Police the Ryder Cup No Way
Something must be done, of course, to prevent the abuse heaped upon Colin Montgomerie at the match at Brookline. That was garbage in its most rotten form. The stench has again raised the issue of better crowd control, less alcohol, etc. Something must be done to stifle such rowdiness.
But the rest of the complaining might as well be done to a crowd of deaf-mutes. There will be no less partisan displays, no fewer yelps or spontaneous outbursts, no matter what efforts are made to calm the crowd down. And though it certainly won't be done in the same manner, expect the unrestrained exuberance amongst the players to be every bit as lively as 1999 when the eruption among the Americans occurred on the 17th green following Justin Leonard's putt.
Why? Because that is the way both sides want it. Why? Because both teams in their lockerrooms work themselves into a frenzy to get ready for the matches. And regardless of how much both captains say it's a gentleman's game and you should cheer good shots on BOTH sides and at the end of the day sit down to enjoy a glass of ale together - it just ain't gonna happen, folks.
Sam Torrance, the European captain for the 2001 matches, made the tea-and-crumpets speech at the Belfrey last week. The Belfrey in England is the site of the 2001 Ryder Cup. Pardon me, but it sounded much the same as every speech has since that War on the Shore - Kiawah Island - took place in 1991.
That was when the participants first noticed the crowds getting into it as aggressively as they did. Of course, European powder keg Seve Ballesteros did much to whip up the locals with a couple of timely remarks, but it was nothing that he hadn't been saying since 1985. Paul Azinger retorted in kind for the U.S., and there you had it. A real, honest-to-goodness contest was in the offing. European captain Tony Jacklin started the war of words in the 1980s as he whipped up his boys into believing they were as good as the Yanks, and before long you had it, as dandy a little controversy as you'll find in any football game or Presidential election.
'There is one thing that is bigger than the Ryder Cup, and that is the game itself,' said Torrance. 'At times it seems like the most important thing is winning - but not at all costs. The integrity of the game in more important than that.'
Sorry, but the cows were out of the barn long before - about 15 years before. Naturally, that doesn't cover personal abuse such as was heaped upon Montgomerie. But wildly exuberant fan support will forever be a part of the matches now. The media, who have taken a lion's share of the abuse, will forever be a part of it. There will always be two or three or four players who will say something in the heat of the moment that probably wouldn't be said otherwise. And there will always be a captain or two who will allow something to slip - maybe on purpose.
The European Tour tells us there will be closed-circuit television cameras watching the crowd next year. There will be stewards and police to separate the rowdies from the gentility. There is a new policy on alcohol, that of drinking at the point of purchase instead of being allowed to roam the course with the offending swill.
The point is, this is the greatest spectacle that golf puts on. It is the one time every two years when patrons cheer as they do at a football game. It is a different kind of contest, one involving a home team and a visiting team. Crowds feel as if it's their duty to make the difference, as they do in every other sport except tennis. In 2001 it's Europe's turn. In 2003 the U.S. gets another chance. And once every two years, golf steps out of its blue-blooded mode and gets down where the people are.
The players don't particularly like it because it ups the pressure quotient by the multiples. The visitors will grouse if they get beat. The winners will chortle like schoolboys. It will be a supreme test of the nerves, as it has been for the past 15 years.
There is one way to return civility to the matches. Let Europe go on an extending losing spell as it did for about 50 years, until the early '80s. Then you'll see plenty of stiff upper lips, British accents saying, 'Jolly good match, old boy, jolly good match.'
Yes, the rancor will be gone. The enthusiasm will be gone. So will the suspense. And, of course, the fans will be gone, too.
It's impossible to police the Ryder Cup, at least the cheering - and I dare say, some of the jeering. That's why the pressure is so great at the matches, many times what it is when one is faced with a five-footer to win the U.S. Open. It isn't going away, Matilda. It isn't going away.
S.Y. Kim leads Kang, A. Jutanugarn in Shanghai
SHANGHAI -- Sei Young Kim led the LPGA Shanghai by one stroke at the halfway point after shooting a 5-under-par 67 in the second round on Friday.
Kim made six birdies, including four straight from the sixth hole, to move to a 10-under 134 total. Her only setback was a bogey on the par-4 15th.
Kim struggled in the first half of the year, but is finishing it strong. She won her seventh career title in July at the Thornberry Creek Classic, was tied for fourth at the Women's British Open, and last month was runner-up at the Evian Championship.
''I made huge big par putts on 10, 11, 12,'' Kim said on Friday. ''I'm very happy with today's play.''
Danielle Kang (68) and overnight leader Ariya Jutanugarn (69) were one shot back.
''I like attention. I like being in the final group. I like having crowds,'' Kang said. ''It's fun. You work hard to be in the final groups and work hard to be in the hunt and be the leader and chasing the leaders. That's why we play.''
She led into the last round at the Hana Bank Championship last week and finished tied for third.
Brittany Altomare had six birdies in a bogey-free round of 66, and was tied for fourth with Bronte Law (68) and Brittany Lincicome (68).
Angel Lin eagled the par-5 17th and finished with the day's lowest score of 65, which also included six birdies and a lone bogey.
