Palmer Player Personify Golfs Ideals

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 20, 2002, 4:00 pm
Perhaps no international team competition has ever been guided by two more distinguished and popular captains than the 2001 UBS Warburg Cup team.

Arnold Palmer brought the game to the masses in the early years of sports television with a unique blend of talent and charisma. He holds a number of U.S. Ryder Cup records, including most singles matches played and most matches won, hes tied for most singles matches won and most foursome matches won.
Gary Player is no stranger to international golf. The South African is widely regarded as the most traveled athlete in the world, closing in on 13 million miles. He has won 163 tournaments in five continents and was the third golfer to win the career Grand Slam. A victim of timing and geography, Player was never eligible for the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup and had his first taste of large-scale international team competition at last years UBS Warburg Cup.
These two legends reprise their roles as captain of their respective teams in November at the second UBS Warburg Cup. Both men have overwhelmingly positive memories of the inaugural event and seem intent on carrying the success of 2001 in to this years edition.

Arnold, youre the most accomplished U.S. team player in history, what are your feelings as you look back over a career playing on and captaining Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and UBS Warburg Cup teams?
Well, my feelings of course are fantastic. Many years ago I had the idea that golf competition internationally or between nations was a way of creating good feelings and good clean competition between the various countries of the world and the people that we involved, and I havent changed that thought at all. So, Im very proud about the fact that Ive been able to participate in the Ryder Cup, The Presidents Cup and the UBS Warburg Cup and of course I think that the initial USB Warburg Cup was one of the friendliest competitions that we have had. It was a fun situation and I think all the players, even though theyre getting a little older, enjoyed themselves very much.
Can you describe the mood of last years UBS Warburg Cup matches?
Well, it was fantastic, David. The fact that the players really got caught up in the magic of the competition. They were very motivated and each and every one of them enjoyed it, and it looked for long time like the U.S. was not going to come out of this competition on the topside. But it worked out very well and I think that made it more exciting and I think more enjoyable even for both teams.
Your playing days were defined by sportsmanship, style and dignity. How did you pass those characteristics to your UBS Warburg Cup team last year?
I dont know that I had a great deal to do with how the players played coming down the line. I know how I felt, playing against Gary, an old friend and certainly one of the most competitive people that Ive ever played with. In that competition, I felt very fortunate. Neither of us was playing exceptionally well and maybe I was just lucky to come out on the topside of that. But whatever, it was fun and of course, it stimulated a lot of people to enjoy that competition.
What do you hope to accomplish at the 2002 UBS Warburg Cup?
I would be very happy if we could accomplish the same things that we accomplished in the first competition. The camaraderie between the teams, the enjoyment that the players held seeing each other and competing against each other, and of course, Id be remiss if I didnt say that the same result would satisfy me very much.

Spirit, civility and sportsmanship were prevalent at the 2001 UBS Warburg Cup, how did you, as captain, help foster that attitude?
I said to our guys before we played, Look, we want to win this match very badly but lets behave properly. I said I dont want to see any guys coming out with crazy statements anything about, I dont like this guy or this or that. I said keep your feelings to yourself and go out and play. I said we are a team now, this is not an individual match, this is a team. I said youre representing the Rest of The World, not just yourself, and lets go out and try and beat them with the golf clubs, not with our mouths.
Your team seemed to take your words to heart, and from a spectators perspective it certainly seemed very refreshing, their opinions and their attitudes and the way they treated each other. From a competitive standpoint, how do you like your team?
Well I think weve got a very good chance. Last year we lost by half a point and that made it such an exciting event. And I think the UBS Warburg Cup playing in Georgia this year it is going to have great crowds. And for Arnold to captain the United States, is a thrill for me to have my team play his team because Arnold and I, as you know, have grown up together and I certainly have a lot of respect for him.
As he does for you. Any special strategies to look for this year?
You know, I get together with my team because there will always be a different team from year to year and I say to them, who do you feel comfortable playing with? I think thats very important, I must say. So theres a lot of discussion that goes on when you have a team.
In the final, from a competitive standpoint and a sportsmanship standpoint, what do you hope to see at Sea Island this year?
Id like the galleries to come out and see that you can be competitive and yet still be a gentleman. The thing is, weve got to remember that there are hundreds of millions of young people that are looking and watching us, and weve got to set the example for the youth. Winston Churchill said the youth of our nation are the trustees of posterity. And so it is up to us to set the example for these young people so that they can follow suit. When they see people waving flags and screaming miss and war on the shore, and I hate this guy; and this and that, that breeds the wrong message to young people. As it is, television injects children with an attitude of crime. Weve got to try and balance that and get a good message across to young people and I think this is a wonderful example of doing it.

Getty Images

Yin (64) steps into spotlight on Day 2 in Indy

By Randall MellAugust 16, 2018, 7:49 pm

American fans will be quick to embrace a young new winner with the U.S. ranks shrinking in women’s golf this summer.

With some of its biggest stars dealing with injuries, swoons or away on maternity leave, the American game could use a boost.

