Watson stands by decision not to pick Horschel

By Randall MellSeptember 17, 2014, 8:03 pm

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson sent a text to Billy Horschel late last week as Horschel was making his run winning the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup in Atlanta.

Watson’s message?

“Billy, you’re a day late, but not a dollar short,” Watson texted.

In a U.S. Ryder Cup teleconference Wednesday, Watson said he had some fun last week texting back and forth with Horschel, who was on Watson’s “radar” early in the year. Watson told Horschel he was looking at him back in February, when they were doing a photo shoot together for a Polo ad.

“I like your golf swing, I like your fundamentals and love the attitude on the golf course,” Watson told him.

Watson followed Horschel throughout this year, but Horschel didn’t make his move until it was too late for serious consideration as one of Watson’s three captain’s picks. Horschel won both his FedEx Cup playoff events after Watson made his picks.­­

“He just didn’t perform well enough to get on the team,” Watson said of Horschel’s record up until the deadline for the picks.

With growing talk that the PGA should move the captain’s picks back until the FedEx Cup playoffs are complete, Watson isn’t in favor of that. It would mean the captain would make his picks a week before the team leaves for the Ryder Cup instead of three weeks before.

“In ’93, I made my two captain’s picks the day after the PGA, six weeks before the Ryder Cup,” Watson said. “Logistically, there are so many different things that go into it, just in getting the players over there and getting ready ... get their families involved, get their families and friends over there. It would be awfully tough to make the decision the week before the Ryder Cup.”

Other points Watson made in his teleconference:

• Europe’s stunning come-from-behind victory at Medinah two years ago didn’t hurt just the Americans on that team.

“When I watched that Sunday, I had a pit in my stomach for several days afterwards,” Watson said. “It just stayed there.”

Watson wants the Americans to take their memory of that loss to Scotland next week as motivation.

“These fellas, many of whom played on that team, remember that like it was yesterday,” Watson said. “I want those players to talk to the players who weren't on that team, and tell them how disappointed they were, and to get them pumped up, and not let that happen again.”

• Watson said he has picked the brains of recent American captains for ideas, including Paul Azinger, who led the U.S. team to its last win six years ago at Valhalla. Azinger famously instituted a “pod system,” linking players in small groups on and off the course.

“The pod system has very beneficial elements to it, and I'll be using it in some modified form in the preparation of this next week,” Watson said.

• Watson was asked if the Europeans have prevailed in seven of the last nine Ryder Cups because they have more skill or more heart.

“I think the bottom line is that over the time, their players have simply played better,” Watson said. “Whether it's a heart issue, I can't determine that, I wasn't on those teams. But I know one thing: To win a Ryder Cup, you've got to have heart. Bottom line, you've got to have heart and you've got to have `never say die’ in you. That's what I've stressed to my players this last year, calling them, being with them. The most important thing is that you go out there and fight and scratch and never give in on any shot in the entire match. You go out there with one purpose in mind, to hit the best possible shot every time you draw the club back.”

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


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In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.