Shift in Momentum

By John HawkinsOctober 3, 2010, 1:58 am

Ryder CupMomentum has done a 180, leaving Europe with all the positive vibes and the United States with a very tenuous 6-4 lead at the conclusion of Ryder Cup Saturday. If you didn’t know better, it looked like the Yanks felt guilty for stealing the final point of the second session – Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar basically won the last three holes to beat Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, 1 up.

The Euros lead in all six suspended matches, four of them by advantages of 2 up or more, though none have reached the back nine. Darkness did not arrive soon enough for the Americans, who seemed worn down from the outset of the “makeup session” that features a pair of foursomes games in addition to four better-balls. For all the hand-wringing to be done in the U.S. team room Saturday evening, the mission when play resumes should be rather clear.

Salvage at least two points Sunday morning. Anything more would amount to a huge bonus – and allow the Yanks to retain the lead heading into singles – but this is no time to get greedy. With Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker 4 down and Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan trailing by three on the eighth tee, both alternate-shot tilts appear to be lost causes. Phil Mickelson remains winless and has failed to get anything going with Rickie Fowler after a failed partnership with Dustin Johnson.

At this point, it would be silly to expect anything from Philly Mick – he lost 3 down in his first two matches with Johnson and is 2 down now. That infamous, ill-fated pairing with Tiger Woods in 2004 continues to haunt Mickelson, who has won just one of 14 matches since. As good as he has been at the Presidents Cup, Lefty has been just as awful against the Euros, and if you’re U.S. captain Corey Pavin, you’re looking for a place to hide Mickelson in the singles, most likely the middle of the lineup.

Despite superb performances from unlikely sources such as Jeff Overton and Stewart Cink, plus a pair of wins from Woods-Stricker, the U.S. doesn’t find itself in a position of strength heading into Sunday. If there’s one thing to be learned from watching Ryder Cup over the years, it’s that momentum is a moody old cuss, capable of switching its allegiance at any moment, often without an obvious reason. Although the Yanks were headed in the wrong direction when play was called Friday, they came out Saturday morning and won the opening session, then turned their one-point lead into two in the afternoon.

Twenty-four hours later, with the action in the third session halted at virtually the same point as was the first, the U.S. has to deal with the ramifications of tricky reality. There is a ton of golf to be played, the outcome of 16 matches still to be resolved, but now, it’s all about damage control. The tide has shifted, and as the Euros dig into the deficit, Celtic Manor’s galleries will become an even greater factor. Two points Sunday morning means a tie ballgame heading into the finale. As little as that may sound, it could be a lot to ask for.

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Rose (64) peaking just ahead of the U.S. Open

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:40 pm

A former U.S. Open champion appears to be finding his form just three weeks ahead of the year's second major.

Justin Rose ascended to the top of the leaderboard Friday at the Fort Worth Invitational, with rounds of 66-64 pushing him to 10 under par for the week.

Through 36 at Colonial, Rose has marked 12 birdies against just two bogeys.

"Yeah, I did a lot of good things today," Rose said. "I think, you know, the end of my round got a little scrappy, but until the last three holes it was pretty flawless. I think I hit every fairway pretty much and obviously every green to that point. ...

"Yeah, the way I played through, I guess through my first 15 holes today, was about as good as I've played in a long time."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Rose won in back-to-back weeks last fall, stunning Dustin Johnson at the WGC-HSBC Championship and riding that victory right into another at the Turkish Airlines Open.

Now the 2013 U.S. Open winner at Merion feels himself once again rounding into form ahead of this year's Open at Shinnecock. A final-round 66 at The Players gave Rose something to focus on in his recent practice sessions with swing coach Sean Foley, as the two work to shore up the timing of Rose's transition into the downswing.

As for his decision to tee it up at Colonial for the first time since 2010, "It was more the run of form really," Rose explained. "I feel like if I didn't play here it was going to be a little spotty going into the U.S. Open. I felt like I wanted to play enough golf where I would have a good read on my game going into Shinnecock.

"So rather than the venue it was more the timing, but it's obviously it's just such a bonus to be on a great layout like this."

For whatever reason, Rose does tend to play his best golf at iconic venues, having won PGA Tour events at Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional.

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Koepka (63): Two wrist dislocations in two months

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:19 pm

Brook Koepka's journey back from a wrist injury that kept him out four months hasn't been totally smooth sailing, even if his play has suggested otherwise.

Koepka on Friday fired a 7-under 63 to move up the leaderboard into a tie for third, three shots behind leader Justin Rose through the end of the morning wave at the Fort Worth Invitational.

After a slow start Thursday saw him play his first 13 holes 3 over, Koepka is 10 under with 11 birdies in his last 23 holes at Colonial.

"It doesn't matter to me. I could care less. I'm still going to try as hard as I can," Koepka said. "I don't care how many over or how many under I am. Still going to fight through it."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Just like he's been fighting his wrist the last two months or so. Koepka reinjured his wrist the Wednesday of The Players when he was practicing on the range and had to halt mid-swing after a golf cart drove in front of him. He nonetheless managed to finish T-11.

And that's not the only issue he's had with that wrist during his return.

"We had a bone pop out of place. I didn't tell anybody, but, yeah, they popped it back in," Koepka admitted Friday. "Luckily enough we kind of popped it back into place right away so it wasn't stiff and I didn't have too, too many problems.

"Yeah. I mean, I've dislocated my wrist twice in the last two months. You know, different spots, but, I mean, it's fun. I'll be all right."

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Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

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Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

"That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

Check out the full interview below: