With or Without You

By John HawkinsMay 19, 2010, 12:35 am
Earth to reality: Tiger Woods currently is 10th in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings – not bad for a guy with one top-10 finish in the last eight months. I don’t suppose Woods looks over his shoulder and sees Ben Crane lurking 142.6 points back in 11th, or whether Tiger is even aware the number of automatic qualifiers was reduced to eight so U.S. captains would have four selections instead of two.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods has a career 10-13-2 record in five Ryder Cup appearances. (Getty Images)
The ultimate control freak, Woods has been spending an awful lot of 2010 in unfamiliar territory, and I’m not talking about the middle of the fairway. Seriously? He’s more likely to beg off Corey Pavin’s squad with an injury or personal issues than he is to not make it, but as the Tigerless Yanks proved at Valhalla with EuroSmash ’08, his presence is desired, not required.

Apparently, winning a U.S. Open on a broken leg is easier than contending elsewhere with a busted life, just as reclaiming the Ryder Cup is a cinch once you’ve lost your 14-time major champion. Without Woods in Kentucky, the Americans played like over-the-top underdogs. Everybody mattered, everybody contributed. First-timers Anthony Kim and Hunter Mahan, Old Glory’s best young players, proved particularly valuable, and from the negative vibe of back-to-back routs at Oakland Hills and the K Club, the positive mojo out of Valhalla couldn’t have been stronger.

In the months leading up to those matches, U.S. skipper Paul Azinger was asked numerous times about his picks – experience or performance? “Experience isn’t worth a damn if the only experience you have is losing,” the captain would say, and from there, the tone was set, the group mentality reflective of a man who never went looking for a fight but never walked away from one, either.

For once, the boys from the other side of the Atlantic were the ones getting frantic. Tiger doesn’t like the rah-rah unless there’s a trophy on the line and a $1.4 million check to deposit, and he’s entitled, but for chops like me, the Ryder Cup is what it’s all about. I want to win to make other people feel good, so they yell and scream and get drunk on pride and unity. I want to beat the other guys not so much to prove a point, but to revel in the satisfaction, and if you wanna revel, you need some company, some help.

You need teammates. You need camaraderie. Happy golfers are relaxed golfers, and relaxed golfers win. Paul Azinger understood that, Nick Faldo never will, and though I truly believe Ryder Cup captains are vastly overrated, they do serve one crucial role: To establish (or determine) the team’s competitive disposition, then mix messages and personnel in a way that will maximize overall performance.

I’m not sure you can do that if Woods is the centerpiece of your team. Whereas Phil Mickelson seems to enjoy the team format and the notion of winning and losing together, Tiger, at least in theory, struggles to bond with guys he’s usually trying to beat. Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker, both low-key and serious, have become his friends, but if you’ve got more than a few ounces of personality, there’s a good chance you’ll draw Woods’ ire, heaven forbid.

Philly Mick has no problem grabbing the microphone in a room full of alpha males or dumping a bushel of opinions on his captain. Woods, as you may have surmised in his Feb. 19 pseudo-confessional, doesn’t have that gear. As ferocious as he can be on the course, he is, like so many tour pros, non-confrontational to an extreme. In short, a team Tiger is a different animal than one without him, but after Valhalla, I’m not sure which one is fiercer.

Azinger could have trained either critter. I would suggest that Pavin learn how to do the same.
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Rose leads Koepka, Grillo by four at Colonial

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 9:06 pm

On the strength of a 4-under 66 Saturday, Justin Rose will take an four-shot lead over Brooks Koepka and Emiliano Grillo into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational. Here's where things stand through 54 holes at Colonial Country Club.

Leaderboard: Rose (-14), Koepka (-10), Grillo (-10), Corey Conners (-8), Jon Rahm (-8), Louis Oosthuizen (-8), J.T. Poston (-8), Ryan Armour (-8)

What it means: The fifth-ranked player in the world is 18 holes from his ninth PGA Tour victory and his second this season. Up once to start the third round, Rose extended his lead to as much as five with birdies on four of his first six holes. Through 54 holes, Rose has made XX birdies and just XX bogeys. The 2013 U.S. Open winner and 2016 Olympic gold medalist has a history of winning at iconic venues - Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional - and now looks to add Colonial to the list. He'll be chased on Sunday by Grillo, the young Argentianian who won his first Tour start as a member in 2015, and Koepka, last year's U.S. Open winner who continues to impress in his injury comeback despite ongoing wrist issues.  

Round of the day: Corey Conners and Ted Potter both turned in 8-under 63. Potter was bogey-free and Conners came home in 6-under 29 on the back nine.

Best of the rest: Jon Rahm, Louis Oosthuizen, Brian Harman, and Michael Thompson all signed for 64. Rahm called his six-birdie start the best 10 holes he's played so far this year. 

Biggest disappointment: Jordan Spieth has finished second-first-second in the last three years at this event, but he's yet to find his normal Colonial form through three rounds. Spieth, who said Friday he was capable of shooting "10 or 12 under" over the weekend, shot even-par 70 Saturday. He sits in T-38 at 3 under for the week, 11 back.

Shot of the day: Rory Sabbatini closed out his third round Saturday with this eagle holeout from 134 yards at the 18th. 

His colorful scorecard featured three bogeys, two birdies, a double bogey and that eagle. It added up to a 1-over 71. 

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McCarron closes with only bogey, shares lead

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 8:49 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Scott McCarron, seeking a second senior major title to go with his 2017 Senior Players Championship, made his only bogey of the third round on the final hole to slip into a tie for the lead Saturday with Tim Petrovic in the Senior PGA Championship.

They were at 13 under par after Petrovic, seeking his first major, shot 65. McCarron has shared the lead through three rounds.

England's Paul Broadhurst, the 2016 British Senior Open winner, matched the best third-round score in tournament history with a 64. He was at 11 under.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, coming off his first major championship last week at the Regions Tradition, shot 65 and was 9 under.

Tom Byrum, who made a hole-in-one in shooting a 67, was in a group at 8 under.

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Watch: Rose one-arms approach, makes birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 26, 2018, 7:25 pm

Justin Rose appears to have taken a course in Hideki Matsuyama-ing.

Already 3 under on his round through five thanks to a birdie-birdie-birdie start, Rose played this approach from 143 yards at the par-4 sixth.

That one-armed approach set up a 6-foot birdie putt he rolled in to move to 4 under on his round and 14 under for the week, five clear of the field.

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McIlroy battles back into tie for BMW PGA lead

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 26, 2018, 4:09 pm

Rory McIlroy got off to a rocky start on Saturday in the third round of the BMW PGA Championship, including hitting a spectator and making a double bogey. But after that incident on the sixth hole, he didn't drop another shot, birdieing the final hole to shoot a 1-under 71 and tie for the lead.

McIlroy had gone into Moving Day with a three-shot lead, but Francesco Molinari had the round of the day, a 6-under 66. "It was nice keep a clean scorecard," said Molinari, who hasn't made a bogey since the 10th hole on Friday.

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

McIlroy and Molinari will be paired in Sunday's final round. They are tied at 13 under par, four shots clear of Ross Fisher, Branden Grace, Sam Horsfield and Alexander Noren.

The Wentworth course ends with back-to-back par-5s, and McIlroy birdied both of them. He got a break on the 18th hole as his drive hit a spectator and bounced into light rough.

"It was a struggle out there today," McIlroy said. "I think when you're working on a few things in your swing and the wind is up and you're stuck between trying to play different shots, but also try to play - you know, make good swings at it, I just hit some loose tee balls on the first few holes. But I'm proud of myself. I stayed patient. I actually - I'm feeling a bit better about myself after today than I was even walking off the course yesterday."