Mahan vying for Ryder Cup captain's pick ... again

By Jason SobelAugust 21, 2014, 7:41 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. – Hunter Mahan understands there’s a stigma about him being named to United States teams.

On three separate occasions – once for the Ryder Cup, twice for the Presidents Cup – Mahan finished just outside the final automatic qualifying position on the points list, but was named to the roster as a captain’s pick.

He also understands that being named to a team is much better than not making it at all.

With nine players having already qualified for this year’s U.S. team, Mahan’s only option now is to impress Tom Watson over the next two weeks in hopes of receiving one of the captain’s three wildcard selections on Sept. 2.

An opening-round 5-under 66 at The Barclays on Thursday is certainly a step in the right direction.

“It will be a bonus right now to make the Ryder Cup team,” Mahan said after a six-birdie, one-bogey performance. “So I have nothing to be nervous about or get out there and doubt myself. I have to trust myself, because everything I'm doing is good and everything else will kind of take care of itself.”

Mahan has seen his share of the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to the Ryder Cup in recent years.

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Back in 2008, he was part of the last winning U.S. team, posting an undefeated record. In 2010, his duffed chip in the decisive singles match against Graeme McDowell led to tears in the aftermath. And two years ago, he was on the short list of potential captain’s picks, only to be left off the roster.

“There's nothing like playing a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, a team event like that,” he explained. “I mean, it really has taken a life of its own since [Paul] Azinger became captain [in 2008] and made the crowd a part of the event. I think he was the first one to really do that and since then everyone uses the crowd to their advantage because it is an advantage, 100 percent.

“It's such a unique, special event to be a part of and every player wants to be a part of one. But once you have been, you want to get there almost even more than guys who haven't just because you know what you're experiencing and you know what you're missing.”

If he’s going to remain in consideration, this is a perfect week to state his case.

Mahan owns the course record at Ridgewood Country Club – a 62 that came six years ago. He also tends to heat up this time of year. He is the only player to have competed in all 29 events in the FedEx Cup playoffs and one of just three to play in the Tour Championship each year since its inception.

He’ll also offer some intangibles as his rationale for why he thinks he’d be a valuable member of this year’s team.

“I’ve got a pretty good record – pretty good singles, teams and stuff,” he said. “I think I'm pretty easy to get along with and get along with a lot of different guys.”

It’s out of his hands now. All Mahan can do is play as well as he can over these next two weeks, and hope Watson is keeping a close eye on him.

As for whether he might add to that stigma of always being a captain’s pick soon, he just smiled and said, “You never know…”

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Woods leads by three; McIlroy in final group

By Doug FergusonSeptember 22, 2018, 10:41 pm

ATLANTA – Tiger Woods is three shots ahead and one round away from capping his comeback season with a victory.

Woods played the most dynamic golf he has all year with six birdies in his opening seven holes, building as much as a five-shot lead before he cooled off for a 5-under 65 and a three-shot lead over Rory McIlroy in the Tour Championship.

He has the 54-hole lead for the first time since his last victory in 2013 at the Bridgestone Invitational. He has never lost an official tournament when leading by more than two shots.

Woods has never been in better position to show he's all the way back.

It will be the first time Woods and McIlroy (66) play in the final group Sunday on the PGA Tour.

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Highlights: Tiger fires 65, takes 3-shot lead at East Lake

By Nick MentaSeptember 22, 2018, 10:25 pm

Following a Saturday 65 at East Lake, Tiger Woods will take a three-shot lead over Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose into the final round of the Tour Championship.

Woods, 12 under for the week, will be paired with McIlroy in the final round on Sunday, as he hunts his 80th PGA Tour victory and his first win in five years.

The 14-time major winner ran away from the field early, making birdie on six of his first seven holes to go ahead by as many as five.

Woods immediately claimed the outright lead with a birdie at No. 1, whipping the Atlanta crowd into an early frenzy.

Following a 4-foot par save at the second, Woods moved ahead by two and reached 9 under par when he played this approach from 144 yards and sank this 8-footer for birdie at the third.

One hole later, Woods reached double digits at 10 under par when he poured in a bending 21-footer that just crept over the lip.

He made it four birdies in his first five holes when he bombed a 320-yard drive, wedged to 7 feet, and converted again.

He looked in danger of not capitalizing on his first crack at a par-5 after he came out of a fairway wood on his second shot, but a splash from the bunker and a make from 6 feet gave him his fifth circle in six holes.

He went Vintage Tiger at the seventh, playing this fairway bunker shot from 172 yards to 5 feet, setting up his sixth birdie in his first seven holes and advancing him to 13 under, five clear.

Looking to make the turn in 29, Woods instead missed the green at the par-3 ninth, failed to get up and down for par, and had to settle for 5-under 30.

Following pars at 10 and 11, he started looking this approach up and down at the 12th, leading to his seventh birdie of the day.

Woods saw his lead decrease from five to three when he bogeyed the par-4 16th and Rose birdied. Woods missed the fairway and green and then failed to pull off an aggressive flop shot up a steep slope.

Woods looked in position to pick up one more stroke at the par-5 18th, but proved unable to get up and down for birdie from the back bunker. Instead, he wrapped up a closing par and back-nine 35.

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 22, 2018, 10:25 pm

Tiger Woods fired a 5-under 65 on Saturday to build a three-stroke lead over Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy at the Tour Championship. We tracked him.

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DEFCON Tiger: Woods' Saturday lights Twitter ablaze

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 22, 2018, 8:15 pm

Tiger Woods grabbed the Tour Championship lead and the sports world by the throat Saturday, making birdie on six of his first seven holes in his third round and sending social media into a frenzy.

Here's a sampling from athletes, journalists and celebrtiies, and we'll start with two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry.