Major Accomplishment

By Randall MellFebruary 25, 2010, 3:33 am

Rosie Jones broke through to claim her first major more than three years after retiring from the LPGA.

That’s what it felt like, Jones said Wednesday, when LPGA commissioner Michael Whan called to inform her she had been named the U.S. Solheim Cup captain and will lead the Americans against Europe in Ireland next year.

“I haven’t won a major, so this is a major accomplishment for me,” said Jones, 50. “It’s a huge honor for me.”

Jones, a 13-time LPGA winner, said the appointment also came as a surprise.

“I was pretty shocked and excited,” Jones said of Whan’s call. “I had to ask him to repeat himself because I wasn’t sure I understood him correctly.”

Jones wasn’t alone in her surprise.

Speculation was strong within LPGA circles that Meg Mallon would be the captain when the Solheim Cup is staged Sept. 23-25 of 2011 at Killeen Castle in County Meath, Ireland. That thinking was fueled by Mallon’s Irish heritage and the fact that she served as assistant captain to Beth Daniel when the Americans won at Rich Harvest Farms outside Chicago last summer. There was also speculation that Juli Inkster would follow as captain when the matches returned to the United States in 2013.

Jones’ choice will heighten intrigue over the naming of the 2013 U.S. captain.

The only players who have won more U.S. Solheim Cup points than Jones who have yet to be captain are Inkster (18), Mallon (16½) and Dottie Pepper (14). Jones won 12 points in her seven Solheim Cup appearances. She was 11-9-2 with a 3-3-1 singles record.

The 2013 Solheim Cup is scheduled to be played at the Colorado Golf Club. Mike McGetrick is the managing partner there. He’s also the long-time swing coach for both Inkster and Mallon.

Pepper’s place in the mix is uncertain. At 44, she’s the youngest of the trio who have the strongest credentials to serve as future captains. Inkster is 49, Mallon 46.

Pepper drew the ire of LPGA officials and U.S. Solheim Cup players while working as a Golf Channel analyst when the Americans won in Sweden three years ago. After Sherri Steinhauer missed a short putt at the 18th hole on Saturday, allowing Europe to halve a match with Steinhauer and Laura Diaz, Pepper let loose with her famous “Choking freaking dogs” comment. Though Pepper thought she was off the air and never meant the line for an open microphone, it created a furor in the American team room that still looms as a potential roadblock to her appointment.

Pepper, a 17-time LPGA winner with two major championship victories, suspects the gaffe still hurts her.

“I could in no way fit [Solheim Cup captain] into my schedule, but because of the issue in Sweden I don’t believe I will ever be in the conversation,” Pepper said via text message.

Jones will be only the second U.S. Solheim Cup captain who isn’t a major championship winner. (Judy Rankin captained the U.S. in 1996, 1998 and had 26 LPGA victories but no majors.) That fact speaks to the respect Jones commanded in her 23 years as a full-time player. She was four times a runner-up in majors.

“I called Rosie and told her, `This is your time,’” Daniel said. “She is definitely deserving. She’s one of those competitors who seems to shine when the pressure’s on. She played on seven Solheim Cup teams and always got really fired up. She fired up everyone else.”

As one of the last three U.S. Solheim Cup captains, Daniel was on the selection committee that chose Jones. Whan, LPGA president Michelle Ellis and LPGA board chairman Dawn Hudson were also on the six-person committee.

Mallon, who, like Jones, is an Ohio State University graduate, said she strongly supported Jones’ appointment. After struggling with injuries and serious family health issues the last few seasons, Mallon said she’s not ready to retire. She is using a top-20 career money exemption to play this season with her focus on finishing her career on a strong note.

Inkster also remains an active player.

“The fact that people are saying I’m on a short list of captains is pretty cool to me,” Mallon said.

Jones was never a long hitter, but she impressed fellow pros with her short game, putting and her feisty determination.

“I will never forget my recruiting trip to Ohio State,” Mallon said. “I remember how hard Rosie was working at school and on her game. She was determined to graduate in four years. She had 19 credits, but I remember her out running on the track. She was a grinder who worked hard and was very passionate about golf.”

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Watch: Reed races in 40-footer to put away Spieth

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 10:19 pm

Three up with three holes to play at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Patrick Reed missed an opportunity to close out his match with Jordan Spieth when Spieth won the 16th hole with a birdie.

But Reed wouldn't let the match move to 18. Putting for birdie from the apron, 40 feet from the hole, at the par-3 17th, Reed raced in this putt to end the match.

With the win, Reed moved to 3-0-0 for the week and advanced to the weekend at Austin Country Club.

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Garcia's win-win situation: Move on or baby time

By Rex HoggardMarch 23, 2018, 9:45 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Given his status as one of Europe’s preeminent Ryder Cup players, Sergio Garcia’s record at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is nothing short of inexplicable.

In 15 starts at the event, the Spaniard has played the weekend just once – in 2010 when he lost in the semifinals to Ian Poulter – and since the event pivoted to round-robin play he’s never made it out of the group stages.

His fortunes have changed dramatically this year, with Garcia going undefeated in pool play and cruising to the Sweet 16 following a 3-and-1 victory over Xander Schauffele on Friday.

“I would love to have done a little better than I have,” said Garcia, who will play Kyle Stanley in the Round of 16 early Saturday. “I have had some good weeks here. But not probably as good as I should have. So hopefully this week it will be better.”

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

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Garcia made no secret of the source of his turnaround following the birth of his first child last Wednesday, a girl named Azalea. Even on Friday when he found himself 2 down through 11 holes and in danger of not advancing he kept an upbeat attitude.

“The way I looked at it, when I was 2 down, we're going to try to turn it around, but if we don't, it means that I get to spend more time with [his wife] Angela and Azalea for the weekend,” Garcia said. “I tried to look at it in a good way.”

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DeLaet: WGC's robin-robin format 'sucks'

By Grill Room TeamMarch 23, 2018, 9:20 pm

Graham DeLaet isn't teeing it up at Austin Country Club this week because he didn't qualify for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, but that doesn't mean he lacks an opinion on the event's format.

DeLaet hopped on social media Friday during Day 3 of the WGC-Match Play to torch the round-robin format that's been in place for three years, saying he much preferred the single elimination that was in place when he played in 2014.

"Played Match Play in Tucson in 2014. Early group on Wednesday, lost. Threw clubs in my car and was on my couch in Scottsdale by 2:00 pm. Collect 30K and spend the weekend at home, he tweeted. "That’s a good format. This one sucks."

DeLeat's comments may be the strongest to date, but he's not alone in his opposition to pool play. Several players lamented Friday's "meaningless" matches earlier this week, and Henrik Stenson cited the lack of a do-or-die atmosphere as his reason for skipping the event.

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Watch: Kuchar makes ace at WGC-Dell Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 9:09 pm

In his bid to advance to the weekend at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Matt Kuchar aced the par-3 seventh hole Friday at Austin Country Club.

With an 8-iron from 181 yards, Kuchar landed his ball short of the flag and watched it roll and roll ... and drop.

The hole-in-one moved Kuchar 3 Up in match against Ross Fisher. 

The last hole-in-one at the Match Play came in Sunday's consolation match last year, when Hideto Tanihara aced the same hole before later losing to Bill Haas.