U.S. Presidents Cup team capsules

By Jason SobelSeptember 30, 2013, 12:30 pm

Here is a breakdown of United States captain Fred Couples’ 12-man roster for the 10th biennial Presidents Cup, which will be played Oct. 3-6 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Click here for International team capsules. The U.S. is the defending champion and holds a career 7-1-1 record in the competition.

Tiger WoodsTiger Woods

Age: 37

Record: 20-14-1 (8th appearance)

World ranking: 1

PGA Tour victories: 79

The lowdown: Unlike at the Ryder Cup, the best player on the U.S. team has actually been at his best during some editions of this event. Though he went 2-3-0 as a captain’s pick two years ago, Woods has often turned Muirfield Village into his personal playground, winning the Memorial Tournament on five occasions.

Brandt SnedekerBrandt Snedeker

Age: 32

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 9

PGA Tour victories: 6

The lowdown: The second-leading point-earner based on wins at Pebble Beach and the Canadian Open this year, Snedeker has often gotten it done with ball-striking this year as opposed to his slick putting. But the reigning FedEx Cup champion hasn’t enjoyed such prime late-season timing so far this season.

Phil MickelsonPhil Mickelson

Age: 43

Record: 18-14-10 (10th appearance)

World ranking: 3

PGA Tour victories: 42

The lowdown: Consider it a testament to his longtime consistency that Mickelson will compete this year for a record 10th time. And yes, that has to be a record because this is the 10th edition of the event. The only man who’s never missed one has had his share of ups and downs here, owning the dubious distinction of a record 10 match ties.

Matt Kuchar Matt Kuchar

Age: 35

Record: 1-3-1 (2nd appearance)

World ranking: 8

PGA Tour victories: 6

The lowdown: Here’s a potential recipe for success: Kuchar’s two wins this season came at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and The Memorial Tournament. Considering this event is contested in the match play format on the same course as the Memorial, common sense should tell us that this should be right up his alley.

Jason DufnerJason Dufner

Age: 36

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 10

PGA Tour victories: 3

The lowdown: The term “rookie” may suggest inexperience, but in the case of a 36-year-old major champion who’s previously competed in the Ryder Cup, it becomes a mere formality. Dufner’s calm demeanor and solid ball-striking skills should be an asset, not to mention his recent strong form.

Keegan BradleyKeegan Bradley

Age: 27

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 15

PGA Tour victories: 3

The lowdown: Two years ago, Bradley was believed to be Couples’ biggest snub, left off the team a month after his PGA Championship victory in favor of Woods and Haas. This time around he didn’t need a captain’s selection. Expect him to pair with frequent practice round partner Mickelson, as they formed a dynamic duo at Medinah last year.

Steve StrickerSteve Stricker

Age: 46

Record: 11-8-0 (5th appearance)

World ranking: 7

PGA Tour victories: 12

The lowdown: It’s one of the most remarkable stories in golf in years. Prior to this season, Stricker decided to semi-retire, choosing to spend more time at home than on the road. And yet, his game has gotten even better, as evidenced by a solo second at TPC Boston to qualify for the team. Don’t be surprised to see him partner with Woods again.

Bill HaasBill Haas

Age: 31

Record: 1-3-1 (2nd appearance)

World ranking: 28

PGA Tour victories: 5

The lowdown: If top-10 finishes is the stat to best showcase consistency, then Haas may have a claim at the PGA Tour's most consistent player this season, as his nine top-10s tied for the Tour lead. Two years ago, he was underwhelming in his initial team competition, but since then he’s matured into a better and – yes – more consistent player.

Hunter MahanHunter Mahan

Age: 31

Record: 8-5-1 (4th appearance)

World ranking: 26

PGA Tour victories: 5

The lowdown: He’s often been the odd man out after the qualification process, left to sit by the phone and receive a captain’s pick for both this event and the Ryder Cup. This time, though, Mahan made the roster on his own merit. Playing in the final twosome at both the U.S. Open and Open Championship should have him prepared for the spotlight.

Zach JohnsonZach Johnson

Age: 37

Record: 4-5-0 (3rd appearance)

World ranking: 11

PGA Tour victories: 9

The lowdown: Call it a walk-off or a buzzer-beater, but Johnson’s 26-foot birdie putt on the final hole of the Deutsche Bank Championship to qualify for the team was about as clutch as it gets. And he’ll come into the event in terrific form, with a win at the BMW Championship.

Jordan SpiethJordan Spieth

Age: 20

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 21

PGA Tour victories: 1

The lowdown: What a meteoric rise for a kid who began the season as a teenager with no status on any tour and will end it with a PGA Tour victory, a top-30 world ranking, and, now, a place on the Presidents Cup roster. This may be a first for Spieth, but it’s a first of many.

Webb SimpsonWebb Simpson

Age: 28

Record: 3-2-0 (2nd appearance)

World ranking: 24

PGA Tour victories: 3

The lowdown: During a Monday night teleconference, Couples rhetorically asked, “How do you not pick that guy?” It turns out, he didn’t have an answer to his own question, choosing to place last year’s U.S. Open champion on the team. He acquitted himself well in his first Presidents Cup two years ago, winning his first three team matches.

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Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1

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Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

“This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

“I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

“I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

“We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

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Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”