Elected officials: Skinny on Prez Cup roster

By Rex HoggardNovember 13, 2011, 9:43 am

The ninth edition of the Presidents Cup starts Thursday at Royal Melbourne. Here's a look at the U.S. and International rosters, with players' previous PC history and match records.

United States team

Matt Kuchar (rookie)

Skinny: A rookie in name only, having played in last year’s Ryder Cup (1-1-2) and emerging as the most consistent American over the last two seasons.

Steve Stricker (fourth, 9-6-0)

Skinny: Not to overstate this, but America’s Presidents Cup hopes likely rest on Stricker’s ailing neck. In ’09 he and Tiger Woods led the U.S. side with a perfect team record. Captain Fred Couples will need something similar to that at Royal Melbourne to end America’s Southern Hemisphere drought.

Dustin Johnson (rookie)

Skinny: DJ is explosive and a natural fit to partner with Phil Mickelson, but he’s been erratic this fall and struggled in his first professional team event, going 1-3-0 last year at Celtic Manor.

Webb Simpson (rookie)

Skinny: He may not be the PGA Tour’s player of the year, but he was clearly low American in 2011. The steady performer should have a solid week in Australia.

Nick Watney (rookie)

Skinny: Seems to be rounding into form just in time for the matches following solid finishes at the Australian Open (T-4) and the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (runner-up).

Phil Mickelson (ninth, 15-13-10)

Skinny: An international team competition enigma for much of his career, Phil 2.0 has taken on the role of mentor to younger players in recent years and his record has improved.

Bubba Watson (rookie)

Skinny: Overwhelmed last year in his first Ryder Cup, but Bubba may be due for a big week. Still, the pressure is on Couples to find him a workable partner.

David Toms (fourth, 6-7-1)

Skinny: Veteran’s form has faded since his torrid summer run, but Royal Melbourne is a good fit for his fairways-and-greens game.

Hunter Mahan (third, 4-4-1)

Skinny: Mahan’s withdrawal from the Australian Open is Couples’ second-biggest concern, after Stricker, heading into the matches, but the “old soul” is a natural fit to be paired with Toms or Jim Furyk.

Jim Furyk (seventh, 15-10-3)

Skinny: Steady utility man who sports one of the U.S. side’s best Presidents Cup records and gives Couples plenty of pairing options.

Tiger Woods (seventh, 18-11-1)

Skinny: The “comeback” was cut short on Saturday at the Australian Open but he showed the kind of spark in Sydney that Couples had hoped for when he selected him for the team.

Bill Haas (rookie)

Skinny: The only true rookie on the U.S. side has plenty of support in Melbourne, with father Jay an assistant captain and longtime swing coach Billy Harmon on the bag.

Fred Couples, captain

Skinny: Questioned for his captain’s picks and his handling of the Keegan Bradley situation, Couples’ second turn as the U.S. captain will likely be his hardest.

International team

Jason Day (rookie)

Skinny: The top-ranked player on the International side is peaking at the right time (T-4 at Australian Open) and likely a lock to play with Adam Scott in Greg Norman’s uber pairing.

Adam Scott (fifth, 8-10-2)

Skinny: If he can keep caddie Steve Williams quiet the Australian may emerge from this week’s matches as the heir to Ernie Els’ crown as the team’s point man.

Charl Schwartzel (rookie)

Skinny: Quietly consistent and largely overlooked, the Masters champion may be Norman’s wild card and is a natural fit to play with his mentor Els.

K.J. Choi (third, 3-6-0)

Skinny: The “Tank” has been slowed by injuries and pedestrian play the last few weeks and has struggled to find a suitable partner in his previous matches.

Kyung-tae Kim (rookie)

Skinny: South Korean will likely play with Choi and has little experience on the international stage. How he handles the atmosphere will be the key to Kim’s week.

Retief Goosen (sixth, 11-10-3)

Skinny: Goose managed to earn just a half-point in ’09 at Harding Park and his recent form, no top 10s since June, suggests he may struggle again.

Geoff Ogilvy (third, 4-5-0)

Skinny: This is a big one for Ogilvy, a Victoria Institute of Sport product who cut his teeth on the sand-belt courses and appears to have finally emerged from a series of injuries that slowed him in ’11.

Ernie Els (seventh, 16-12-2)

Skinny: The captain in waiting is the only member of this year’s team who played in the ’98 matches at Royal Melbourne, the site of the International side’s lone victory. The Big Easy lost just a single match in ’98.

Y.E. Yang (second, 2-2-1)

Skinny: Decent record in his first team turn and his unflappable demeanor, as well as his sneaky-good putting, makes him a match-play natural. Don’t be surprised to see him play Woods.

Ryo Ishikawa (second, 3-2-0)

Skinny: The 20-year-old was solid in his debut at Harding Park, clipping Kenny Perry, 2 and 1, in singles play and he teamed well with Yang.

Aaron Baddeley (rookie)

Skinny: He watched nearly all of the ’98 matches from behind the ropes at his beloved Royal Melbourne and delivered under pressure at The Tour Championship to land one of Norman’s captain’s picks.

