Langer Opts for Youth and Experience

By Mercer BaggsAugust 29, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Ryder CupBernhard Langers calculated, monotone manner has translated into two major victories, 61 worldwide titles, 10 Ryder Cup appearances and immortality in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Comedy, however, is lost somewhere in that translation.
Langer started his press conference Sunday to announce his Ryder Cup captains selections with some opening statements, in both English and German. He then tried to add a little levity to the matter, before revealing his final two team members ' something about Hal Sutton, four picks and not having a phone.
If you didnt hear it, it was uncomfortably unfunny.
But Bernhard Langer isnt an entertainer; hes a winner. And he made two choices Sunday that should go a long way in helping him win, or at least retain, the Ryder Cup.
Langer selected Colin Montgomerie and Luke Donald to round out his team of 12 that will take on the Americans Sept. 17-19 at Oakland Hills in Broomfield, Mich.
It will be Montgomerie's seventh Ryder Cup ' his first as a captain's pick. It will be Donald's first as a pick or otherwise.
It would have been quite a surprise had Langer not selected Montgomerie. There would have been one of those Whoa reactions, coupled with that taken-aback movement of the head ' kind of like when you saw Tom Kite for the first time without his glasses.
Langer may well have but one chance to be a Ryder Cup captain, which means one solitary opportunity to be forever linked to Sam Torrance, or to Mark James.
Obviously, Langer wants to be remembered in the same breath as Torrance and Seve Ballesteros, and not the man who bypassed him as a captains pick in 1999. He wants to, by victory or by tie, keep the Cup. And he knew the only way that would be possible would be to add Montgomerie to his team.
Even if Langer doesnt know what country hes from (he declared Monty from England rather than his native Scotland), he knows firsthand what Montgomerie is capable of when the Cup is in the balance. The two have partnered seven times, going 5-1-1.
Just like the American side, there are seven experienced Ryder Cup players and five rookies on the European team. But even among the seasoned seven, none compare closely to Montgomerie.
  • Ryder Cup record: Montgomerie (16-7-5); Rest of the Team (21-23-8)
  • Foursomes record: Montgomerie (7-3-1); Rest of the Team (9-8-2)
  • Four-ball record: Montgomerie (5-4-2); Rest of the Team (10-7-4)
  • Singles record: Montgomerie (4-0-2); Rest of the Team (2-8-2)
  • Points earned: Montgomerie (18.5); Rest of the Team (25)
    Montgomerie is the only player, on either side, who has a winning record in foursomes, four-ball and singles.
    Langer said he took a variety of variables into consideration in making his decision: Ryder Cup experience, recent performances, performance under pressure, leadership and team chemistry.
    And, on his list of possibilities, it was check, check, check, check, check, next to Montgomeries name.
    It certainly didnt hurt Montgomeries cause by tying for third this past week at the BMW International Open ' a performance which stands out given the situation of trying to impress his captain, and the circumstances surrounding his impending divorce.
    Colins given us a great performance this week, to play that well knowing he still had to show me something, Langer said.
    I gave nobody the nod-ahead and I did that for a reason. I wanted the guys to try as hard as they could to the very end, and show me what theyre made of. And Im very proud of the way he played, especially this week, but also during the season.
    We know hes had some very difficult private times, which probably hurt his golf game for a period of several months. But I think hes over it a little bit ' coming out of the other end of it. Hes refocused. And I think most importantly, hell rise to the occasion.
    Being No. 16 on the (European Ryder Cup points) list, I think, he was my first pick.
    If Montgomerie was a lock in Langers mind, Donald was a true wildcard.
    Langer considered Fredrik Jacobson, who narrowly missed out at the BMW from automatically qualifying for the team, fellow German Alex Cejka, and his assistant captain Joakim Haeggman.
    But in the end, he decided upon Donald.
    Luke was a little bit harder (to select), because of all the other guys and how they have played, Langer said.
    But Luke has had a tremendous last year, year and a half. Hes performed extremely well in America. Hes won $1.5 million on the U.S. tour. And then he comes over here (on the European Tour) and wins the Scandinavian Masters, and has had very good performances the past few weeks, when we knew the pressure was on.
    Donald, a PGA Tour member who won the 2002 Southern Farm Bureau Classic and lost in a playoff in this years Buick Invitational, has plenty of Stateside experience, having also been an NCAA individual champion at Northwestern.
    He has an impressive match-play record, as well. Donald was 7-1-0 in two Walker Cup appearances, including a perfect 4-0 singles record.
    And of the seven European players with at least one Ryder Cup under their belt, Montgomerie and Sergio Garcia (2-0-0) are the only two with a single singles victory, let alone a winning record in the one-on-one session.
    I know Walker Cup is not quite on the same level as the Ryder Cup, but it is match play. And there is a lot of pride on the line and a lot of pressure, Langer said.
    Langer had plenty of options, and he opted for youth and experience. In one, he got one of the most accomplished players in the history of the Matches. In the other, he got a guy who could be making the first of several successful Ryder Cup appearances.
    A Ryder Cup captain is awarded two special selections in order to help make his a better team. Bernhard Langer did that Sunday.
    Im confident,' he said, 'that the two guys I picked are the best two guys for this job.'
    Email your thoughts to Mercer Baggs
    Related links:
  • Langer Finalizes European Team
  • European Ryder Cup Team

  • U.S. Ryder Cup Team

  • Full Coverage - 35th Ryder Cup
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    McIlroy to rest, play Augusta after early exit at Match Play

    By Rex HoggardMarch 23, 2018, 7:02 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – For the second consecutive year, Rory McIlroy failed to advance out of pool play at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, but there was a silver lining for last week’s champion.

    McIlroy, who lost on Friday, 5 and 3, to Brian Harman, said he didn’t have much time to recharge following his victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and having the weekend off will give him a chance to prepare for what promises to be an intense build up to this year’s Masters.

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

    The Northern Irishman will travel to Augusta National on Wednesday for what he said will be a 54- to 72-hole, two-day practice session.

    “Me and [caddie Harry Diamond] are going up, two members are hosting us, we're going to have a couple of social runs Wednesday and Thursday,” McIlroy said. “I’ll rest up a little bit, recharge the batteries, get into the gym. Sort of have a good week training and a good practice week. And just get myself ready for Augusta.”

    McIlroy is listed among the favorites at the Masters, where he could complete the career Grand Slam if he were to win.

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    Group standings at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 6:35 pm

    Here are the group standings for pool play at the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas. The player with the most points in each pool advanced to Saturday's Round of 16 in Austin, Texas. Click here for scoring and click here for the bracket.

    (Note: Group winners are highlighted; * equals won in playoff)

    Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
    (1) D. Johnson: 0-2-0 (2) J. Thomas: 3-0-0 (3) J. Rahm: 0-2-1 (4) J. Spieth: 2-0-0
    (32) K. Kisner: 1-0-1 (21) F. Molinari: 2-1-0 (28) K. Aphibarnrat: 3-0-0 (19) P. Reed: 2-0-0
    (38) A. Hadwin: 1-0-1
    (48) P. Kizzire: 0-2-0 (43) C. Reavie: 1-1-0 (34) H. Li: 0-2-0
    (52) B. Wiesberger: 1-1-0
    (60) L. List: 0-2-0 (63) K. Bradley: 0-1-1 (49) C. Schwartzel: 0-2-0
    Group 5 Group 6 Group 7 Group 8
    (5) H. Matsuyama: 1-1-0 (6) R. McIlroy: 1-2-0 (7) S. Garcia: 3-0-0 (8) J. Day: 1-1-0
    (30) P. Cantlay: 1-1-0
    (18) B. Harman: 2-0-1 (20) X. Schauffele: 2-1-0 (25) L. Oosthuizen: 1-1-0
    (46) C. Smith: 2-0-0 (44) J. Vegas: 0-2-1 (41) D. Frittelli: 0-2-0 (42) J. Dufner: 1-1-0
    (53) Y. Miyazato: 0-2-0 (51) P. Uihlein: 2-1-0 (62) S. Sharma: 0-2-0 (56) J. Hahn: 1-1-0
    Group 9 Group 10 Group 11 Group 12
    (9) T. Fleetwood: 1-1-0 (10) P. Casey: 2-1-0 (11) M. Leishman: 0-2-1 (12) T. Hatton: 2-0-0
    (26) D. Berger: 0-2-0 (31) M. Fitzpatrick: 1-2-0 (23) B. Grace: 1-1-1 (22) C. Hoffman: 0-2-0
    (33) K. Chappell: 1-1-0 (45) K. Stanley: 1-1-0 (35) B. Watson: 2-0-1 (36) B. Steele: 1-1-0
    (58) I. Poulter: 2-0-0 (51) R. Henley: 1-1-0 (64) J. Suri: 1-1-1 (55) A. Levy: 1-1-0
    Group 13 Group 14 Group 15 Group 16
    (13) A. Noren: 2-0-0 (14) P. Mickelson: 2-1-0 (15) P. Perez: 0-1-1 (16) M. Kuchar: 1-0-1
    (29) T. Finau: 2-0-0 (17) R. Cabrera Bello: 1-2-0 (24) G. Woodland: 0-1-1 (27) R. Fisher: 1-1-0
    (39) T. Pieters: 0-2-0 (40) S. Kodaira: 0-3-0 (37) W. Simpson: 1-0-1 (47) Y. Ikeda: 1-1-0
    (61) K. Na: 0-2-0 (59) C. Howell III: 3-0-0 (50) S.W. Kim: 1-0-1 (54) Z. Johnson: 0-1-1
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    Match-by-match: WGC-Dell Technologies, Day 3

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 5:44 pm

    Here is how things played out on Day 3 of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, as 64 players take on Austin Country Club with hopes of advancing out of pool play. Click here for Day 2 match results:

    Group 1: Dustin Johnson (1) vs. Kevin Kisner (32)

    Group 1: Adam Hadwin (38) vs. Bernd Wiesberger (52)

    Group 2: Justin Thomas (2) def. Francesco Molinari (21), 7 and 5: Looking like the man to beat, Thomas put Molinari in an early 3-down hole and kept applying pressure, putting him away with seven birdies in one of the most lopsided results of the week – and in a battle of two unbeatens. Thomas can become world No. 1 with a victory this week.

    Group 2: Patton Kizzire (48) vs. Luke List (60)

    Group winner: Justin Thomas

    Group 3: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (28) def. Jon Rahm, 4 and 3: Unbeaten through two days, Aphibarnrat put the hammer down on Rahm, last year’s finalist. Barnrat needed only three birdies to secure the group win, while Rahm dropped to 0-2-1 for the week.

    Group 3: Chez Reavie (43) vs. Keegan Bradley (63), halved: With the group already decided as they played the closing stretch, Bradley coughed up a late lead for the third consecutive round, halving the match on 18 and finishing the week with a 0-1-2 record that could (and should) have been so much better.  

    Group winner: Kiradech Aphibarnrat

    Group 4: Jordan Spieth (4) vs. Patrick Reed (19)

    Group 4: Haotong Li (34) vs. Charl Schwartzel (49)

    Group 5: Hideki Matsuyama (5) vs. Patrick Cantlay (30)

    Group 5: Cameron Smith (46) vs. Yusaku Miyazato (53)

    Group 6: Brian Harman (18) def. Rory McIlroy (6), 5 and 3: Harman took advantage of McIlroy’s missed putts and uncharacteristic mistakes to build a 3-up advantage on the front nine, then cruised to a lopsided victory. At 2-0-1, Harman wins the group, while McIlroy can begin his prep for Augusta.

    Group 6: Jhonattan Vegas (44) vs. Peter Uihlein (57) def. Jhonattan Vegas (44), 4 and 3: Even though Uihlein won the first two holes on his way to routing Vegas, it wasn’t enough for the former U.S. Amateur champion to advance. He finished the week 2-1.

    Group winner: Brian Harman

    Group 7: Sergio Garcia (7) def. Xander Schauffele (20), 3 and 1: Two down with seven to play in this battle of unbeatens, Garcia birdied the 12th and 13th holes to square the match, then pulled ahead with a pair of birdies on 15 and 16 and a conceded birdie on 17, after Schauffele tugged his tee shot into the hazard.

    Group 7: Dylan Frittelli (41) vs. Shubhankar Sharma (62)

    Group winner: Sergio Garcia

    Group 8: Jason Day (8) vs. Louis Oosthuizen (25)

    Group 8: Jason Dufner (42) vs. James Hahn (56)

    Group 9: Tommy Fleetwood (9) vs. Daniel Berger (26)

    Group 9: Kevin Chappell (33) vs. Ian Poulter (58)

    Group 10: Matthew Fitzpatrick (31) def. Paul Casey (10), 3 and 2: After looking unstoppable over the first two days of pool play, Casey never led against his fellow Englishman, going 3 down after five holes. It was Fitzpatrick’s first point of the week.

    Group 10: Kyle Stanley (45) def. Russell Henley (51), 1 up: Stanley flipped an early 2-down deficit and rolled in a 10-footer birdie putt on the final hole to beat Henley and earn a full point to force the sudden-death playoff with Casey.

    Group 11: Marc Leishman (11) vs. Branden Grace (23), halved: Already eliminated, Leishman kept Grace from reaching the pool-play playoff by never trailing in the match. Though the South African holed a 25-footer on 17 to extend it, both players halved the 18th hole with birdies, including a 6-footer from Leishman, to earn a half-point.

    Group 11: Bubba Watson (35) vs. Julian Suri (64), halved: Needing just a half-point to advance, but two down with two to go, Bubba stuffed his tee shot on 17, then hit his driver pin-high on the home hole. After Suri couldn’t get up-and-down for birdie, Watson sank his 8-footer for the halve. It's the second consecutive year in which Watson has won his group.

    Group winner: Bubba Watson

    Group 12: Tyrrell Hatton (12) vs. Charley Hoffman (22)

    Group 12: Brendan Steele (36) vs. Alexander Levy (55)

    Group 13: Alex Noren (13) vs. Tony Finau (29)

    Group 13: Thomas Pieters (39) vs. Kevin Na (61)

    Group 14: Phil Mickelson (14) def. Rafa Cabrera Bello (17), 1 up: Mickelson needed help to advance, but he took care of Cabrera Bello, making birdie on the last two holes to edge the Spaniard. The group was already decided, however, with Howell closing out his match while the other group played the 18th hole.

    Group 14: Charles Howell III (59) def. Satoshi Kodaira (40), 2 and 1: Needing just a halve to advance, Howell won the 14th and 16th holes with par to gain a 2-up advantage and complete a perfect week in pool play. It’s the second year in a row that Howell has won his group.

    Group winner: Charles Howell III

    Group 15: Pat Perez (15) vs. Gary Woodland (24)

    Group 15: Webb Simpson (37) vs. Si Woo Kim (50)

    Group 16: Matt Kuchar (16) vs. Ross Fisher (27)

    Group 16: Yuta Ikeda (47) vs. Zach Johnson (54)

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    Watch: Rory finds trouble, and more trouble, and more ...

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 4:33 pm

    Rory McIlroy was in a must-win situation against Brian Harman in order to have a chance to advance to the one-and-done portion of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

    And, as you can see, McIlroy did not get off to an ideal start on Friday.

    McIlroy lost the third, fifth and ninth holes at Austin Country Club. Harman led, 3 up, at the turn.