Big Week For European Ryder Cuppers

By Mercer BaggsAugust 22, 2001, 4:00 pm
When Curtis Strange selected Scott Verplank and Paul Azinger, the 2001 United States Ryder Cup team was finalized.
 
Now they need to know whom exactly they will face.
 
The European Ryder Cup team will be finalized in two weeks following the conclusion of the BMW International on Sept. 2.
 
That adds greater importance to this weeks WGC-NEC Invitational in Akron, OH.
 
Theres $5 million up for grabs, and a guarantee of $25,000 for finishing dead last in the 39-man field ' good news, considering the European Ryder Cup points list is based on money.
 
In addition to the NEC Invitational and BMW International, European players can also earn points at the Scottish PGA Championship, also being played this week.
 
The current top 12 players on the European Ryder Cup list are stateside this week. That includes Paul McGinley, Bernhard Langer, Phillip Price, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Ian Poulter ' who stand in 8th-12th places, respectively.
 
And with the consensus that European Captain Sam Torrance will use his two captains picks on Sergio Garcia and Jesper Parnevik ' neither of who qualified this week to try and earn their way onto the team ' theres plenty of pressure on those at the bottom of the list.
 
I have to play well this week to earn enough to get onto the team, said Jimenez.
 
The importance of this week cant be understated. An impressive finish can solidify a players position in the most anticipated Ryder Cup in match history.
 
It can also positively alter ones schedule.I want to make enough points to where I cant be passed, said McGinley of this week. I dont want to play the BMW. I want to take two weeks off and reassess things before a very busy time of the year.
 
If things go according plan, the Irishman will skip the trip to Germany and take a two-week hiatus before playing the WGC-American Express Championship in St. Louis, MO.
 
He then plans to play the Trophee Lancome in Paris and hopefully, the Ryder Cup.
 
Of course, thats the ideal scenario.
 
Others this week would like McGinley to log a few more frequent flier miles.
 
Price can secure a spot at The Belfry with a repeat of last years performance at the Firestone Country Club.
 
The Welshman finished 11 shots back of winner Tiger Woods; though, it was good enough for a share of second place with Justin Leonard and a $437,500 check.
 
Ive never gone back to somewhere, to the same venue that Ive done that well at, said Price, a two-time European Tour winner. Im hoping that its going to be a boost. I suppose well find out come Sunday.
 
Should he make the team, this would be Ryder Cup No. 1 for Price; the same holds true for McGinley and Poulter.
 
Ive watched enough of them on the television and I want to be a part of it, Price said.
 
Poulter may not have played in a Ryder Cup before, but he does have a bit of experience.
 
I was there in 93, sleeping in a tent about three miles away from the course, he recalled. It was fantastic. Just the atmosphere and the pure adrenaline of the excitement of it all, really. It was just an amazing week, really. And I thought it would be quite nice to feel that feeling for real.
 
Jimenez had that feeling in 1999, when he went 1-2-2.
 
Langer didnt compete in 99, but has nine Cups under his belt. The 43-year-old German has a career 18-15-5 record in the matches; only Nick Faldo (23) has more victories among active players.
 
I like the makeup of our team, Langer said. I think we have a good mix of experience and some new guys in there.
 
I mean, theres one or two guys you might like to see in there, but, you know, it just shows that European golf has grown in depth, too.
 
Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Pierre Fulke are currently the top five players, repsectivley, in the European standings.
 
They are all secure.
 
Colin Montgomeire stands sixth, with Niclas Fasth in seventh place.
 
Fasth and Fulke are the only players currently inside the top-7 who have not played in a Ryder Cup.
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Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


"I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

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Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.

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Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:06 pm

There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.

Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.

Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.

The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.

Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.

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Daly (knee) replaced by Bradley in Open field

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 12:13 pm

Former champion John Daly has withdrawn from The Open because of a right knee injury and will be replaced in the field at Carnoustie by another major winner, Keegan Bradley.

Daly, 52, defeated Costantino Rocca in a memorable playoff to win the claret jug at St. Andrews in 1995. His lingering knee pain led him to request a cart during last month's U.S. Senior Open, and when that request was denied he subsequently withdrew from the tournament.

Daly then received treatment on the knee and played in a PGA Tour event last week at The Greenbrier without the use of a cart, missing the cut with rounds of 77-67. But on the eve of the season's third major, he posted to Twitter that his pain remains "unbearable" and that a second request for a cart was turned down:

This will be just the second time since 2000 that Daly has missed The Open, having also sat out the 2013 event at Muirfield. He last made the cut in 2012, when he tied for 81st at Royal Lytham. He could still have a few more chances to improve upon that record, given that past Open champions remain fully exempt until age 60.

Taking his place will be Bradley, who was first alternate based on his world ranking. Bradley missed the event last year but recorded three top-20 finishes in five appearances from 2012-16, including a T-18 finish two years ago at Royal Troon.

The next three alternates, in order, are Spain's Adrian Otaegui and Americans Aaron Wise and J.B. Holmes.