Robert Allenby (sixth, 8-13-3)

Skinny: Why Allenby, who Couples correctly pointed out hasn’t won a PGA Tour event in a decade? Because he owns Royal Melbourne, where he won the ’92 Johnnie Walker Classic and ’93 Players Championship and was a runner-up as an amateur at the ’91 Australian Open.

Greg Norman, captain

Skinny: The Shark probably didn’t do himself any favors with his pointed assessment of Woods’ game recently and the pressure to win on home turf will be intense, but if he’s successful it will be a fitting swan song for one of Australia’s finest.

Watch wall-to-wall coverage of the Presidents Cup live on Golf Channel beginning Monday at 6PM. Tournament air times: Golf Channel Wednesday 9PM-2AM, Thursday 7:30PM-2AM, Friday 3PM-2AM and Saturday 6:30PM-12:30AM. NBC coverage Saturday at 8AM and Sunday at noon. (Note: all times are ET)

Getty Images

Arizona caps an improbable journey with a title

By Ryan LavnerMay 24, 2018, 3:49 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – Five hours before the final match at the NCAA Women’s Championship, Arizona coach Laura Ianello sat cross-legged on a couch in the Holiday Inn lobby and broke down four times in a half-hour interview.

It’s been that kind of exhausting season.

From poor play to stunning midseason defections to a stroke-play collapse, Ianello has felt uneasy for months. She has felt like she was losing control. Felt like her carefully crafted roster was coming apart.

So to even have a chance to win a NCAA title?

“I know what this team has gone through,” she said, beginning to tear up, “and you don’t get these opportunities all the time. So I want it for them. This could be so life-changing for so many of them.”

A moment that seemed impossible six months ago became reality Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

Arizona continued its magical run through the match-play bracket and knocked off top-ranked Alabama to capture its third NCAA title, with junior Haley Moore – who first rose to fame by making the cut at an LPGA major as a 16-year-old – rolling in a 4-footer to earn the clinching point in extra holes.

All throughout nationals Arizona was fueled by momentum and adrenaline, but this was no Cinderella squad. The Wildcats were ranked ninth in the country. They won twice this spring. They had four medalists. They were one of the longest-hitting teams in the country.

But even before a miracle end to NCAA stroke play, Arizona needed some help just to get here.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring

On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, texted Ianello that she was turning pro. It may have been a gift to her parents, for their years of sacrifice, but it was a lump of coal in Ianello’s stocking.

“I was absolutely heartbroken,” she said. “It was devastating.”

Even more bad news arrived a few weeks later, when junior Gigi Stoll told Ianello that she was unhappy, homesick and wanted to return to Portland, Ore. Just like that, a promising season had gone off the rails.

Ianello offered her a full release, but Stoll looked around, found no other suitors and decided to remain with the team – as long as she signed a contract of expected behavior.

“It was the most exhausting two months of my life,” Ianello said. “We care so much about these freakin’ girls, and we’re like, Come on, this is just a small, little picture of your life, so you don’t realize what you’re possibly giving up. It’s so hard to see that sometimes.”

Stoll eventually bought in, but the rest of the team was blindsided by Quihuis’ decision.

“We became even more motivated to prove we were a great team,” said junior Bianca Pagdanganan.

It also helped that Yu-Sang Hou joined the squad in January. The morale immediately improved, not least because the players now could poke fun at Hou; on her fourth day on campus she nearly burned down the dorm when she forgot to add water to her mac-and-cheese.

Early on Ianello and assistant Derek Radley organized a team retreat at a hotel in Tucson. There the players created Oprah-inspired vision boards and completed exercises blindfolded and delivered 60-second speeches to break down barriers. At the end of the session, they created T-shirts that they donned all spring. They splashed “The Great Eight” on the front, put the state of Arizona and each player’s country of origin on the sleeves, and on the back printed their names and a slogan: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

“I can’t think of anything else that better embodies this team,” Radley said.

This spring, they rallied together and finished no worse than fourth in a tournament. Through three rounds of stroke play here at the NCAA Championship, they used their distance advantage and sat third in the standings. Then they shot 17 over par in the final round, tumbling outside the top-8 cut line.

They were down to their final chance on the 72nd hole, needing an eagle to tie, as Pagdanganan lined up her 30-footer. She dramatically drained the putt, then gathered her teammates on the range.

“This means we were meant to be in the top 8,” she said. Less than an hour later, they beat Baylor in the team playoff to earn the last match-play berth.

Ianello was so amped up from the frenetic finish that she slept only three hours on Monday night, but they continued to roll and knocked off top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals, beating a pair of Player of the Year contenders, Lilia Vu and Patty Tavatanakit, in the process. In the afternoon semifinals, they jumped all over Stanford and won easily.

It was a cute story, the last team into the match-play field reaching the final match, but a stiffer challenge awaited the Wildcats Wednesday.

Alabama was the top-ranked team in the country. The Tide were a whopping 110 under par for the season, boasting three first-team All-Americans who were so dominant in their first two matches that they trailed for only two of the 99 holes they played.

Ianello already seemed to be bracing for the result on the eve of the final match.

“Win or lose,” she said, “this has been a hell of a ride.”

But their wild ride continued Wednesday, as Hou won four holes in a row to start the back nine and defeat Alabama’s best player, Lauren Stephenson, who had the best single-season scoring average (69.5) in Division I history.

Then sophomore Sandra Nordaas – the main beneficiary after Quihuis left at the midway point of the season – held on for a 1-up victory over Angelica Moresco.

And so Arizona’s national-title hopes hinged on the success of its most mercurial player, Moore. In the anchor match against Lakareber Abe, Moore jumped out to a 2-up lead at the turn but lost the first three holes on the back nine.

By the time Radley sped back to help Moore, in the 12th fairway, she was frazzled.

“But seeing me,” Radley said, “I saw a sense of calm wash over her.”

Moore played solidly for the rest of the back nine and took a 1-up lead into the home hole. She didn’t flinch when Abe hit one of the shots of the entire championship – a smoked 3-wood to 12 feet to set up a two-putt birdie and force extras – and then gave herself 4 feet for the win on the first playoff hole. She sank the putt and within seconds was mobbed by her teammates.

In the giddy aftermath, Ianello could barely speak. She wandered around the green in a daze, looking for someone, anyone, to hug.

The most trying year of her career had somehow ended in a title.

“At some moments, it felt impossible,” she said. “But I underestimated these young women a little bit.”

Getty Images

Pac-12 continues to dominate women's golf

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 24, 2018, 3:04 am

Arizona's national women's golf championship marked the fourth consecutive year in‌ which the women's Division I national title was won by a Pac-12 Conference team. All four championships were won by different schools (Stanford, 2015; Washington, 2016; Arizona State, 2017; Arizona, 2018). The Pac-12 is the only conference to win four straight golf championships (men or women) with four different schools.

Here are some other statistical notes from the just-concluded NCAA Div. I Women's Golf Championship:

• This is the second time that Arizona has won the national title the year after rival Arizona State won it. The last time was 1996.

• Arizona now has three women's golf national championships. The previous two came in 1996 and 2000.

• Arizona is only the sixth school to win three or more Div. I women's golf championships, joining Arizona State (8), Duke (6), San Jose State (3), UCLA (3) and USC (3).

• Arizona's Haley Moore, who earned the clinching point on the 19th hole of her match with Alabama's Lakareber Abe, was the only Arizona player to win all three of her matches this week.

• Alabama's Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight also went 3-0. Gillman did not trail in any match.

• Since the match-play format was instituted in 2015, Arizona is the lowest seed (8) to claim the national title. The seeds claiming the national championship were Stanford (4) in 2015; Washington (4) in 2016; and Arizona State (3) in 2017.

Getty Images

High school seniors win U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

By Associated PressMay 24, 2018, 1:44 am

TEQUESTA, Fla. - The 18-year-old Hammer, from Houston, is set to play at Texas next fall. Barber, from Stuart, Fla., also is 18. He's headed to LSU.

''Growing up watching U.S. Opens and U.S. Amateurs on TV, I just knew being a USGA champion is something that I desperately wanted,'' said Hammer, who qualified for a U.S. Open three years ago at 15. ''And to finally do it, it feels incredible. It feels as good, if not better, than I thought it would. And especially being able to do it with Garrett. It's really cool to share this moment.''

Hammer and Cole won the par-4 eighth with a birdie to take a 2-up lead. They took the par-4 10th with a par, won the par-5 13th with an eagle - Barber hit a 4-iron from 235 yards to 3 feet - and halved the next two holes to end the match.

''Cole didn't want me to hit 4-iron,'' Barber said. ''He didn't think I could get it there. I was like, 'I got it.' So I hit it hard, hit pretty much a perfect shot. It was a crazy shot.''

The 32-year-old Dull is from Winter Park, Fla., and the 42-year-old Brooke from Altamonte Springs, Fla.

''Cole Hammer is a special player,'' Brooke said. ''Obviously, he's going to Texas (and) I'm not saying he is Jordan Spieth, but there are certain things that he does.''

In the morning semifinals, Hammer and Barber beat Idaho high school teammates Carson Barry and Sam Tidd, 5 and 4, and Brooke and Dull topped former Seattle University teammates Kyle Cornett and Patrick Sato, 4 and 3.

Getty Images

Watch: Pumped up Beef deadlifts 485 lbs.

By Grill Room TeamMay 24, 2018, 12:19 am

Andrew "Beef" Johnston has been playing some solid golf on the European Tour this season, and he is clearly pumped up for one of the biggest weeks of the year at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Judging from the video below, Beef will have no problems lifting the trophy on Sunday as he reportedly deadlifted 220 kg ... (Googles kilogram to pounds converter, enters numbers) ... that's 485 lbs!

@beefgolf with a new deadlift PB 220kg ! #youcantgowronggettingstrong

A post shared by ETPI (@etpi_performanceunit) on