Furyk helps Ryder Cup chances with 63 at Firestone

By Jason SobelAugust 2, 2012, 11:18 pm

AKRON, Ohio – If the United States Ryder Cup points standing remains intact for the next two weeks – and that’s a big if, with every borderline qualifier competing twice and double points at the PGA Championship – there will be an inevitable logjam of possible captain’s picks from which Davis Love III can choose.

Conventional wisdom says Steve Stricker will claim one of the four remaining roster spots, if for no other reason than being a great putter and likely partner for Tiger Woods is a convincing one-two punch. That same conventional wisdom shows that at least the foursome of Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson and Jim Furyk will push for the other three positions, leaving the captain with some major decisions and a potentially major snub.

And sticking with conventional wisdom for one more logical conclusion, now would be a pretty good time for those candidates to start playing some inspired golf.

That last bit of wisdom should serve as excellent news for Furyk, who opened his campaign at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with a 7-under 63 that gave him a two-stroke lead.

A member of each of the last seven Ryder Cup teams, Furyk is very cognizant of what he needs in order to claim one of the eight qualifying positions by next Sunday evening.

“I'd be lying if I said it wasn't on my mind and it hadn't crossed my mind,” he admitted. “I know exactly where I stand. I'm 14th in points.”

Never mind that Furyk actually ranks 15th on the current list. That was just about his only mistake on a day when he posted an eagle and seven birdies to get himself into the top spot on the leaderboard with 54 holes to go at Firestone Country Club.

It’s a welcome change from his recent play. Since contending at the U.S. Open, Furyk has made four starts, resulting in two 34th-place finishes and a pair of missed cuts. Following the last of those at last week’s Canadian Open, he made a beeline for salvation.

“I got in an airplane as quick as I could Saturday morning, went home for about three days, and it felt good to kind of sit on the back porch and relax a little bit,” he said. “I think more than anything I needed a little time to clear my head, think about what was going wrong. It wasn't anything that was going wrong, why I wasn't playing better. I just felt like I needed to come in here and quit concentrating on trying to be so mechanically sound and just go play some golf and try to score and get the ball in the hole a little bit. It worked today.”

It’s working toward helping his overall goal of making the Ryder Cup team again, too, though there’s still a long way to go.

Furyk currently has 2,653.116 points in a format that is based on money earned (major championship earnings are doubled), leaving him more than 1,300 hefty points from the final automatic qualifying place. It’s not an impossible task, but will require continued solid play for the remainder of this week and next.

Not that he can think about it while competing.

“If I were sitting out there on the golf course trying to hit shots worried about the Ryder Cup team, it wouldn't be possible to play well,” he explained. “I'd be lying if I said it wasn't on my mind, but I also know when you're trying to win a golf tournament, if you're just focused on trying to win, it's not going to happen. You have to focus on trying to hit the ball in the fairway, trying to focus on trying to hit a good shot in the middle of the green, trying to knock a putt in and just not get ahead of yourself.

“I'm wise enough to know what my situation is, wise enough to know where I stand, but the only thing I can do to help it is to play well, so I'm focused on playing well and nothing else.”

There’s a long-standing mantra in the game which serves as the easy two-word answer for any player who wishes to claim the spoils that come with success: Play better.

Through one round this week, Furyk is living up to that mantra, playing better than he has since the U.S. Open. If he keeps it up, those spoils may just come in an eighth appointment to play in the Ryder Cup.

For now, though, that’s all he can do. Play better. It’s just conventional wisdom.

@bubbawatson on Instagram

Bubba gets inked by Brooks, meets Tebow

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 5:40 pm

Bubba Watson missed the cut at Shinnecock Hills following rounds of 77-74, but that didn't stop him from enjoying his weekend.

Watson played alongside Jason Day and eventual champion Brooks Koepka in Rounds 1 and 2, and somehow this body ink slipped by us on Thursday.

Got autographed by defending @usopengolf Champ @bkoepka!! #NeverShoweringAgain

A post shared by Bubba Watson (@bubbawatson) on

And while we're sure Bubba would have rather been in contention over the weekend, we're also sure that taking your son to meet the second most famous minor-league baseball player who ever lived was a lot more fun than getting your teeth kicked in by Shinnecock Hills over the weekend, as just about everyone not named Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood did.

Already in Hartford, Watson will be going for his third Travelers Championship trophy this week, following wins in 2010 and 2015.

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Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

“The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Jordan Spieth

6. Rickie Fowler

7. Bubba Watson

8. Webb Simpson

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9. Bryson DeChambeau

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Matt Kuchar

12. Brian Harman

On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

European Points

1. Tyrrell Hatton

2. Justin Rose

3. Tommy Fleetwood

4. Francesco Molinari

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5. Thorbjorn Olesen

6. Ross Fisher

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Rory McIlroy

3. Alex Noren

4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

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5. Ian Poulter

6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

@jenamsims on Instagram

Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.



The second is from Sunday night.



And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.