Where Golf is Simply a Game

By George WhiteSeptember 18, 2005, 4:00 pm
Retief Goosen was just making a joke, nothing more. But he was asked about his International team that will participate in the Presidents Cup this week, and he couldnt help but notice a remarkable difference between his bunch and the team that represents Europe in the Ryder Cup.
Well, we lose against America, so we must be really bad! he said, smiling all the while at his rarely revealed sense of humor.
The U.S. plays a big match every year, either the Ryder Cup against Europe in the even years or the Presidents Cup against the rest of the world (Europe excluded) in the odd years. America has been quite successfully in the Presidents, running up a record of three wins, one loss and one tie. But in the Ryder Cup, the Americans have had a tough time the past 20 years, winning against Europe just three times, losing six times, and tying one.
At least one American sees good things ahead in the Presidents, though, and it came from seeing the U.S. prevail in the womens Solheim Cup two weeks ago.
I was pumped up by the Solheim Cup, said Presidents Cup member Chris DiMarco. I was proud of them.
Nancy Lopez and I are great friends. I was so happy for her, and the way the women showed their spirit and how they played their hearts out, it was good for golf.
Jim Furyk, for one, doesnt see a whole lot of similarities in the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup, he says, is so tense, so pressure-packed, that it actually is just like playing one more major tournament. The Presidents Cup is much more what golf was meant to be back when golf was just ' well, a game.
The Presidents Cup, quite honestly, is more fun, said Furyk.
Actually my first Ryder Cup, I didn't know a lot of the other team. There were some guys on the European team I had never seen play, never seen hit a golf shot. Now because of the World Golf Championships and a lot of the Europeans coming over here, we're friendly with those teams.
But there isn't a guy on the international squad that doesn't play - rarely is there a guy that doesn't play in the United States pretty regularly. Vijay (Singh) is a neighbor. I practice on the same tee box with him at home day in and day out.
And after you play a round with your buddy
Although it's intense and it's a pride issue, you want to go out and play as well as you can and play well for your country. It tends to have a little bit more of a shake- your-hand afterwards, and you don't hear too many bitter things happening in the Presidents Cup like there has been in the history of the Ryder Cup.
Some observers ' and even some players ' have tried to lump the two events into one. The Presidents Cup is the Ryder Cup is the Presidents Cup. But there really is a difference, says Furyk.
They are two separate events, he insists. I think Ernie (Els) and Vijay and Michael Campbell and those guys weren't on the team last year - we were playing the European team.
I think too much is being made trying to compare the two events. Time will eventually give the Presidents Cup a little bit of tradition and history. You know, ultimately I guess it's like everything else; everyone wants to beat the United States. We're a target every year instead of every other year.
And when October rolls around, every year the United States has been through the grinder. It would be nice if the PGA of America and the PGA Tour would get together and consolidate the three teams - U.S., Europe and the Internationals - but of course they wont.
There is simply too much money to be made in the Ryder Cup, and the PGA of America and the European PGA would never give that up. And the PGA Tour isnt so holy, either ' you can bet that if the Presidents Cup ever gets to be as big as the Ryder Cup, the tour isnt going to give that up, either. There are millions to be made on each event, and the two entities arent about to surrender either, even if golf itself is the loser.
So, the players will go on competing in both, different - or similar - that they are.
I enjoy both events, says Furyk, but they are separate and different. They are run by two different governing bodies. The points are accumulated two totally different ways. I have no problem with separating them and them being two different events.
I enjoy both aspects and both parts, but they are different. And the Presidents Cup, I think our team has probably played better historically in that because we've been a little bit more loose and because we've had more fun.
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

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Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

Hoylake in 2006.

That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

“The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”