Press Pass Europeans vs Internationals

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 28, 2007, 5:00 pm
Press PassEach week, Golf Channel experts and analysts offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf with the Press Pass. You can also give your take on our questions. Just click on the link and e-mail your responses to all four questions to us. We'll publish select answers each Friday in our Press Pass: Readers' Forum.
Hot Topic
European and International players dominated at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Who would win between the European Ryder Cup and International Presidents Cup teams (taking the current top players) on neutral ground?
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist,
The Internationals would win just using the Aussies and South Africans. Throw into the mix Vijay, Weir, Cabrera and a few others and you've got enough for two strong squads. By the way, if you had a two-person alternate shot event with the top male and female from each country teaming up, would anybody beat the Swedish entry of Annika Sorenstam and Henrik Stenson?
Kraig Kann Kraig Kann - Host, Golf Channel:
It would definitely be a better match right now than any match involving the United States. Id go with the International team featuring Els, Singh, Goosen, Immelman, Ogilvy, Scott, Allenby, Baddeley, Pampling and others who are pretty strong to say the least. But Europe is stacked, too; and given their two recent trouncings of the American team at the Ryder Cup, how can I pick against their chemistry.
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer,
The Europeans. Just like they have been for so long against the Americans, the Euros would enter this contest as the underdogs on paper. And just as they have done to the Americans for so long, they would beat the Internationals handily. As it is in the Ryder Cup, the Europeans would have the 'team' advantage over the Internationals. That unity would overcome any talent disadvantage they might have.
Hot Topic
Geoff Ogilvy could not defend his title at the Accenture. What is the toughest professional tournament in which to defend?
I think the toughest one to defend is probably the Open Championship because of the changing venues and conditions every year. Plus, for Americans, it's a long trip. There are just more variable involved in the Open Championship than any big tournament in the world.
I would definitely say its the Accenture Match Play Championship. Better yet how about the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth in England, which brings in a heavy dose of 36-hole matches. It's so tough to be on for an entire week ' two years in a row! If the tournament was still around, I might argue The International with its modified stableford scoring system. Nobody ever successfully defended his title.
The Open Championship -- by a hair over the Match Play -- because of the change in venue each year, combined with the uncertainty of the elements. It's obivously difficult to win 12 straight match at the WGC-Accenture, but I think, given all of the variables, it's a little more difficult to win two straight at The Open.
Hot Topic
The PGA TOUR is headed to Florida. What was the highlight of the West Coast Swing?'
The highlight of the West Coast Swing was the return of Phil Mickelson to the winner's circle at Pebble Beach, followed closely by the re-emergence of Charles Howell III. Also getting votes: Riviera. And, if I was allowed by the judges, I'd cast a ballot or three for the performance of GOLF CHANNEL on the PGA TOUR
To me, its a toss up between Tigers win (at the Buick Invitational) and Charles Howells consistency. Howells win (at the Nissan) is really sweet. As I told him afterward, Nobody could have handled the recent five-year struggles to get back to winning, and nobody will move forward better because of it. Surprise of the West Coast Swing is Jeff Quinney. He can play.
The Streak. Even though Tiger played in only two events on the West Coast Swing, talk of his PGA TOUR winning streak dominated conversation the entire two months. It added an element of excitement and -- as he has done throughout his career -- Tiger once again attracted many non-golf fans to the game.
Hot Topic
The Johnnie Walker Classic is on tap this week on the European Tour. What is your post-round beverage of choice?
My post round beverage of choice is an ice cold Corona Lite with two limes chased with a New Zealand sauvignon blanc (preferably Old Renwick) followed by dinner and complemented by a designated driver and the promise of more golf the next day.
Beer ... simple. Light of any kind or a Guiness to change it up.
The last time I played, I hit six fairways -- four of them on adjacent holes. I also managed to lose a match to my younger brother something like 7 and 1, which I didn't think was even possible. Unfortunately, I had to drive home (that was another bad drive as a bird committed suicide on my windshield) after the round. Sure would have been nice to have a Jim Beam and coke instead -- double.
Click here to e-mail us your take on all of the above four questions. We'll publish select reader responses on Friday.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
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    Watch: Strong start, rough finish for Koepka

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 4:45 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. That, however, sparked a wild ride to the finish line as he also bogeyed Nos. 5, 7 and 9, and birdied the sixth. It totaled to a second-nine, 2-over 37 and an overall score of 2-under 68.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “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.”