By Randall MellOctober 12, 2009, 2:39 am
Presidents Cup

SAN FRANCISCO – The Internationals never had a chance.

 That’s what it sounded like in the aftermath of the United States’ 19 ½ to 14 ½ Presidents Cup victory Sunday at Harding Park.

There were intangible forces almost as formidable as an American team stacked with the top three players in the world.

There was Michael Jordan’s motivational speech before the United States took the turf Sunday, and there was captain Fred Couples’ highly unusual incentive-laden game plan and there was a boisterous home crowd nastier than your average Ryder Cup crowd.

Hunter Mahan Camilo Villegas Presidents Cup
Hunter Mahan defeated Camilo Villegas 2 and 1 during Sunday's singles matches at Harding Park. (Getty Images)

Couples said his players were moved by Jordan’s speech, but they were equally moved knowing they were playing for a chance to claim one of the NBA Hall of Famer’s jerseys from his days with the Chicago Bulls.

Couples let players know MVP efforts would be rewarded with the presentation of four of Jordan’s official game jerseys.

Woods, Stricker and Anthony Kim ended up walking away with one. So did Phil Mickelson’s wife, Amy, who made a surprise appearance at the team dinner Saturday night.

As motivation goes, Couples said it was highly effective. The Jordan jerseys were like gold. Everyone wanted one.

The Internationals might have found the prizes fitting. They complained that the American crowds were about as well behaved as an NBA crowd.

“If you walked around and heard some of the stuff, you would be amazed,” Norman said.

Robert Allenby of the Internationals was more specific about the nature of the crowds.

“I would say 50 guys got thrown out this week for bad attitudes,” he said. “It was like playing a U.S. Open at Bethpage Black.

“There were a lot of people saying things like, `You guys [stink]’ That was nothing. There was swearing.

“The police were really good, though. They went straight to them and handcuffed them.”

How often did Allenby see that?

“More than once,” he said.

And then there was the American team.

Woods, Phil Mickelson and Stricker lived up to their billing as the top three players in the world rankings. They combined to lose just one match all week, Stricker’s fall to Geoff Ogilvy in singles.

The effort leads you to believe we may be on the verge of another golden era in American golf.

Apologies to Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and players of their generations, but we’re talking American team golf.

With Sunday’s victory, the Americans ran their streak of international team victories to three straight.

OK, it barely qualifies as a streak, but since the Presidents Cup joined the Ryder Cup in the team mix in 1994, that’s never happened before. The Americans had never won more than two in a row before this run. For a bunch of players who not so long ago were skewered for being uninterested in this team thing, they’re looking an awful lot like a dynasty in the making.

Head’s up, Europe. You’re next with the Ryder Cup scheduled in Wales next year.

Corey Pavin, the 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, had to like what he saw on his scouting trip here this week.

The Americans didn’t just win. They ran up the score.

The victory came in a flurry of knockouts.

The Americans needed just five of the 12 points available in singles Sunday to secure the victory, and they got the first four of them in convincing fashion before the Internationals gained their first point. This thing was over with half the matches still in progress.

Bam, boom, bam, boom, bam.

It was nearly that quick.

In fitting fashion, Woods claimed the winning point with the most personally satisfying victory of the day to run his record to 5-0 for the week.

Woods thrashed Y.E. Yang 6 and 5 nine weeks after Yang beat him in a head-to-head Sunday duel to win the PGA Championship.

It wasn’t that long ago when the Americans were criticized for not embracing these team competitions, for dreading the annual events and all the responsibilities that came with them. They were considered too self-centered to care about melding as a unit. The low point was their loss at Oakland Hills in 2004, when American captain Hal Sutton controversially paired Woods and Mickelson, the Nos. 1-2 players in the world. The lack of chemistry was palpable and seemed to prove the point that America’s best tour pros were incompatible as teammates.

The Americans proved something whipping the Europeans without Woods at Valhalla in the Ryder Cup last year. Captain Paul Azinger made team chemistry a strength with his popular pod system where he paired players in four-man community pods. The Americans proved something again this week with Woods looking like he could fit into any pod while playing better than he’s ever played in a team event.

The Woods-Stricker pairing overwhelmed the Internationals. They went 4-0 together.

“It was a fun thing to have Tiger and Steve beat up on everybody,” Couples said. “Every tournament Tiger plays, everyone wants to know what he’s shooting and where he’s at. The Presidents Cup is no different. So for him and Steve to win every match, we basically shut their team down from saying, `Hey, we have them where we want them.’ They won every time, and I think that was a boost for us.”

It made it feel like the Internationals never had a chance.

Getty Images

Davies leads Inkster after Day 1 of Senior LPGA Champ.

By Associated PressOctober 16, 2018, 1:10 am

FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies opened with a 4-under 68 despite finishing with two bogeys Monday, giving her a one-shot lead over Juli Inkster after Round 1 of the Senior LPGA Championship.

Davies, who earlier this year won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open, had a lost ball on the par-5 18th hole on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort. She still salvaged a bogey in chilly, windy weather that had the 55-year-old from England bundled up in a blanket between shots.

Inkster, runner-up to Davies at the Senior Women's Open, made eagle on the closing hole for a 69.

Jane Crafter was at 70. Defending champion Trish Johnson opened with a 73.

Temperatures were in the high 40s, but the damp air and wind made it feel even colder.

Inkster made a bogey on the 17th hole by missing the green with a 9-iron.

''As old as I am, I still get made and I crushed that drive on 18,'' said Inkster, who followed with a 3-wood to 15 feet to set up her eagle.

The 54-hole event concludes Wednesday.

Getty Images

Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

“When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.

Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

“The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

“The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

Pay per view does that.

“You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.