Pettersen on Golf Central: 'I never won a point that felt so bad'

By Randall MellSeptember 30, 2015, 10:08 pm

In a wide-ranging interview Wednesday on "Golf Central", Suzann Pettersen detailed how she “fell apart” emotionally amid the public backlash over her role in the recent Solheim Cup controversy, how Phil Mickelson helped her through “the nightmare” and why she’s sorry for the way she handled the matter.

“You can’t win [at] all costs,” Pettersen told Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte. “Obviously, the sportsmanship and the integrity of the game I felt were left on the sideline. That’s kind of what really hurts me, because I don’t want to be remembered as someone who just gave it all and couldn’t care about the integrity of the game, because that means more to me.”

Pettersen came under fire after American Alison Lee was penalized for improperly picking up her ball when she thought the Europeans had conceded her short putt at the 17th green in a fourball match on the final day of the Solheim Cup. Pettersen was criticized for holding Lee to the penalty after it appeared the Europeans may have misled Lee into thinking the putt was conceded. Though the Americans would go on to win the Solheim Cup, Lee’s penalty created a furor.

“I’m hard on myself, and when I’m on the golf course I don’t smile a lot,” Pettersen said. “I fight to the very end, but at the end of the day, you got to go to bed with a heart saying, `Today, I did something right,’ and that’s kind of what was tough for me, sitting on Sunday night and reflecting and talking to other players about how I had the chance to be the bigger person in the whole picture . . . I never won a point that felt so bad in my entire life. I feel like it just took away the greatness of the Solheim.”

Pettersen said she did write the apology that appeared on her Instagram page the day after the Solheim Cup.

Mell: Pettersen sincere, but apology lacks key element

“The entire letter was straight from my heart,” she said.

Pettersen said teammates warned her in the clubhouse after Sunday’s singles matches not to look at her cell phone and the social media reactions to her role in the controversy. She said she couldn’t help looking.

“That’s when it really hit me,” Pettersen said. “I did actually cry.”

Pettersen said she broke down when teammate Carlota Ciganda pulled her aside in the team room late Sunday to ask how she was doing.

“I just absolutely fell apart,” Pettersen said. “For her to see me like that, when I’m usually the big sister trying to encourage them to do well, I think that was tough for her to see as well, but I just couldn’t hold it back, because I felt like I could have done stuff so differently and put the game of golf in a different light.”

Pettersen said she has had some helpful conversations with some of the game’s “icons,” including Mickelson, Butch Harmon, Michelle Wie, U.S. captain Juli Inkster and European assistant captain Annika Sorenstam.

Mickelson called Pettersen in Germany after the matches ended. Both she and Mickelson work with Harmon.

“One of the first players to reach out to me was Phil on Sunday night,” Pettersen said. “I don’t know how I can thank him enough for the words and the hours on the phone, the conversations we had for the good and bad. This went both ways. He wasn’t just trying to pat me on the shoulder, `Oh, this will be fine.’ He asked me some critical questions, and I had to answer them.”

Pettersen said Wie sought her out in the team hotel after dinner late Sunday.

“I had a great conversation with Michelle Wie, which probably meant the world to me at the time,” Pettersen said. “She took the time to come see me knowing I was emotionally hurt from all of this and this was the last thing I wanted happening, and I’m sorry how it all went down. The words exchanged both ways really helped me.”

Pettersen said she hasn’t spoken to Lee yet, but she intends to do so on the LPGA’s Asian swing.

“She will be one of the first people I will try to reach out to once we get to Asia, and I see her in person,” Pettersen said.

Pettersen said Sorenstam saw all the potential ramifications of the phantom concession early on.

“Annika was a great person for me to lean on in the hours after it all went down,” Pettersen said. “She could see the bigger picture much sooner than I could, talking to her Sunday night.”

One of Pettersen’s harshest critics was Hall of Famer Laura Davies, a former European teammate. Davies has scored more points than any player in Solheim Cup history. Pettersen said Davies’ opinions stung her.

“At the time, it hurt tremendously, I have to say,” Pettersen said. “She’s been a role model for me. I have a tremendous amount of respect for her game and her person and everything she has achieved . . . Hopefully, we’ll square it all up when I see her next. I’ve had a few battles with her in the past, and we always seem to come out on the good side."

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Woods: New putter should help on slower greens

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:35 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods’ ice-cold putting showed at least a few signs of heating up earlier this month at The National, where he switched putters and ranked seventh in the field on the greens.

