Hooks and Cuts

By Rich LernerOctober 4, 2010, 1:54 am

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – Truth is, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are no better than eighth and 10th on their team right now. Has there ever been a great player as unreliable from 5 feet as Phil?

• How different would the vibe be right now had Francesco Molinari missed the bunny at 18?

• Monty is nothing short of brilliant in the press center. He’s bright, funny, and engaging. That’s with a three-point lead. If this somehow collapses, that media gathering could be one for the dark ages.

• It’s a big 'if' because Lee Westwood’s in a deep, comfortable zone, but if Steve Stricker can take out Westwood in that first match the U.S. might have a fighting chance.

• Journalistic impartiality doesn’t live at the Ryder Cup in Europe. When Molinari made the putt at 18 the press room burst out in applause.

• Luke Donald doesn’t strike fear into the heart of an opponent, pleasant more than pugnacious, a student of fine art at Northwestern. But he’s proven his mettle, with Ian Poulter saying that “he’s reserved, but inside there’s one helluva fire burning.”

• Corey Pavin is getting roasted by the pundits for his bland public persona. It may be unfair because he is who he is, but the nicknames Borey Pavin and Captain Charisma are making the rounds.

• Westwood said he’s stronger and fitter than he’s ever been and it’s translating to his golf. Caddie Billy Foster said he missed just two shots in two days.

• Don’t you wonder even a little what it feels like, to make a giant crowd explode with joy? Poulter describes it this way: “To hole an 8 foot putt and turn around and see 40,000 fans go crazy is the most incredible adrenaline rush. It’s what you live for.”

• Westwood remembers 1999: “I’ve never seen grown men cry like I did in that locker room at Brookline.” The similarities end with the sizeable lead. Monty is not Mark James, and Europe is much deeper, one through 12, than they were 11 years ago. Oh, and there is the other not so small factor of 40,000 worshippers elevating the Euro spirit.

• What are the chances that Tiger could end up 0-2 against Italians in Ryder Cup singles? Costantino Rocca took him apart in ’97. Now it’s Francesco’s turn.

• Some tasty matchups include Dustin Johnson against Martin Kaymer for PGA Championship payback; Jim Furyk against Luke Donald with more than 10 million on the line; Ross Fisher against Jeff Overton in a battle of Ryder Cup overachievers; and Miguel Angel Jimenez against Bubba Watson in a lost in translation special.
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Rose (64) peaking just ahead of the U.S. Open

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:40 pm

A former U.S. Open champion appears to be finding his form just three weeks ahead of the year's second major.

Justin Rose ascended to the top of the leaderboard Friday at the Fort Worth Invitational, with rounds of 66-64 pushing him to 10 under par for the week.

Through 36 at Colonial, Rose has marked 12 birdies against just two bogeys.

"Yeah, I did a lot of good things today," Rose said. "I think, you know, the end of my round got a little scrappy, but until the last three holes it was pretty flawless. I think I hit every fairway pretty much and obviously every green to that point. ...

"Yeah, the way I played through, I guess through my first 15 holes today, was about as good as I've played in a long time."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Rose won in back-to-back weeks last fall, stunning Dustin Johnson at the WGC-HSBC Championship and riding that victory right into another at the Turkish Airlines Open.

Now the 2013 U.S. Open winner at Merion feels himself once again rounding into form ahead of this year's Open at Shinnecock. A final-round 66 at The Players gave Rose something to focus on in his recent practice sessions with swing coach Sean Foley, as the two work to shore up the timing of Rose's transition into the downswing.

As for his decision to tee it up at Colonial for the first time since 2010, "It was more the run of form really," Rose explained. "I feel like if I didn't play here it was going to be a little spotty going into the U.S. Open. I felt like I wanted to play enough golf where I would have a good read on my game going into Shinnecock.

"So rather than the venue it was more the timing, but it's obviously it's just such a bonus to be on a great layout like this."

For whatever reason, Rose does tend to play his best golf at iconic venues, having won PGA Tour events at Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional.

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Koepka (63): Two wrist dislocations in two months

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:19 pm

Brook Koepka's journey back from a wrist injury that kept him out four months hasn't been totally smooth sailing, even if his play has suggested otherwise.

Koepka on Friday fired a 7-under 63 to move up the leaderboard into a tie for third, three shots behind leader Justin Rose through the end of the morning wave at the Fort Worth Invitational.

After a slow start Thursday saw him play his first 13 holes 3 over, Koepka is 10 under with 11 birdies in his last 23 holes at Colonial.

"It doesn't matter to me. I could care less. I'm still going to try as hard as I can," Koepka said. "I don't care how many over or how many under I am. Still going to fight through it."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Just like he's been fighting his wrist the last two months or so. Koepka reinjured his wrist the Wednesday of The Players when he was practicing on the range and had to halt mid-swing after a golf cart drove in front of him. He nonetheless managed to finish T-11.

And that's not the only issue he's had with that wrist during his return.

"We had a bone pop out of place. I didn't tell anybody, but, yeah, they popped it back in," Koepka admitted Friday. "Luckily enough we kind of popped it back into place right away so it wasn't stiff and I didn't have too, too many problems.

"Yeah. I mean, I've dislocated my wrist twice in the last two months. You know, different spots, but, I mean, it's fun. I'll be all right."

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Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Web.com Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Web.com Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

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Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

"That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

Check out the full interview below: