start

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 6:42 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy’s third round at the Travelers Championship got off to a peculiar start before he even hit a shot.

    McIlroy had just been introduced on the first tee at TPC River Highlands and was ready to unload on his opening drive of the day when a squirrel ran across the tee box a few feet in front of him.

    McIlroy stopped his swing and laughed it off, but the squirrel continued to linger for several seconds, criss-crossing from one side of the packed tee box to the other. And while this was no black cat, the pump-fake to start his round didn’t exactly help the Ulsterman.

    McIlroy ultimately blocked his drive into the right rough after enduring his brief rodent delay en route to an opening bogey, and amid soft conditions at TPC River Highlands he played his first five holes in 2 over. McIlroy started the day at 7 under, three shots behind leader Brian Harman.