'Caveman golf' puts Koepka one back at CJ Cup
JEJU ISLAND, South Korea – Brooks Koepka, recently named the PGA Tour Player of the Year, gave himself the perfect opportunity to become the No. 1 player in the world when he shot a 7-under par 65 to move to within one shot of the lead in the CJ Cup on Friday.
At the Nine Bridges course, the three-time major champion made an eagle on his closing hole to finish on 8-under par 136 after two rounds, just one stroke behind Scott Piercy, who was bogey-free in matching Koepka's 65.
With the wind subsiding and the course playing much easier than on the opening day when the scoring average was 73.26, 44 players – more than half the field of 78 – had under-par rounds.
Overnight leader Chez Reavie added a 70 to his opening-round 68 to sit in third place at 138, three behind Piercy. Sweden's Alex Noren was the other player in with a 65, which moved him into a tie for fourth place alongside Ian Poulter (69), four out of the lead.
The best round of the day was a 64 by Brian Harman, who was tied for sixth and five behind Piercy.
The 28-year-old Koepka will move to the top of the world rankings when they are announced on Monday if he wins the tournament.
Thomas, playing alongside Koepka, matched Koepka's eagle on the last, but that was only for a 70 and he is tied for 22nd place at 1 under.
Koepka's only bogey was on the par-5 ninth hole, where he hit a wayward tee shot. But he was otherwise pleased with the state of his ''caveman golf.''
''I feel like my game is in a good spot. I feel like the way I played today, if I can carry that momentum into Saturday and Sunday, it will be fun,'' Koepka, winner of the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship, said.
''My game is pretty simple. I guess you can call it like caveman golf – you see the ball, hit the ball and go find it again. You're not going to see any emotion just because I'm so focused, but I'm enjoying it.''
Piercy, who has fallen to No. 252 in the world ranking despite winning the Zurich Classic earlier this year with Billy Horschel – there are no world ranking points for a team event – was rarely out of position in a round in which he found 13 of 14 fairways off the tee and reached 16 greens in regulation.
''Obviously, the wind was down a little bit and from a little bit different direction, so 10 miles an hour wind versus 20s is quite a big difference,'' said Piercy, who is looking for his first individual PGA Tour win since the Barbasol Championship in July 2015.
''It was a good day. Hit a couple close and then my putter showed up and made some putts of some pretty good length.''
Australia's Marc Leishman, winner last week at the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, shot a 71 and was seven behind. Paul Casey's 73 included a hole-in-one on the par-3 seventh hole and the Englishman is nine behind Piercy.
Koepka primed for CJ Cup win and world No. 1
Brooks Koepka wants a 2-for-1 at the CJ Cup. If he can collect his second non-major PGA Tour victory he can become world No. 1 for the first time in his career.
He’s in great position to accomplish his goal.
Koepka eagled the par-5 18th en route to a 7-under 65 in the second round at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea. At 8 under par, he is one back of 36-hole leader Scott Piercy (65).
"Obviously the wind didn't blow. It was a different golf course than it was yesterday, you were able to take advantage of these par 5s," said Koepka, who opened in 71 on Day 1. "Felt like it was a lot more gettable. I putted so well, great ball-striking day, great putting day and very pleased with it."
Koepka, currently ranked third in the world, began the day three shots off the lead, but rapidly ascended the leaderboard. He birdied four of his first eight holes before finding trouble at the ninth. Koepka hooked his tee shot out of bounds, but the ninth is a par 5 and he was able to salvage bogey.
That was his only dropped shot of the day.
The reigning Tour Player of the Year birdied the 12th and 14th holes in his bid to keep pace with Piercy. Koepka was two back as he played his final hole, where he knocked his second shot to 10 feet. He deftly converted the eagle effort to tie Piercy and earn a spot in Saturday’s final twosome. Piercy later pulled a shot ahead with a birdie at the ninth, his final hole of the day.
Koepka has officially won four PGA Tour events, but three of those are majors (2017, ’18 U.S. Open; 2018 PGA). His lone non-major win was the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
"Just keep doing what I'm doing," Koepka said of his plan for the final two rounds. "I'm hitting it well and making putts. I felt like I probably could have shot about 7, 8 under on the front side there, missed a couple. You know, doing everything right and that's what you've got to do and hopefully this wind stays away."
He can still reach world No. 1 with a solo second place, assuming Justin Thomas, currently world No. 4, doesn’t win this week.
That will take a mighty weekend effort by the defending champ.
Thomas also eagled the 18th hole to go from 1 over to 1 under. He shot 2-under 70 in the second round and is seven shots off the lead.
'Go in'? Yes, JT wants an ace at the par-4 14th
Justin Thomas didn’t hesitate after hitting his tee shot on the 353-yard, par-4 14th in Round 2 of the CJ Cup.
“Go in,” he immediately said.
“Please go in,” he added.
Thomas’ tee shot was on a great line, but it landed just short of the green. Surprisingly, it took three more shots for his ball to "go in." After birdies on Nos. 12 and 13, Thomas parred the 14th.