And here comes Angel Yin . . .

She is a major talent looking to break through this week at the Indy Women in Tech Championship. Still a teenager at 19, she moved into early position Thursday to try to win her first title.

With a spectacular start, Yin looked as if she might give the game a pair of 59s on the same day, with Brandt Snedeker posting one at the Wyndham Championship. Yin birdied eight of the first nine holes at Brickyard Crossing Golf Course in Indianapolis before cooling on the back nine. She still shot 8-under-par 64, good for the early lead.

“It just felt good,” Yin said. “Everything was working.”

Yin was knocking down flagsticks on the outward nine.

“I had nine putts on the front nine, which is incredible,” Yin said. “Never had that many little putts.”

With Brickyard Crossing a big hitter’s park, Yin took advantage. She’s one of the longest hitters on tour, ranking fifth in driving distance (272.2 yards per drive).

Full-field scores from Indy Women in Tech Championship

Yin has made runs at winning this year. She tied for fourth at the Mediheal Championship in April. She finished third at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at the end of June, but then missed the cut in three of her next four starts, including the Ricoh Women’s British Open in her last start.

“I was really happy how everything came together [today], because I have been playing well,” Yin said. “I just haven't been scoring.”

Yin introduced herself to the world stage making the American Solheim Cup team last year. She wowed fans and teammates alike bombing her driver in an impressive rookie debut.

“She is fearless,” two-time Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis said going into last year’s Solheim Cup. “The shots she can hit, nobody else can hit. She probably doesn’t quite know how to manage it yet, is the only thing holding her back.”

While Yin is seeking her first professional title, she has won as a pro. She claimed the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic on the Ladies European Tour at the end of last season.

Ying has been a big deal in Southern California for a while now. At 13, she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run. At 14, she won a junior qualifier to get into the ANA Inspiration and made the cut. At 15, she Monday qualified to get into the LPGA’s Kia Classic. At 16, she won the AJGA’s Annika Invitational, finished runner up in the U.S. Girls’ Junior and played on the U.S. Junior Solheim Cup team.

Jackson Van Paris at the 2018 U.S. Amateur (USGA/Chris Keane) Getty Images

Van Paris' historic week at U.S. Am ends in Rd. of 32

By Ryan LavnerAugust 16, 2018, 7:41 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Standing to the left of the 16th green Thursday, Jackson Van Paris clasped his hands behind his head and grimaced as Mason Overstreet ended his historic week at Pebble Beach.

It was little consolation to him afterward, of course, but earlier this week Van Paris, 14, became the second-youngest competitor to win a match at the U.S. Amateur.  

The only player younger? Bob Jones. In 1916.

Good company.

“I learned that I can hang with all these players,” said Van Paris, who lost to Overstreet, 3 and 2, in the Round of 32. “I can play with these guys. I played with two of the best players in the field and hung with them for the majority of the matches.”

After qualifying for match play, Van Paris took Australian Dylan Perry – the 30th-ranked amateur in the world – the distance and then holed a chip shot on the final green to prevail, 1 up. His second-round opponent was no slouch, either: Overstreet, a junior at Arkansas, was the 2017 NCAA individual runner-up.

Overstreet is 6-foot-1 and sturdily built, and he took advantage of his lengthy by pounding it past the tall and skinny Van Paris. On the ninth hole, Overstreet caught the downslope in the fairway and had only a wedge into the green. With his body still developing, Van Paris maxes out at 270 yards off the tee. About 60 yards behind his opponent, he hit 5-iron into a firm green that had about a 10-foot circle to get it close. Overstreet made birdie, took a 2-up lead, went 3 under for his first 12 holes in windier conditions and easily won the match.

“Mason played great, and he’s a really good player,” Van Paris said, “but I felt like it was nothing I couldn’t handle.”

Those in junior golf circles know all about Van Paris, a rising sophomore who lives about five minutes from Pinehurst No. 2 and is already one of the top prospects in the Class of 2021. A two-time AJGA winner, he’s verbally committed to play college golf at Vanderbilt, alongside his friend Gordon Sargent, the beginning of what he hopes is a dream team during his four years in school.

The Commodores’ affable coach, Scott Limbaugh, the facilities and the team’s recent success were key factors in his early decision, but so were the academics. “I’d rather get a 99 on a test than top 10 in a tournament,” he said.

U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos

Tuesday was the first day of school at O’Neal High School, a college prep school in Southern Pines. Before his match, the students and teachers sent him a photo of them holding up a “Let’s Go, Jackson! Go Low!” sign in front of the school. Once Van Paris knocked out his first-round opponent, he was flooded with texts, emails and Snapchats. One note in particular stood out: The head of the school joked that Van Paris’ absences the rest of the week were unexcused.

Asked what he’ll tell his classmates when he returns to school, Van Paris said: “That I went to the coolest place in the U.S, played the coolest golf course in the country, played the biggest amateur tournament in the world and got 17th.”

His experience at the U.S. Amateur – where he competed against players who were at least four years older – was nothing new for Van Paris. He’s been playing up since he was 6.

