How the US Team is Shaping Up

By Golf Channel NewsroomSeptember 10, 2002, 4:00 pm
The 34th Ryder Cup will be contested Sept. 27-29, a year after they were originally scheduled. The 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States postponed the Matches at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England. With the delay, a little rust has formed on some of the participants. Here's a brief look at how United States team members have fared in 2002, and in the Ryder Cup.

Woods has five worldwide wins this year, including a pair of major triumphs. He has played particularly well since his Grand Slam hopes were dashed at the British Open. He has a win, a runner-up and a fourth-place finish over his last three starts.
If there is one concern Captain Curtis Strange may have its Tigers Ryder Cup record. In two previous appearances, Woods is 3-6-1. Hes 1-1 in singles play, 1-2-1 in foursomes and 1-3 in four-balls.

Mickelson is ranked second in the world, but first in fickleness. He has two PGA Tour victories this season and a pair of top-3s in the Masters and U.S. Open. However, you never know when an opening 64 will be followed with three straight rounds of 75 or higher, like at The Players Championship, or when Sunday will be 10 strokes lower than Saturday, like at the PGA Championship.
Mickelson withdrew from the Bell Canadian Open due to a minor back injury he said he incurred while lifting luggage; though, a spokesman said he would be fine by the Matches.
The lefthander is making his fourth Cup appearance. He has an impressive 6-3-2 record, including a flawless 3-0 record in singles.

Recorded his first sub-70 score since May in the final round of the WGC-NEC Invitational. He has seven missed cuts and a withdrawal in 19 starts this season. His best finish ' and his lone top-10 ' came in a tie for fourth at the Memorial.
Duval would have entered the 2001 Ryder Cup ranked third in the world, thanks to his British Open victory, but has now fallen outside the top 10.
He went 1-2-1 in his maiden Matches, in 1999.

Perhaps the streakiest player on tour. He has five top-10 finishes and eight missed cuts in 23 events.
Calcavecchia has health issues from head to foot. His back causes the most concern; hes been known to roll around in the middle of the fairway during a round to stretch the area.
The 42-year-old is playing in his fourth Ryder Cup, but his first since a dubious appearance in 1991. Calcavecchia crumbled under the pressure that Sunday, finishing triple-bogey, bogey, triple-bogey, bogey to blow a 4-up lead with four holes to play in halving his singles match with Colin Montgomerie.
His overall record is 5-5-1. Hes 4-0 in foursomes, but 0-4 in four-balls.

Coming off a three-win season a year ago, Toms has yet to win this year. The 2001 PGA Champion missed the cut in his title defense, and didnt finish inside the top 35 in any major.
The Ryder Cup rookie is consistent, however, with 20 cuts made in 22 starts, including eight top-10s.

Despite a myriad of top-10 finishes, Love has only one victory since April of 1998. Hes been playing better as the season has progressed, though. Love missed five cuts in his first 10 starts, but hasnt since missed a weekend. He finished runner-up in Hartford and at the Western.
Love is 6-8-3 in four prior Matches. Hes 3-1 in singles.
Hoch won twice as a 46-year-old in 2001, but like many on both teams has yet to find the same form in 02. He skipped the entire month of May due to problems from his LASIK surgery.
Surprisingly, his best performances have come in a tie for fifth at the ridiculously long U.S. Open and in a tie for eighth at the British Open, which he has only played five times in his career.
This is Hochs second Ryder Cup. He went 2-0-1 in 1997.

Furyk won the Memorial and has eight top-10 finishes; however, he has also missed six cuts ' as many as the last three years combined.
He's played well of late, tying for 10th at the Buick Open; finishing ninth at the PGA Championship; and tying for sixth in the NEC.
He is 2-4 in two prior Cup appearances. Both of his victories came in singles play.

Captain Strange professes not to be worried about the 44-year-old, but his recent record seems cause for concern.
Sutton has missed 14 cuts in 23 starts this season. His best finish is a tie for 12th at the Colonial.
He was diagnosed last August with sleep apnea, a medial condition in which breathing stops repeatedly during sleep. Sutton is afforded rest by sleeping hooked up to a portable oxygen tank.
Suttons 1999 Ryder Cup appearance was his first in 12 years. He went 3-1-1 and provided emotional leadership. His overall record in three Matches is 6-4-4.

Cink has had a disappointing season, with three top-10s compared to seven missed cuts. Hes put together back-to-back rounds in the 60s only four times this year.
The Ryder Cup rookie hasnt won on tour since the 2000 MCI Classic.

After being named a captains selection in 2001, Verplank went out and won the Bell Canadian Open. He hasnt won this year, but has played steadily, missing only three cuts and earning four top-10s in 21 starts.
Verplank is one of three U.S. Ryder Cup rookies.

Azinger was more than a sentimental choice a year ago. He missed only one cut the entire season and ended 33rd on the PGA Tour money list.
This year, he has sprayed in an occasional top-10 and missed cut to go along with several mediocre results.
He last played in a Ryder Cup in 1993, the year he won the PGA Championship. He has a 5-6-2 record in three appearances.
Full coverage of the 34th Ryder Cup Matches
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U.S. captures Junior Ryder Cup

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 26, 2018, 12:29 am

The U.S. defeated Europe, 12 ½ to 11 ½, in the Junior Ryder Cup at Golf Disneyland at Disneyland Paris.

Rachel Heck, 16, of Memphis, Tenn., clinched the winning half-point on the 18th hole with a 12-foot birdie putt that halved her match with Annabell Fuller, 16, of England.

"It was the most incredible experience of my life," said Heck, a Stanford commit who last week made the cut in her second LPGA major, the Evian Masters.

Michael Thorbjornsen, 16, of Wellesley, Mass., the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, drove the green on the 315-yard 18th hole, the ball stopping within 5 feet of the pin. His eagle putt completed 2-up win over 15-year-old Spaniard David Puig and ensured that the U.S. would retain the Junior Ryder Cup, as the defending champion needs only a tie (12 points) to maintain possession of the trophy.

Singles results

Match 1 - Lucy Li (USA) def. Amanda Linner (EUR), 4 and 3

Match 2 — Rasmus Hojgaard (EUR) def. William Moll (USA), 1 up

Match 3 —  Ingrid Lindblad (EUR) halved Rose Zhang (USA)

Match 4 – Nicolai Hojgaard (USA) def. Canon Claycomb (USA), 4 and 2

Match 5 — Yealimi Noh (USA) def. Emma Spitz (EUR), 3 and 2

Match 6 —  Ricky Castillo (USA) def. Eduard Rousaud Sabate (EUR), 3 and 1

Match 7 – Emilie Alba-Paltrinieri (EUR) def. Erica Shepherd (USA), 2 up

Match 8 — Michael Thorbjornsen (USA) def. David Puig (EUR), 2 up

Match 9 – Alessia Nobilio (EUR) def. Alexa Pano (USA), 2 and 1

Match 10 —  Robin Tiger Williams (EUR) def. Cole Ponich (USA), 2 and 1

Match 11 – Annabell Fuller (EUR) halved Rachel Heck (USA)

Match 12 — Conor Gough (EUR) def. Akshay Bhatia (USA), 1 up


TOUR Championship Final Round Becomes Most-Watched FedExCup Playoffs Telecast Ever and Most-Watched PGA TOUR Telecast of 2018

By Golf Channel Public RelationsSeptember 25, 2018, 6:48 pm

ORLANDO, Fla., (Sept. 25, 2018) – NBC Sports Group’s final round coverage of the TOUR Championship on Sunday (3:00-6:19 p.m. ET) garnered a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 7.8 million average viewers, as Tiger Woods claimed his 80th career victory, and his first in five years. The telecast’s TAD was up 212% vs. 2017 (2.5m). Television viewership posted 7.18 million average viewers, up 192% YOY (2.46m) and a 4.45 U.S. household rating, up 178% vs. 2017 (1.60). It also becomes the most-watched telecast in the history of the FedExCup Playoffs (2007-2018) and the most-watched PGA TOUR telecast in 2018 (excludes majors).

Coverage peaked from 5:45-6 p.m. ET with 10.84 million average viewers as Woods finished his TOUR Championship-winning round and Justin Rose sealed his season-long victory as the FedExCup champion. The peak viewership number trails only the Masters (16.84m) and PGA Championship (12.39m) in 2018. The extended coverage window (1:30-6:19 p.m. ET) drew 5.89 million average viewers and a 3.69 U.S. household rating to become the most-watched and highest-rated TOUR Championship telecast on record (1991-2018).

Sunday’s final round saw 18.4 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports Digital platforms (+561% year-over-year), and becomes NBC Sports’ most-streamed Sunday round (excluding majors) on record (2013-’18).

Sunday’s lead-in coverage on Golf Channel (11:54 a.m.-1:25 p.m. ET) also garnered a Total Audience Delivery of 829K average viewers and posted a .56 U.S. household rating, becoming the most-watched and highest rated lead-in telecast of the TOUR Championship ever (2007-2018). Golf Channel was the No. 2 Sports Network during this window and No. 7 out of all Nielsen-rated cable networks during that span.

 This week, NBC Sports Group will offer weeklong coverage of the biennial Ryder Cup from Le Golf National outside of Paris. Live From the Ryder Cup continues all week on Golf Channel, surrounding nearly 30 hours of NBC Sports’ Emmy-nominated live event coverage, spanning from Friday morning’s opening tee shot just after 2 a.m. ET through the clinching point on Sunday. The United States will look to retain the Ryder Cup after defeating Europe in 2016 (17-11), and aim to win for the first time on European soil in 25 years, since 1993.


-NBC Sports Group-

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Tiger Woods names his Mount Rushmore of golf

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 25, 2018, 6:29 pm
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Mickelson savoring his (likely) last road game

By Rex HoggardSeptember 25, 2018, 3:49 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Phil Mickelson lingered behind as his foursome made its way to the ninth tee during Tuesday’s practice round.

He needed the extra practice, no doubt. He’s one of just six players on the U.S. Ryder Cup team with even a modicum of knowledge about Le Golf National, but the likely reason for Lefty’s leisurely tempo was more personal.

The 2019 Ryder Cup will likely be Mickelson’s last road game as a player.

He’ll be 52 when the U.S. team pegs it up at the 2022 matches in Rome. Although there’s been players who have participated in the biennial event into their golden years – most notably Raymond Floyd who was 51 when he played the ’93 matches – given Mickelson’s play in recent years and the influx of younger players the odds are against him.

“I am aware this is most likely the last one on European soil and my last opportunity to be part of a team that would be victorious here, and that would mean a lot to me personally,” Mickelson said on Tuesday.

It’s understandable that Mickelson would want to linger a little longer in the spotlight of golf’s most intense event.

For the first time in his Ryder Cup career Mickelson needed to be a captain's pick, and he didn’t exactly roar into Paris, finishing 30th out of 30 players at last week’s Tour Championship. He’s also four months removed from his last top-10 finish on the PGA Tour.

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Although he’s reluctant to admit it for Mickelson Le Golf National looks every bit a swansong for the most accomplished U.S. Ryder Cup player of his generation.

In 11 starts at the Ryder Cup, Mickelson has a 26-16-13 record. Perhaps more telling is his 7-3-1 mark since 2012 and he holds the U.S. record for most matches played (45) and is third on the all-time list for most points won (21.5), just two shy of the record held by Billy Casper.

Mickelson’s record will always be defined by what he’s done at the Masters and not done at the U.S. Open, but his status as an anchor for two generations of American teams may never be matched.

For this U.S. team - which is trying to win a road Ryder Cup for the first time since 1993 - Lefty is wearing many hats.

“You know Phil and you know he's always trying to find a way to poke fun, trying to mess with someone,” Furyk said. “He's telling a story. Sometimes you're not sure if they are true or not. Sometimes there's little bits of pieces in each of those, but he provides some humor, provides some levity.”

But there is another side to Mickelson’s appeal in the team room. Although he’s never held the title of vice captain he’s served as a de facto member of the management for some time.

“At the right times, he understands when a team needs a kick in the butt or they need an arm around their shoulder, and he's been good in that atmosphere,” Furyk said. “He's a good speaker and good motivator, and he's been able to take some young players under his wing at times and really get a lot out of them from a partner standpoint.”

In recent years Mickelson has become something of a mentor for young players, first at the ’08 matches with Anthony Kim and again in ’12 with Keegan Bradley.

His role as a team leader in the twilight of his career can’t be overstated and will undoubtedly continue this week if Tuesday’s practice groupings are any indication, with Lefty playing with rookie Bryson DeChambeau.

As DeChambeau was finishing his press conference on Tuesday he was asked about the dynamic in the U.S. team room.

“We're going to try and do our absolute best to get the cup back,” he said.

“Keep the cup,” Lefty shouted from the back of the room, noting that the U.S. won the last Ryder Cup.

It was so Mickelson not to miss a teaching moment or a chance to send a subtle jab delivered with a wry smile.

Mickelson will also be remembered for his role in what has turned out to be an American Ryder Cup resurgence.

“Unfortunately, we have strayed from a winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best,” Mickelson said in the Scottish gloom at the ’14 matches. “Nobody here was in any decision.”

If Mickelson doesn’t step to the microphone in ’14 at Gleneagles in the wake of another U.S. loss and, honestly, break some china there probably wouldn’t have been a task force. Davis Love III likely wouldn’t have gotten a second turn as captain in ’16 and the U.S. is probably still mired in a victory drought.

Lefty’s Ryder Cup career is far from over. The early line is that he’ll take his turn as captain in 2024 at Bethpage Black – the People’s Champion riding in to become the People’s Captain.

Before he moves on to a new role, however, he’ll savor this week and an opportunity to win his first road game. If he wants to hang back and relish the moment so be it.