Red White and True Blue

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2011, 1:54 am

2012 Ryder CupTo the surprise of . . . well, no one, Davis Love III will be named America’s 27th Ryder Cup captain just before lunch on Thursday and with that bit of housekeeping out of the way will come real speculation.

That Love would be Team USA’s next skipper was common knowledge to anyone who has not been hiding under one of those stones that was hurled in the direction of former captain Corey Pavin following America’s Monday loss to the Europeans last year in Wales.

A source close to the situation confirmed as much to on Dec. 16 and DL3 was the consensus selection long before that. Love has the prerequisite credentials, 20 PGA Tour wins with a major high card (1997 PGA), six Ryder Cup starts with a 9-12-5 record (he’s also 16-8-4 in six Presidents Cups) and was one of Pavin’s assistants last year at Celtic Manor.

But now, with the formalities out of the way, the real question looms – what kind of captain will the 46-year-old be?

Love has played for six different Ryder Cup captains, from the bold Hal Sutton in 2004 to the measured Ben Crenshaw in ’99, but it will likely be the influence of two friends and a departed father that will set the standard for DL3’s captaincy.

Davis Love III
Davis Love played on six Ryder Cup teams. (Getty Images)

Fred Couples, whose laissez faire work at the 2009 Presidents Cup earned him an encore performance in Australia later this year, is the clinical extreme to Love’s legendary “type A” intensity. When Couples ventures to Sea Island, Ga., to visit his longtime friend the running joke is that it’s impossible to get one guy (Couples) off the couch and away from the TV while Love never met a distraction, from turkey hunting to paddle boarding, worth ignoring.

Still, the success of “Boom Boom’s” laid back schtick at Harding Park did not go unnoticed.

If Love were paying attention, and he was, he learned a few essentials: pair players comfortably, stock the team room with copious amounts of adult beverages and Ping-Pong tables and make sure the rain suits don’t leak (insert obligatory Pavin joke here).

America’s top dozen players need guidance and support at the biennial grudge match, not a babysitter.

The intrinsic value of a Ryder Cup captain, however, is often defined by the details, minutia that often influences the outcome of the matches and defines a captaincy but goes largely unnoticed.

Critics gauge Ryder Cup success from 30,000 feet, while good captains make a difference down in the weeds.

Captains like Paul Azinger, whose tireless handiwork led to victory in 2008 at Valhalla. From his behind-the-scenes tinkering with the selection process to an ingenious “pod” system and fan engagement, Azinger’s influence was less about what happened between the ropes than it was everything he did to make sure things ran smoothly off the golf course.

Love is a detail guy, cut straight from the Azinger mold, which means if there is an advantage to be had in 2012 at Medinah he will find it. Consider Love’s first-year stint as tournament host of the McGladrey Classic. Although he joked that he received a disproportionate amount of credit for the first-year event, brother/tournament director Mark Love told a much different story.

“He was always at the golf course when he was home making sure things ran smoothly,” Mark Love said in October. “And next week when we start taking things down he’ll be there. It’s just the way he is.”

Love’s Ryder Cup record also offers insight into what type of captain he will be. He’s had 12 different partners in 20 Ryder Cup team matches, including a 2-1 record paired with Tiger Woods, which suggests the University of North Carolina product was viewed as something of a swing man by former captains.

Good pairings are based on personality rather than playing styles, and a versatile utility player like Love will be drawn to likeminded teammates. Guys like Zach Johnson and Stewart Cink, who may not have the best team records but are easily interchangeable in any format, will factor heavily in 2012.

And finally expect Love to pull a page from his father’s coaching style. Davis Love Jr. died in a tragic 1988 plane crash, but the famed teaching pro’s legacy lives on.

In his book 'Every Shot I Take,' Love offered an interesting take on his father, and some insight into the passion he will bring to next year’s matches.

“I wish every golfer could have a kind of golfing education I had,” Love wrote.

To no one’s surprise, that education culminates late next year outside of Chicago.

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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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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, again, the title came down to the last match and Arizona took home its third title with a 3-2 victory over Alabama when Haley Moore defeated Lakareber Abe by making a birdie on the 19th hole. The last time the Wildcats won the NCAA Championship was in 2000, when coach Laura Ianello was on the team.

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.

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Jutanugarn sisters: Different styles, similar results

By Associated PressMay 23, 2018, 10:20 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn play golf and live life differently.

The sisters from Thailand do have the same goal in the LPGA, hoping their shot-to-shot focus leads to titles.

The Jutanugarns are two of six women with a shot at the Volvik Championship to become the circuit's first two-time winner this year. The first round begins Thursday at Travis Pointe Country Club, a course six winners are skipping to prepare elsewhere for next week's U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama.

''Everybody has a chance to win every weekend,'' Moriya said. ''That's how hard it is on tour right now.''

Ariya competes with a grip-it-and-rip-it approach, usually hammering a 3-wood off the tee.

Moriya takes a more calculated approach, analyzing each shot patiently.

That's perhaps fitting because she's 16 months older than her sister.

''It's funny because when we think about something, it's always the different,'' she said. ''But we pretty much end up with the same idea.''

Off the course, they're also different.

The 22-year-old Ariya appears careful and guarded when having conversations with people she doesn't know well. The 23-year-old Moriya, meanwhile, enjoys engaging in interesting discussions with those who cross her path.

Their mother, Narumon, was with her daughters Wednesday and the three of them always stay together as a family. They don't cook during tournament weeks and opt to eat out, searching for good places like the sushi restaurant they've discovered near Travis Pointe.

Their father, Somboon, does not watch them play in person. They sisters say he has retired from owning a golf shop in Thailand.

''He doesn't travel anymore,'' Moriya Jutanugarn said.

Even if he is relegating to watching from the other side of the world, Somboon Jutanugarn must be proud of the way his daughters are playing.

Ariya became the first Thai winner in LPGA history in 2016, the same year she went on to win the inaugural Volvik Championship. She earned her eighth career victory last week in Virginia and is one of two players, along with Brooke Henderson, to have LPGA victories this year and the previous two years.

Moriya won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles, joining Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam as the two pairs of sisters to have LPGA victories.

On the money list, Ariya is No. 1 and her sister is third.

In terms of playing regularly, no one is ahead of them.

Ariya is the only LPGA player to start and make the cut in all 12 events this year. Moriya Jutanugarn has also appeared in each tournament this year and failed to make the cut only once.

Instead of working in breaks to practice without competing or simply relax, they have entered every tournament so far and shrug their shoulders at the feat.

''It's not that bad, like 10 week in a row,'' Moriya said.

The LPGA is hosting an event about five miles from Michigan Stadium for a third straight year and hopes to keep coming back even though it doesn't have a title sponsor secured for 2019. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan told reporters he's confident Ann Arbor will be a long-term home for the circuit.

''I can't tell you the specifics about how we're going to do that,'' Whan acknowledged.

LPGA and tournament officials are hosting some prospective sponsors this week, trying to persuade them to put their name on the tournament.

Volvik, which makes golf balls, is preparing to scale back its support of the tournament.

''We're coming back,'' said Don Shin, president of Volvik USA. ''We just don't know in what capacity.''