“He’s always wanted to play against the best players he could find,” said Van Paris’ father, Todd. “But now that he’s old enough to play against his peers, it’s been a different dynamic – he’s not the underdog, he’s the favorite. It’s going to be an interesting transition.”

Todd Van Paris said that his son has grown about six inches and added about 40 yards over the past year. He’ll only pack on more muscle over the next few years, shortening the distance gap between him and players like Overstreet.

Van Paris’ goal Wednesday was to win both of his matches and reach the quarterfinals. Then he’d be fully exempt into next year’s U.S. Amateur … at Pinehurst No. 2, just down the street from his parents’ house.

“I know that he’s proud of what he’s accomplished this week,” Todd Van Paris said, “but I guarantee you that he thought he could win the tournament. He really thought he could do it. That’s what makes him special.”

Getty Images

After opening up, Lexi shoots 'comfortable' 68

By Randall MellAugust 16, 2018, 6:27 pm

Lexi Thompson looked at ease, smiling and laughing in a solid start in her return to the tour Thursday at the Indy Women in Tech Championship, where she felt the benefit of her month-long break.

“It was very relaxing out there,” Thompson said. “I felt very comfortable where my game was at. I just tried to go out and let my game show and not put too much pressure on myself.”

Thompson, 23, the defending champ, opened with a 4-under-par 68, four shots behind Angel Yin, the early leader. Thompson skipped the Ricoh Women’s British Open two weeks ago to take a “mental break” and address emotional struggles that built up through last year’s highs and lows.

In a news conference Wednesday, Thompson was candid sharing the challenges she has faced as a prodigy who has poured so much of herself into the game, and how she has recently sought the help of therapists in building a life that isn’t all about golf.

Full-field scores from Indy Women in Tech Championship

“I’m not just a robot out here,” Thompson said in heartfelt fashion in her news conference. “I need to have a life.”

Thompson said she took almost two weeks off without touching a club after her last start at the Marathon Classic.

After Thursday’s round, Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz asked her about her decision to share her struggle.

“It was very hard for me to take the break, because I didn’t want to show that weakness, but at the same time it takes a lot of strength to acknowledge you need that kind of break, and to take time for yourself,” Thompson said. “Especially when you are in the spotlight like this, it can get hard, to just live your life for you, and figure out what makes you happy.”

Thompson is the highest ranked American in the world at No. 5 in the Rolex rankings. She was the Golf Writers Association of America female Player of the Year last season and also claimed the LPGA’s Vare Trophy for low scoring average, but it was still the toughest year of her career. She watched her mother battle cancer and dealt with the death of a grandmother. She also endured tough competitive blows, losing the ANA Inspiration after being hit with a controversial four-shot penalty in the final round. At year’s end, she lost out on a chance to ascend to world No. 1 and win the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year award after missing a short putt on the final hole in the season finale.

Getty Images

Snedeker joins 59 club at Wyndham

By Will GrayAugust 16, 2018, 4:19 pm

Brandt Snedeker opened the Wyndham Championship with an 11-under 59, becoming just the ninth player in PGA Tour history to card a sub-60 score in a tournament round.

Snedeker offered an excited fist pump after rolling in a 20-footer for birdie on the ninth hole at Sedgefield Country Club, his 18th hole of the day. It was Snedeker's 10th birdie on the round to go along with a hole-out eagle from 176 yards on No. 6 and gave him the first 59 on Tour since Adam Hadwin at last year's CareerBuilder Challenge.

Snedeker's round eclipsed the tournament and course record of 60 at Sedgefield, most recently shot by Si Woo Kim en route to victory two years ago. Amazingly, the round could have been even better: he opened with a bogey on No. 10 and missed a 6-footer for birdie on his 17th hole of the day.

Full-field scores from Wyndham Championship

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Snedeker was still 1 over on the round before reeling off four straight birdies on Nos. 13-16, but he truly caught fire on the front nine where he shot an 8-under 27 that included five birdie putts from inside 6 feet.

Jim Furyk, who also shot 59, holds the 18-hole scoring record on Tour with a 58 in the final round of the 2016 Travelers Championship.

Snedeker told reporters this week that he was suffering from "kind of paralysis by analysis" at last week's PGA Championship, but he began to simplify things over the weekend when he shot 69-69 at Bellerive to tie for 42nd. Those changes paid off even moreso Thursday in Greensboro, where Snedeker earned his first career Tour win back in 2007 at nearby Forest Oaks.

"Felt like I kind of found something there for a few days and was able to put the ball where I wanted to and make some putts," Snedeker said. "And all of a sudden everything starts feeling a little bit better. So excited about that this week because the greens are so good."

Snedeker was hampered by injury at the end of 2017 and got off to a slow start this season. But his form has started to pick up over the summer, as he has recorded three top-10 finishes over his last seven starts highlighted by a T-3 finish last month at The Greenbrier. He entered the week 80th in the season-long points race and is in search of his first win since the 2016 Farmers Insurance Open.