The Hills Are Alive with the Ryder Cup

By Golf Channel NewsroomSeptember 13, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Ryder CupTheres not much to the Ryder Cup ' the trophy itself. It stands 17 inches tall, is only nine inches from handle to handle, and weighs less than a bag of sugar.
Even when its gold finish is properly shined it still pales when compared to many of the garish prizes handed out to so many tournament winners around the world.
The Ryder Cup, however, is diminutive only in physical stature, ordinary only in outward appearance. Because no trophy, no matter what size, shape or color, no matter when, where or to whom it is awarded, means so much to so many.
When Europe clinched the cup in 2002, over 30,000 partisan patrons reveled in victory ' and that was just those in attendance at the Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England. As the victorious side sipped champagne and beer in the press conference, soccer-style chants reverberated on the grounds.
No one wins the Ryder Cup. Nor is it just one winning team. It is a country who claims themselves triumphant. Or, more often than not over the past decade, an entire continent.
This year, as the two sides square off at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., it marks the 25th anniversary of when the continentals joined Great Britain & Ireland in their biennial battle with the United States. Prior to 1979, the U.S had won 10 consecutive Ryder Cup matches. And with the event taking place every two years, that meant a 20-year drought.
Not much changed soon after the alteration in format. The U.S. won handily, thanks to a Sunday surge, in 79, and dominated their counterparts by 9 points in 81.
Then the Ryder Cup became a true competition. The Europeans lost by a single point in 83, before finally winning back the cup in 85. Two years later, they claimed their first victory on American soil, beating the Jack Nicklaus-led squad at Nicklaus own Muirfield Village.
Overall, the U.S. leads the series 24-8-2. But over the last nine Matches, Europe holds the upper hand, 5-3-1.
And as the Americans enter the 35th Ryder Cup, the question has to be asked: Who is really the favorite?
Are we the underdogs? Phil Mickelson said. That's a good question. They bring out their best game in the event, and we have not in years past.
It might seem like a silly question, particularly given the fact that the U.S. features five major champions to Europes zero; that the U.S., at the moment, has five players ranked in the top 10 in the world, while Europe has one; that the U.S. is playing at home.
But the U.S. is just 2-2 in their last four home games. And their players are always of higher profile, with higher rankings ' and it hasnt stopped the Europeans from capturing the cup six of the last nine times.
Everybody always speculates as to why the Europeans fight above their weight, and why the Americans look like heavyweights and fight like featherweights,' U.S. captain Hal Sutton said.
They add up the world ranking, and when you look at the U.S. versus Europe, it's pretty lopsided, he said. But one great thing about the game of golf is that David beats Goliath sometimes.
It used to be that the Europeans were considered the underdogs because so few fans outside of the continent were familiar with their players. But now, as the game has grown exponentially, fans and the media are familiar with the likes of Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Thomas Levet and Paul Casey.
And such players have been playing increasingly more outside of the European Tour, expanding not only their profile, but their game as well.
We have far more depth on the European team now than we ever had before, said European captain Bernhard Langer.
The match-play competition will finally get underway Friday, with the two teams of 12 competing in four foursomes (alternate shot) matches and four four-ball (better-ball) matches. They will do the same Saturday, and will play 12 singles matches Sunday.
Each victory is worth one point, with a point going to each team when a match is tied after 18 holes.
It will take 14 points to win the Ryder Cup outright; though, the Europeans can retain possession with a 14-14 tie.
This will be the first time that Oakland Hills, which has hosted six U.S. Opens and two PGA Championships, has hosted a Ryder Cup.
The venue was dubbed The Monster by Ben Hogan in 1951. But, listed as a par 72, 7,105 yards, the course isnt the beast it once was. And Sutton believes it more suited for good iron play and good putting.
My impression of Oakland Hills is different than what my first impression was, Sutton said. My first impression of Oakland Hills was in 1985, and I thought it was absolutely the hardest venue that I had ever seen for a major championship, and one of the reasons why I thought it was is because it was one of the longer golf courses; at the time I thought so because the ball didn't go as far as it's going now. Secondly, the greens are so undulating.
Now that I've played it quite a few times, the length is not the factor that I thought it was. But you've still got to drive it in the fairway because you have got to put your irons below the hole. So I think accuracy and being a good iron player, and then obviously, you've got to be a good putter to close the deal. That's what I think is important at Oakland Hills.
Thats why he used his captains selections on Stewart Cink and Jay Haas, a pair of excellent putters.
One putt here, one putt there. It all adds up in the end. And every half-point matters when you consider that seven of the last eight Ryder Cups have been decided by two points or less.
And, of course, many of those putts have fallen in favor of the Europeans.
'The European team is always up to the challenge. They seem to play above their weight, Sutton said. But the Americans are going to be up to the challenge. We're going in there on a mission, and we're not going to settle for less.
Related Links:
  • U.S. Ryder Cup Team

  • European Ryder Cup Team

  • Full Coverage - 35th Ryder Cup
  • Getty Images

    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 21, 2018, 9:00 am

    Tiger Woods shot his second consecutive 70 on Friday at Carnoustie and enters weekend play at even par for the championship, still in contention for major No. 15.

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    How to watch The Open on TV and online

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 8:30 am

    You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

    Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

    In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on  

    Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

    (All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; or check the GLE app)

    Monday, July 16

    GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

    GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

    GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

    Tuesday, July 17

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

    Wednesday, July 18

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

    Thursday, July 19

    GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

    GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

    Friday, July 20

    GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

    Saturday, July 21

    GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

    NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

    Sunday, July 22

    GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

    NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (

    Getty Images

    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

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    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson