Top Newsmakers No 4 European Dominance

By Randall MellDecember 24, 2010, 11:49 pm

Top 10 Newsmakers

Graeme McDowell punctuated Europe’s dominant year with an exclamation point.

He beat Tiger Woods in that terrific duel at the Chevron World Challenge earlier this month.

It was one last reminder of who owned 2010.

No matter what lies ahead, there’s no mistaking this year belonged to the European Tour.

“Possibly the greatest year in European Tour history,” European Tour executive director George O’Grady said.

If not for Phil Mickelson’s victory at the Masters, European Tour members would have made a clean sweep of the most important international prizes in golf. McDowell held off Woods, Mickelson and Ernie Els in the final round to win the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Louis Oosthuizen won the British Open in a rout at St. Andrews. Martin Kaymer outplayed Americans Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson down the stretch to win the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

At Celtic Manor in Wales, the Euros sent a collective message, beating the Americans in the Ryder Cup for the sixth time in their last eight tries.

Graeme McDowell
Another Ryder Cup win punctuated a fantastic season for the European Tour. (Getty Images)

The most significant European move of all might have been Lee Westwood’s toppling of Tiger Woods as the new No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking. When Westwood ascended on Nov. 1, he became the first European to hold the top ranking in 16 years, since Nick Faldo held it. The ascension ended Woods’ record run of 281 consecutive weeks at the top.

“Growing up, when people ask what you want to achieve, you turn around say, 'I want to be the best in the world,’” Westwood said. “Right at this very moment, I can show people the world ranking and say, 'Look, I'm the best in the world. I'm the best on the planet for golf at the moment.’”

European Tour supporters were making the same claim about their tour as a whole.

“There is a dominance, and there is a changing of the guard,” eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie said.

In a poignant photo shoot before the Dubai World Championships last month, the Euros did everything but flex their muscles showing off all the hardware and honors they won in 2010. McDowell, Oosthuizen, Kaymer and Westwood posed with the prized trophies European Tour members claimed. There was immense pride about what they achieved this year and confidence over what lies ahead.

“The balance of power is fast shifting towards Europe,” Mark Roe, a Sky Television commentator and former European Tour pro told Golf World. “We have always had the most important championship in the Open, and now we have the best players to back that up.”

Those sentiments were emboldened with Westwood and Kaymer turning down PGA Tour membership and McIlroy giving up his. Back at the start of 2008, there were just two Europeans among the top 10 in the world rankings (Padraig Harrington and Justin Rose). This year will end with six of the top 10 from Europe.

It creates a debate over which tour is better right now.

“The European Tour definitely has gotten stronger the last few years,” says Ben Curtis, the 2003 British Open champ who played the European Tour as a member for two seasons. “The players have definitely gotten better. The European Tour fields have gotten stronger. But, our tour, top to bottom, it’s a little bit deeper. Their top echelon of players is just as good, if not better, than ours right now. The top 125 on our tour are probably better than theirs.”

The PGA Tour still towers over the European Tour when money and world-ranking points are compared.

For the remainder of the year, is counting down the Top 10 Newsmakers of 2010. For a list of the complete top 10 and the scheduled release dates, click here.

The PGA Tour played for purses totaling $270 million this season. The European Tour played for $170 million.

PGA Tour pros played for 17,000 world ranking points this year. The European Tour played for 12,000.

There were 32 PGA Tour and European Tour events that went head-to-head this year. The PGA Tour had more world ranking points in 23 of them.

“The European Tour is probably stronger than it’s ever been, but it’s still not like the PGA Tour,” said five-time PGA Tour winner Scott Verplank. “It’s just not as deep. There are 60 guys who can win on the PGA Tour any week, and I would venture to say there are 30 to 40 over there who can win any week, maybe not that many.

“We play for more money. We have most of the bigger tournaments. It’s an interesting deal, but the European Tour is good. Their top players are every bit as good as anybody else’s.”

And aiming to get better.

Follow Randall Mell on Twitter @RandallMell

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High school seniors win U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

By Associated PressMay 24, 2018, 1:44 am

TEQUESTA, Fla. - The 18-year-old Hammer, from Houston, is set to play at Texas next fall. Barber, from Stuart, Fla., also is 18. He's headed to LSU.

''Growing up watching U.S. Opens and U.S. Amateurs on TV, I just knew being a USGA champion is something that I desperately wanted,'' said Hammer, who qualified for a U.S. Open three years ago at 15. ''And to finally do it, it feels incredible. It feels as good, if not better, than I thought it would. And especially being able to do it with Garrett. It's really cool to share this moment.''

Hammer and Cole won the par-4 eighth with a birdie to take a 2-up lead. They took the par-4 10th with a par, won the par-5 13th with an eagle - Barber hit a 4-iron from 235 yards to 3 feet - and halved the next two holes to end the match.

''Cole didn't want me to hit 4-iron,'' Barber said. ''He didn't think I could get it there. I was like, 'I got it.' So I hit it hard, hit pretty much a perfect shot. It was a crazy shot.''

The 32-year-old Dull is from Winter Park, Fla., and the 42-year-old Brooke from Altamonte Springs, Fla.

''Cole Hammer is a special player,'' Brooke said. ''Obviously, he's going to Texas (and) I'm not saying he is Jordan Spieth, but there are certain things that he does.''

In the morning semifinals, Hammer and Barber beat Idaho high school teammates Carson Barry and Sam Tidd, 5 and 4, and Brooke and Dull topped former Seattle University teammates Kyle Cornett and Patrick Sato, 4 and 3.

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Watch: Pumped up Beef deadlifts 485 lbs.

By Grill Room TeamMay 24, 2018, 12:19 am

Andrew "Beef" Johnston has been playing some solid golf on the European Tour this season, and he is clearly pumped up for one of the biggest weeks of the year at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Judging from the video below, Beef will have no problems lifting the trophy on Sunday as he reportedly deadlifted 220 kg ... (Googles kilogram to pounds converter, enters numbers) ... that's 485 lbs!

@beefgolf with a new deadlift PB 220kg ! #youcantgowronggettingstrong

A post shared by ETPI (@etpi_performanceunit) on

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Arizona captures NCAA DI Women's Championship

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 11:56 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – Turns out this match-play format provides fireworks. Almost always.

In the four years since the women’s NCAA Championship has switched from the stale, 72-hole stroke-play format the championship matches have been pure magic.

This year, for the third time in the past four years, the final outcome came down to the last match and Arizona took home its third title with a 3-2 victory over Alabama on Wednesday when junior Haley Moore defeated senior Lakareber Abe on the 19th hole.

The Wildcats also won NCAA titles in 1996 and 2000, the latter when current Arizona coach Laura Ianello was on the team as a player.

“Arizona is my home, it is where I went to school and [the championship] needs to be back home,” Ianello said. “So I am so proud to be the coach to bring it back.”

Two days ago, Arizona was in the midst of an epic collapse. The Wildcats were safely in the third position after 54 holes of stroke play and needed only to be inside the top eight after 72 holes to advance to the match-play portion of the event.

But they played the worst round of the day and were on the outside looking in with one hole remaining when junior Bianca Pagdanganan made eagle on the par-5 18th hole. That propelled the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor that they ultimately won.

On the first day of match play, Arizona continued to ride the wave of momentum by defeating Pac-12 rivals UCLA, the top seed, and Stanford, a match-play stalwart the past three years.

Next up for Arizona was Alabama, the top-ranked team in the country and the second seed this week after stroke play.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring

“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a hell of a ride,” Ianello said, attempting to take pressure off her team, which, on paper, looked like an underdog.

But you know the saying, anything can happen in match play, and often does.

Alabama coach Mic Potter put out his three first-team All-Americans in the first three spots hoping to jump out to an early lead. Junior Lauren Stephenson played poorly in the opening match and lost, 4 and 3, to freshman Yu-Sang Hou.

Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight dispatched Wildcats Gigi Stoll and Pagdanganan easily in the second and third matches.

Arizona’s Sandra Nordaas beat Angelica Moresco, 1 up, in the fourth match meaning the fifth and final match, which was all square after 16 holes, was going to decide the NCAA title.

Lakareber lost the 17th hole when her approach shot sailed well short and right of the green in thick, gnarly rough. She attempted to advance the ball but could not and headed to the final hole 1 down.

With seemingly every golf fan in Stillwater on site, including several men’s teams here to participate in next week’s championship, Abe hit a laser second shot into the par-5 18th hole setting up a 12-foot look for eagle. Moore missed her birdie putt and Abe won the hole to set up extra holes to decide the championship.

In the extra frame, Moore was left of the green in two shots and Abe was short in the greenside bunker. Moore chipped to 4 feet and Abe’s bunker shot was 6 feet away. Abe missed, Moore made and Arizona walked away with the hardware.

“It means so much, it’s actually like a dream,” Moore said. “I’m just so happy for my team right now.”

Potter has been a head coach for 35 years – at both Furman and Alabama – and finally was able to collect his first NCAA Championship in 2012. Being so close to a second one will sting for quite a while but he will be able to live with the outcome for one simple reason.

“They fought their hearts out all year,” Potter said. “I just want to congratulate them for the way they battled, not only today, but in match play. Everyone gave their best on every shot - that’s all we can ask.”

Arizona def. Alabama, 3-2

Yu-Sang Hou (AZ) def. Lauren Stephenson (AL), 4 and 3

Kristen Gillman (AL) def. Gigi Stoll (AZ), 4 and 3

Cheyenne Knight (AL) def. Bianca Pagdanganan, 4 and 2

Sandra Nordaas (AZ) def. Angelica Moresco (AL), 1 up

Haley Moore (AZ) def. Lakareber Abe (AL), 19th hole

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Elway to play in U.S. Senior Open qualifier

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 10:25 pm

Tony Romo is not the only ex-QB teeing it up against the pros.

Denver Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next week, according to the Denver Post.

And why not? The qualifier and the senior major will be held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. Elway is scheduled to tee off May 28 at 12:10 p.m. ET. The top two finishers will earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, June 27 to July 1.