Friday the Day That Monty Clinched Ryder

By George WhiteAugust 27, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Ryder CupWell, Jiminy Christmas, look who showed up just in the nick of time at the BMW Open! Colin Montgomerie, thats who. And it looks like the events of his first two rounds at the tournament in Germany has sealed for him a wild-card pick for the Ryder Cup.
 
Actually, Bernhard Langer has until the tournament ends Sunday to announce his two selections (Watch Langer's picks Live on TGC Sunday following the BMW In'tl Open), and Herr Langer has been awfully secretive as to his eventual selections. But Montgomeries opening-round 67 makes it hard to overlook the six-time Ryder Cup veteran. I dont usually go by past records for current events, but Monty has gone 16-7-5 in 28 matches against the Yanks, and 4-0-2 in singles, and you just cant ignore excellence like that. Particularly with a young team such as Europe is shaping up to be.
 
Would Langer have picked Montgomerie prior to this week? Its problematic. He finished T4 in a Euro event the end of July, but other than that, his record the past three months or so has been rather pedestrian nothing else in the top 20, and a missed cut at the Smurfit European Open. He wasnt eligible for the U.S. Open or the PGA Championship. He finished T25 in the British Open. In the Volvo PGA ' another European Tour biggie ' he could do no better than a tie for 47th.
 
But if Langer was waiting to see a spark from Monty, something that plainly said, Pick me! the opening round of 67 in this weeks BMW might have been it.
 
It doesn't hurt, does it? It doesn't hurt, said Montgomerie when the first round was over.
 
If I went out there and shot 78 today, you know, what's happening here? Of course it doesn't hurt. Of course there's a bit of pressure on me. Of course there has to be.
 
Montgomerie has been going through a divorce this year, which could explain his lackluster results. If Im Langer, thats what I have to be thinking. Or at least, thats what I want to believe. If youre a European, thats reason enough to believe theres got to be something better.
 
Even more imposing than the first-round 67, though, is the fact that Montgomerie is the unanimous wild-card choice for the entire Euro team. That is very difficult to argue with. Ignore it, and you risk a team mindset that is defeatist going in. Pick Monty, and your team members immediately rally around him.
 
Joakim Haeggman, though, is still not certain. Personally, he would pick Montgomerie. Hes not sure about Langer, though. He figures Langer had his mind just about made up before this week.
 
It is not like a football coach who selects his team three hours before play, said Haegmann. He has got his mind sorted out and pretty much knows. He will know who he wants on the team and who he doesnt want on the team.
 
I mean, guys like (Frederik) Jacobson and (Luke) Donald wouldnt be over here if they didnt think they had a chance to make the team, and I am sure he would like to see some form from Colin as well. Everyone is saying that Colin is on the team, but he has got to show some kind of form as well. So it was nice to see him playing well today.'
 
And Monty's opening round of 5-under just about convinced Haeggman, too.
 
If your name is Colin Montgomerie with seven Order of Merits and X number of Ryder Cups and a great record in the Ryder Cup, all you need to do is to show people you can still play the game and he would be a great pick for a team like that. Anybody can understand that.
 
Alex Cejka thinks so, too ' in case Langer is looking for any help.
 
I think if I would be in his place, I think Monty is definitely (in), he said. He's playing very well this year. He won already. He's an experienced guy. He played the Ryder Cup many times.
 
And Sergio Garcia says that unquestionably Montgomerie can help.
 
There's no doubt that Monty is a guy with a lot of experience. He's played on many Ryder Cups. He's done very well in them. So that's a huge advantage for him going into Bernhard's thoughts, Garcia believes.

But Garcia realizes that several other players have to be considered, too, and that the events of Saturday are extremely important. He knows, like everyone, that even a Montgomerie win this week would not vault him into the position of an automatic selection. Monty has to be Langers guy ' and the feeling from this corner is he is ' or else he will be watching the events in Detroit from the sidelines.
 
You know, you can't take anything from the other guys who have been trying to qualify, too, said Sergio. My personal feeling is that, yeah, Monty is kind of like a step forward from some of the other guys. But I'm not the one choosing. So, we'll see what Bernhard is just going to do whatever he thinks is best for the team, and whatever he does, we'll all take it as the best thing.
 
