Injury-plagued Poulter trying to make Ryder Cup team

By Ryan LavnerAugust 8, 2014, 3:17 pm

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – At this point in the season, it’s not a stretch to say that Ian Poulter has had as many injuries as good results.

There was the shoulder injury at the start of the year. The back injury at the BMW PGA. The wrist injury at the Scottish Open. And then, perhaps most bizarre of all, the horsefly bite before the Bridgestone Invitational that landed him in the hospital.

So, yes, it’s been a while since the prolific tweeter has been able to tap out encouraging news, not another health update. With his injury woes (hopefully) behind him, Poulter’s opening 68 at the PGA Championship might be just the boost he needed with the Ryder Cup deadline looming.

The hero in 2012 at Medinah, Poulter would not be an automatic pick for the team if qualifying ended today, and frankly, his form hasn’t been good enough to guarantee a captain’s pick, either.

This year has been the most frustrating of his career, especially with the way he closed out 2013, with three consecutive top 5s in the Race to Dubai.

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“Two steps forward and one step back all the time this year,” he said. “You feel like you’re in position, you feel good about things, and then all of a sudden you have to rest again. All the good work you’ve done is taken away.

“It’s really pissed me off. I’ve never had to deal with it like this before. I have to manage that disappointment level, especially in the year we’re in right now.”

Indeed, a year in which so many other European players are performing at an elite level. Rory McIlroy is gunning for his third victory in a row this week. Justin Rose recorded two monster wins in the past few months. Martin Kaymer won another major, Graeme McDowell got hot in the summer, and Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson have done just about everything but win.

Poulter? Well, he’s been left out.

“Coming off a really strong back end of ’13, it’s just so demoralizing to have that through the whole of 2014,” he said. “You have to sit back and reflect upon, all right, it’s been disappointing, but you just have to look forward to what there is to come.”

And there is plenty to keep him motivated: the FedEx Cup playoffs (No. 74 in the standings), the end-of-the-year Race to Dubai and the Ryder Cup, the event that he cherishes most.

Currently No. 12 on the World Points List, Poulter needs a few high finishes to become one of the nine players who qualify on points. If not, it seems highly likely that captain Paul McGinley would make Poulter one of his three wild-card selections, given his history in the event, but the Englishman doesn’t want to leave anything to chance.

“My mind is fresh and ready to go,” he said. “My body just hasn’t allowed it to. It really frustrates you. That’s hard to take. ... I want to play, and I want my body to be fit to go as many times as I possibly can.”

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Watch: Koepka highlights from the Travelers

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 3:30 pm

U.S. Open hangover? Not for Brooks Koepka. The two-time national champion has carried over his form and confidence from Shinnecock Hills to TPC River Highlands.

Koepka began his round with a par at the par-4 10th and then reeled off four consecutive birdies, beginning at No. 11.

And here is the capper at the 14th

Koepka turned in 4-under 31. Here's more action from his opening nine holes.

After a par at the first, Koepka added a fifth birdie of the day at the par-4 second.

A bogey at the par-4 fourth dropped him to 4 under, but just one off the lead.

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Lyle going through 'scary' period in cancer recovery

By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:58 pm

MELBOURNE, Australia – Jarrod Lyle's wife says the Australian golfer is struggling through a ''really scary'' period in his third battle with cancer.

Lyle, 36, underwent a bone marrow transplant last December following a recurrence of acute myeloid leukemia.

''It's been 190 days since Jarrod's stem-cell transplant and we are going through a really rough patch at the moment,'' Briony Lyle wrote on ''I'm typing this blog on his behalf because he's not able to do it. Jarrod's not able to drive, struggles to prepare any food for himself, can't read stories to the girls and is not able to offer much help at all around the house.

''He is also starting to look like a very frail, sick person.''

Briony Lyle added: ''We are both very aware of the amount of drugs and medication that has gone into Jarrod's body over the years but things are starting to get really scary at the moment. It looks as if this recovery is going to be the longest and hardest one so far.''

Lyle has twice beaten acute myeloid leukemia, in 1998 and 2012, and was able to return to play professional golf.

He made an emotional comeback to the golf course during the 2013 Australian Masters in Melbourne before using a medical exemption to play on the PGA Tour in 2015. He played four seasons on Tour, where he earned $1.875 million in 121 tournaments.

Lyle has since returned to Australia permanently to be with Briony and daughters Lusi and Jemma.

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Vermeer wins PGA Professional; 20 make PGA Championship

By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:42 pm

SEASIDE, Calif. – Ryan Vermeer won the PGA Professional Championship on Wednesday, overcoming front-nine problems to top the 20 qualifiers for the PGA Championship.

The 40-year-old Vermeer, the director of instruction at Happy Hollow Club in Omaha, Nebraska, closed with a 1-over 73 on the Bayonet Course for a two-stroke victory over Sean McCarty and Bob Sowards.

The PGA Championship is in August at Bellerive in St. Louis.

Three strokes ahead entering the day, Vermeer played the front in 4 over with a double bogey on the par-4 second and bogeys on the par-4 seventh and par-4 eighth. He rebounded with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-4 11th and also birdied the par-5 18th.

Full-field scores from the PGA Professional Championship

Vermeer finished at 5-under 283. The former University of Kansas player earned $55,000. He won the 2017 Mizuno Pro/Assistant Championship and finished ninth last year in the PGA Professional to qualify for PGA at Quail Hollow.

McCarty had a 68, and Sowards shot 69. Sowards won the 2004 title.

David Muttitt and Jason Schmuhl tied for fourth at 1 under, and 2012 and 2015 champion Matt Dobyns, Jaysen Hansen, and Johan Kok followed at even par.

Marty Jertson, Brian Smock and Ben Kern were 1 over, and Zach Johnson, Craig Hocknull, Matt Borchert and 2016 winner Rich Berberian Jr. were 2 over. Nine players tied at 3 over, with Shawn Warren, 2017 champion Omar Uresti, 2014 winner Michael Block, Craig Bowden and Danny Balin getting the last five spots at Bellerive in a playoff. Balin got the final spot, beating Brian Norman with a par on the seventh extra hole after Norman lost a ball in a tree.

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Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.

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“It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

“I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”