Changing the Rules

By Mercer BaggsAugust 23, 2009, 4:00 pm

REBEL YELL: The United States claimed their third consecutive Solheim Cup and remained undefeated on American soil, knocking off the visiting European team, 16 to 12, at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.
Backspin It wasn't quite Florida-Charleston Southern, but the U.S. was heavily favored to win yet again. If there was a points spread, the Americans likely covered, which is a bit of a shame. The matches were all tied after two days, and then came Sunday Bloody Sunday. If I was the LET, I'd be willing to trade two home games each decade in exchange for three days of team play and no singles ' and no more Christina Kim.

OH, CAPTAIN, WHY, CAPTAIN?: U.S. captain Beth Daniel decided prior to the Solheim Cup matches that she was not going to play anyone in all five sessions. Ultimately, her plan worked as the U.S. won eight of 12 possible singles points Sunday in clinching the Cup.
Backspin Daniel's move was a big gamble. Had her squad lost, she would have taken some serious heat for sitting out the likes of Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie. For years, the European Ryder Cup teams employed a Ride-Your-Horses-Till-They-Drop strategy, and it worked quite well. That was a map to success. Daniel forgoing such a philosophy was like someone telling Christopher Columbus, 'Hey, here's directions to the Americas.' And Columbus responding, 'Nah, I'll find my way there.'

CUP UP, CUP DOWN: It's hard to single out just one American and one European who deserve the best- and worst-played awards. Paula Creamer went 3-1 for the U.S., but Michelle Wie has to get Woman of the Matches for her 3-0-1 record in her debut. Meanwhile, Gwladys Nocera of France went 3-0-1 as well for Europe.
Backspin On the flipside, several candidates could have won the Razzie for Europe (Laura Davies: 0-1-1, with three sit-outs; Helen Alfredsson: 1-3), but the award goes to Suzann Pettersen. The Norwegian was supposed to anchor this team, but instead helped sink it with a 1-4 record. Nicole Castrale took the dubious prize on the American side, going 0-3 ' the only player on either team not to win at least a half-point.

JUST WYN, BABY: Ryan Moore earned his first PGA Tour title, denying Kevin Stadler and Jason Bohn in a playoff at the Wyndham Championship. The victory came in Moore's 112th start on Tour.
Backspin Sergio Garcia must feel like it's been 112 starts since he won on Tour. The Spaniard, winless on Tour since last year's Players Championship, held a three-shot lead during the final round, but needed to make a 35-yard bunker shot on 18 to join the playoff. He came up inches short. And so the drought ' and frustration ' continues.

JUST WEN, BABY: Mike Reid made a 10-footer on the first hole of sudden death Sunday at the Jeld-Wen Tradition, while John Cook missed one of similar length. The result gave Reid his second career Champions Tour major (2005 Senior PGA) and left Cook winless on the senior circuit.
Backspin What a brutal loss for Cook. He led by one entering the par-4 18th, but made bogey to force the playoff. He then couldn't match Reid's birdie in the extra session. That's now four majors down on the Champions Tour in 2009. Only seven more to go before the season ends.

JUST WHAT WIE NEEDED: Touching base with Wie again, the 19-year-old was stellar in her maiden Cup appearance. Aside from her near-perfect record, she appeared to be a well-received teammate and even showed she could overcome adversity after blowing a 3-up lead to Helen Alfredsson in the singles, only to rally and win, 1 up.
Backspin Wie was supposed to be the female Tiger Woods. But in actuality, they are little alike. Tiger exceeded expections at the start of his career; Wie has underachieved. Tiger immediately won twice upon turning pro and earned his PGA Tour card; Wie went through Q-School and is still winless. Tiger never needed acceptance among his peers; Wie was in desparate need for inclusion and camaraderie and may finally have received it. Tiger's performance in team competitions is less than remarkable; What Wie accomplished this past week in a team competition could jump start a remarkable career.

RED, WHITE AND WHO?: Nick Watney and John Merrick will represent the United States in the World Cup. The event will take place November 26-29 at the Mission Hills Olazabal Course in Shenzhen, China.
Backspin This once prestigious event hasn't been relevant since 'Ally McBeal' was on TV. It all turned when officials decided that the top-ranked player from each country didn't get to select his partner, but instead had to use the next highest-ranked countryman (should he accept the invitation). It was all in an effort to get Tiger Woods to team with Phil Mickelson. And now we have Nick Watney teaming with John Merrick. That's what happens when you try and tell Tiger what to do.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Tiger Woods committed to the first FedEx Cup Playoffs event, The Barclays. ... Australian Michael Sim earned a promotion to the PGA Tour by winning his third event of the year on the Nationwide Tour, the Christmas in October Classic. ... Simon Dyson won his second career KLM Open on the European Tour. ... Michelle Wie is working with former PGA champion Dave Stockton to improve her putting.
Backspin That comes as a bit of a surprise, but a good one. It will be more surprising if he actually kisses the trophy this time when he wins it. ... Hopefully Sim can keep his game in peak form as the Fall Series is a good six weeks away. ... Dyson defeated Peter Hedblom and Peter Lawrie in a playoff. ... She still missed a few gimmes at Rich Harvest Farms, but did seem much more confident. Working with the Stocktons can only help.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' Solheim Cup
  • Full Coverage ' Wyndham Championship
  • Full Coverage ' Jeld-Wen Tradition
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  • American Junior Golf Association

    Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

    While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

    There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

    According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

    Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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    McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

    By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

    They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

    McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

    Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

    On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

    Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

    10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

    12/1: Tony Finau

    14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

    20/1: Francesco Molinari

    25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

    30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

    40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

    50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

    60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

    80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

    100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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    Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

    By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

    Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

    It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

    Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

    A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

    “I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

    “I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

    Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

    At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

    Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

    “I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.

    “Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

    Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

    “Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

    After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

    “I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

    Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

    “It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

    “Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

    On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

    Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

    “She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

    Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

    At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

    At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

    Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

    “I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

    Her overall assessment of her day?

    “It was a great experience,” she said.

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    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

    NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

    Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

    Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

    1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.