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Related links:
  • U.S. and European Ryder Cup Points List

  • Full Coverage - 35th Ryder Cup
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    USC's Gaston leaves to become head coach at A&M

    By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

    In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

    This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

    Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

    Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

    The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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    Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

    Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

    Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


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    “Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

    Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

    “There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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    Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

    By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

    Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

    Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

    Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

    “Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

    Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

    “Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

    Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.

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    Just like last year, Spieth in desperate need of a spark

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 8:38 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Jordan Spieth has arrived at the Travelers Championship in need of a turnaround. Again.

    Spieth’s playoff victory last year over Daniel Berger, complete with a bunker hole-out and raucous celebration, went down as one of the most electrifying moments of 2017. It also propelled Spieth to some more major glory, as he won The Open in his very next start.

    So it’s easy to forget the state of Spieth’s game when he first stepped foot on the grounds of TPC River Highlands a year ago. Things were, quite plainly, not going well.

    He was struggling on the greens, even going so far as to switch putters at the AT&T Byron Nelson. He then failed to contend at Erin Hills, only netting a T-35 finish thanks to a final-round 69 that came hours before the leaders teed off.

    So here we are again, with Spieth in search of a spark after a series of underwhelming performances that included last week’s effort at Shinnecock Hills, where he bogeyed the last two holes of his second round to miss the cut by a shot. Except this time, the climb back to the top may be even steeper than it was a year ago.

    “I’m not sure where the state of my game is right now,” Spieth said. “If I strike the ball the way I have been this year, then the results are coming. But the last couple weeks I’ve played Muirfield and then the (U.S.) Open, and I hit the ball really poorly and didn’t give myself that many opportunities to let the putter do the work.”

    While many big names play sporadically in the time between the Masters and U.S. Open, Spieth remained as busy as ever thanks to the Tour’s swing through Texas. So even after failing to contend much in the spring outside of a memorable finale in Augusta, and even after struggling for much of his week at TPC Sawgrass, Spieth looked out at his schedule and saw a myriad of possible turning points.

    There was the AT&T Byron Nelson, played in his hometown and at a venue on which he was one of only a handful with any experience (T-21). Then a trip across town to Colonial, where he had beaten all but two players in a three-year stretch (T-32).


    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    Throw in the missed cuts at Muirfield Village and Shinnecock Hills, and Spieth has made it to the last leg of a six-event stretch that has included only one off week and, to date, zero chances to contend come Sunday.

    “I think here this week, the key for me is just to get out in the first round and try not to do too much,” Spieth said. “I mean, 90-plus percent of the tournaments the last two years I’ve thrown out my chances to win a golf tournament on Thursday. I’ve had too much to do from here on.”

    That was certainly the case last week on Long Island, where Spieth’s hopes for a fourth major title evaporated well before course conditions became a focal point over the weekend. He was 4 over through his first two holes and spent much of the next 34 stuck in a fit of frustration. He gave himself a glimmer of hope with four late birdies Friday followed by a pair of bogeys that snuffed it out with equal speed.

    Spieth has continued to preach patience throughout the year, but there’s no getting around some eye-popping stats; he's 188th on Tour this year in strokes gained: putting and 93rd in fairways hit. It can foster a pressure to find a cure-all in any given week, especially given how quickly he got a middling summer back on track last year.

    “It’s something that you fight, sure,” Spieth said. “It’s been that way just about every tournament except Muirfield, because then you go to the U.S. Open and think you don’t even have to shoot under par to win this golf tournament. So as much as that kind of comes into your head, it’s not bothering me this time. I’m going to try and have fun, and make progress.”

    After this week, Spieth will have some down time with family before making the trip overseas to Carnoustie. He plans to have a few private dinners accompanied by the claret jug, one last toast to last year’s success before turning the trophy back over to the R&A.

    But even Spieth admitted that as it pertains to his chances to follow in Brooks Koepka’s footsteps by successfully defending a major title, he’ll be greatly aided by working his way into the mix this weekend. It represents the last chance in this early-summer swing to get his name back on the leaderboard, an opportunity to light fire to a pedestrian campaign like he did a year ago.

    No pressure.

    “It’s your basic stuff that sometimes gets off, that the harder you try to get them back on sometimes, the worse it gets,” Spieth said. “It can be frustrating, or you can just kind of wait for it to come to you. I think I’m OK with where things are, whether it’s the rest of this year or next year. I feel like there are good scores coming.”