The mallet-style putter is still in the bag as Woods prepares for The Open, and he’s hoping the heavier model with grooves will prove valuable at Carnoustie.

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“To be honest with you, I’ve struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career,” Woods said Tuesday. “So for me, it’s going to help on these greens, for sure.”

To combat the slower greens, Woods usually applied a strip of lead tape to his putter. But this heavier model of putter doesn’t need the extra weight, and the grooves on the putter face allow the ball to get rolling faster and hotter.

“You don’t necessarily have to do that with the grooves,” he said of the lead tape. “When I putted with the Nike putter, I didn’t have to put lead tape on the putter to get a little more weight to it. I could just leave it just the way it was. This is the same type.”  

For all of the talk about his putting woes this season, Woods still ranks 56th in strokes gained: putting. More crucial this week: He’s 102nd in approach putt performance, which quantifies how well a player lag putts.

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Woods: Open best chance for long-term major success

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:26 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods is more than a decade removed from his last major title, but he said Tuesday that The Open is the major that gives him the best chance for long-term success.

“I would say yes, because of the fact that you don’t have to be long to play on a links-style golf course,” Woods said during his pre-tournament news conference. “It certainly can be done.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Woods pointed to the late-career success for both Greg Norman (2008) and Tom Watson (2009), both of whom challenged for the claret jug deep into their 50s.

“Distance becomes a moot point on a links-style golf course,” he said.

That’s certainly not the case, however, at the Masters, where bombers long have thrived, or the U.S. Open, which places a premium on long and straight driving.

“You get to places like Augusta National, which is just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately,” he said. “But links-style courses, you can roll the ball. I hit a 3-iron that went down there 330. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”

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"Vantage Point with Mike Tirico" set to debut Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 17, 2018, 10:15 am

Special Hour Complementing the Network’s Week-Long Golf Central Live From The Open News Coverage; Premiere Scheduled to Include Interview with 2014 Open Runner-Up Rickie Fowler On-Site from Carnoustie

Features Include Tirico and Curtis Strange Re-watching ’99 Open at Carnoustie & Jim “Bones” Mackay Facilitating Exclusive Conversation with Caddies Michael Greller, John Wood Recounting Final Round Pairing at 2017 Open

To help set the table ahead of The 147TH Open at Carnoustie, Golf Channel will premiere Vantage Point with Mike Tirico on Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET. An extension of the network’s week-long Golf Central Live From The Open comprehensive news coverage, Vantage Point will revisit landmark moments in The Open’s history, uncover personal stories relevant to the fabric of the week and feature a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year” on golf’s original championship.

“It’s a thrill to be going back to The Open again this year, which is a fitting setting to launch this new opportunity,” said Tirico, NBC Sports host who this week will celebrate his 22nd consecutive year covering The Open. “I love being a part of the Golf Channel team during golf’s biggest weeks, and anticipate contributing to our commitment to great storytelling with Vantage Point.”

Kicking off the premiere of Vantage Point will be Tirico’s exclusive interview with 2014 Open runner-up and 2015 PLAYERS champion Rickie Fowler on-site from Carnoustie. One of Fowler’s favorite events, he has missed just one cut in eight previous appearances at The Open. Other highlights within the show include:

  • Jim “Bones” Mackay facilitating an exclusive conversation between caddies Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth) and John Wood (Matt Kuchar) recounting the final round pairing at The Open last July.
  • Tirico hosting a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year”: David Duval, Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard.
  • A recollection of one of the most unforgettable collapses in major championship golf, when Jean van de Velde surrendered a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole in 1999 at The Open. Tirico and Curtis Strange – both on the live tournament broadcast that year for ABC/ESPN – recently re-watched the telecast together for the first time since calling it live.


“This is harder to watch than I thought it was going to be. I’ve never seen anything like

that in my life. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again.” – Curtis Strange


“I think I got caught up in the whole deal and felt human for the guy.” – Mike Tirico


Vantage Point with Mike Tirico will complement the network’s Golf Central Live From The Open, which will feature nearly 60 hours of comprehensive news coverage from Carnoustie. In total, NBC Sports will dedicate more than 350 hours to showcasing the third men’s major championship of the year, including nearly 50 live hours of the network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage – annually the most live hours of coverage from any golf event – spanning from Thursday’s opening tee shot to Sunday’s final putt.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 am

Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.