Internationals must win 2013 Presidents Cup

By Randall MellOctober 1, 2013, 5:00 pm

The team colors for the Internationals ought to be black and blue.

The beatings they’ve endured from the Americans in the Presidents Cup have left some ugly marks.

The team flag for the Internationals ought to be white.

They’ve been breaking out the white flag early on Sundays in these lopsided matches for almost a decade now.

And the team captain ought to be Louis Herman Klotz.

For those of you unfamiliar with “Red” Klotz, he is the owner and coach of the Washington Generals, the hapless opponent to the Harlem Globetrotters since the ’50s. Klotz used to play point guard for the Generals, who have gone more than 40 years since they last beat the Globetrotters. Klotz’s overall record against the Globetrotters is estimated to be six wins and 13,000 losses.

Yeah, the Internationals are a bunch of losers. They’re 1-7-1 in these matches.

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Presidents Cup capsules: United States | Internationals

Apologies here to Nick Price, the noble International team captain and World Golf Hall of Famer, but he needs help, and that’s where this column comes into play.

There’s nothing like spicy bulletin-board material to motivate the ranks, and so consider this a care package for the Internationals, a gift-wrapped box of insults sincerely aimed to aid and assist the Internationals in making these matches matter. I’d like to say these matches are careening in perilously quick fashion toward irrelevance, but I’m not sure just how relevant they’ve ever really been.

Yes, there are possibilities. There is hope in looking back at how the Ryder Cup evolved from an annual American thrashing of Great Britain & Ireland to the glorious team competition it is today. We get that these things take time, but we also get that time is shrinking in this age of instant information. We also get that if it weren’t for Tiger Woods teeing it up, these matches would get infinitely fewer eyeballs than they otherwise would.

So, really, Captain Price, consider these gifts of outrageous vituperation for what they’re intended, a spark in helping the Presidents Cup evolve more quickly. Consider this package of insults as being offered up for the greater good of the game in the hopes they’ll make the Presidents Cup’s outcome worth caring about.

Hey, you know Woods isn’t going to do you this favor. He isn’t going to go all Muhammad Ali and goad your team with taunting barbs and digs.

So, here we go, with earnest sacrificial intent, here it is in black and white, the truth as to why these matches don’t matter more: The Internationals are stinking up these matches with all their losing.

Yes, Ernie Els is a proven winner. He has won four major championships, 19 PGA Tour titles and more than 60 overall professional titles. Angel Cabrera has won a pair of majors. Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel have all won majors, but as a team they head to Muirfield Village this week hoping to help the Internationals win the Presidents Cup for the first time since 1998.

The last time the Internationals won these matches Bill Clinton was president of the United States and Jesse Ventura was the governor of Minnesota. Nobody knew what an iPod or iPad was. That’s because they hadn’t been created. Neither had YouTube.

That’s a long legacy of losing, but the Internationals don’t just change their luck with a victory this week. They make these matches more interesting. The Ryder Cup didn’t really matter until the Americans struggled to win it. The same formula should make the Presidents Cup matter more.

So take these insults as they’re intended, as fuel for a more intriguing Presidents Cup.

Yes, bulletin-board material is more valued in the combative sport of football, but it works in golf, too.

Just ask Jack Nicklaus.

Back before he won the Masters in 1986, Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer Tom McCollister wrote that the Golden Bear was washed up in his return to Augusta National that year.

“Nicklaus is gone, done,” McCollister wrote. “He just doesn’t have the game anymore. It’s rusted from lack of use. He’s 46, and nobody that old wins the Masters.”

Nicklaus’ dear friend, John Montgomery, posted the article on the refrigerator of the home Nicklaus was renting at the Masters that week. While Nicklaus downplayed the significance beforehand, he entered the media room after his stunning victory asking where Tom McCollister was.

“Thanks, Tom,” Jack cracked.

“Glad I could help,” McCollister cracked back.

So here you go, Internationals, a little something for your refrigerators, or the bottom of a bird cage.

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Ball headed O.B., Stone (68) gets huge break

By Mercer BaggsJuly 19, 2018, 2:14 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brandon Stone knew it when he hit it.

“I knew I hit it out of bounds,” the South African said following his opening round in the 147th Open Championship.

Stone’s second shot on the par-4 18th, from the left fescue, was pulled into the grandstands, which are marked as O.B. But instead of settling in with the crowd, the ball ricocheted back towards the green and nearly onto the putting surface.

Stone made his par and walked away with a 3-under 68, two shots off the early lead.

“I really didn’t put a good swing on it, bad contact and it just came out way left,” Stone said. “I feel so sorry for the person I managed to catch on the forehead there, but got a lucky break.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“When you get breaks like that you know you’re going to have good weeks.”

It’s been more than just good luck recently for Stone. He shot 60 in the final round – missing a 9-foot birdie putt for the first 59 in European Tour history – to win last week’s Scottish Open. It was his third career win on the circuit and first since 2016. It was also just his first top-10 of the season.

“A testament to a different mental approach and probably the change in putter,” said Stone, who added that he switched to a new Ping Anser blade model last week.

“I’ve been putting, probably, the best I have in my entire life.”

This marks Stone’s sixth start in a major championship, with his best finish a tie for 35th in last year’s U.S. Open. He has a missed cut and a T-70 in two prior Open Championships.

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Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 1:26 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated,” taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.

Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor. Kang made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.

Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.

“I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.

Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”

“I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”

Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.

“No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”

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Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.

Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.

“We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.

“I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”

Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.

“Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”

The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.

“We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.