International Team Takes Early Lead - COPIED - COPIED

By Sports NetworkSeptember 23, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PresidentGAINESVILLE, Va. -- The International side took a 3 1/2 - 2 1/2 lead after Thursday's six foursomes matches at The Presidents Cup at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club.
 
The International side made a big statement in the opening match as two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen and Adam Scott dispatched world No. 1 Tiger Woods and Fred Couples, 4 and 3.
 
David Toms, Mike Weir and Trevor Immelman
Mike Weir and Trevor Immelman gave David Toms and Stewart Cink little to smile about.
The second match was halved between Americans Jim Furyk and Fred Funk and Internationals Vijay Singh and Mark Hensby.
 
Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco hung on for a full point for the U.S. side when they beat Nick O'Hern and Tim Clark, 1-up.
 
The fourth contest easily went to the American team of Justin Leonard and Scott Verplank. They trounced Peter Lonard and Stuart Appleby, 4 and 2.
 
Reigning U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell and Angel Cabrera took out one of the best American teams, Davis Love III and Kenny Perry. The International captured the match, 2 and 1.
 
Thursday's final match was the most lopsided. The International team of Trevor Immelman, a surprising captain's pick by Gary Player, and Mike Weir, having one of his worst seasons, destroyed Stewart Cink and David Toms, 6 and 5.
 
'I think we're a little disappointed,' admitted American captain Jack Nicklaus. 'Tomorrow is another day. We're basically a half-point behind.'
 
Woods and Couples never got on track Thursday, specifically Couples, who hit only one fairway.
 
The International side won the fourth, then Couples missed a 3-footer at the sixth to drop the Americans 2-down. Scott rolled in a 7-footer for birdie at the seventh to go 3-up, but the Americans answered with a win at the ninth to make the turn 2-down.
 
Couples drained a 25-footer for birdie at the par-5 10th, but Goosen ran in a 15-footer on top of his to halve the hole. The Internationals won the 12th, then the U.S. pair was in trouble at 14.
 
Goosen, as he did all afternoon, lagged a long birdie try to tap-in range. Woods missed the green with his approach, then Couples duffed his chip. Woods had to hole his chip to halve the hole and extend the match, but his chip hit the back of the cup, but rimmed out.
 
'Some of the shortcomings for me come out in alternate-shot,' admitted Couples. 'Today I was out-classed by three guys and I couldn't help Tiger at all.'
 
The first match to make it the distance was the second match. Furyk injured his rib cage on the second hole, but recovered enough to help the U.S. take a 1-up lead at the turn.
 
The lead changed five times in the next five holes, but when Hensby stroked home a 3-footer for par, the International side led 1-up through 16.
 
Hensby went from hero to goat quickly as he lost his ball off the tee at 17. The Americans won with a routine par to square the match, then it was off to the closing hole.
 
At the 18th, Singh drove right in the trees, but Hensby failed to reach the green with the team's second. Funk barely got over a bunker with his second, but ended up with a great shot that stopped 20 feet from the hole.
 
Singh chipped to 3 feet, and Furyk barely missed his birdie try. The Americans conceded the Internationals very missable putt to give the sides a half.
 
The next match also went the distance, as Mickelson and DiMarco squandered a 2-up lead with seven holes to play. O'Hern hit a spectacular second shot to the par-5 12th to set up a short eagle putt by Clark. They squared the match one hole later.
 
The U.S. won the 14th to briefly go 1-up, but the Internationals won the next hole to draw even. Mickelson missed an 8-footer for birdie that would have given them a 1-up lead, but they got a reprieve when O'Hern's 3-footer for par did not fall.
 
DiMarco had a good look at birdie at 17 that would have closed the match, but both pairs left with pars. At 18, both teams had birdie putts from around 20 feet and neither converted, giving the U.S. their 1-up win.
 
'Chris and I were playing very well,' said Mickelson. 'We hit two bad shots on the back side that gave them a couple of holes. We were able to gut it out down the stretch.'
 
The fourth match went the Americans' way once they took the fourth hole. The sides traded wins at six and seven and when Appleby drove in a hazard at eight, the Internationals lost the hole and fell 2-down.
 
The Americans won No. 11 to move 3-up. The sides halved the next four holes and the Americans had two putts from 20 feet to win the match on 16. Verplank, the only rookie for Nicklaus' squad, rolled in the birdie putt to end the contest.
 
'We weren't quite in rhythm, but near the middle of the round, then at the turn, we started stringing together good shots and good putts,' said Verplank. 'I knew we were going to be a good team and today, we were.'
 
Love and Perry drew even when Perry sank a 12-foot birdie putt at the 11th. The two sides remained even until Campbell and Cabrera won the 14th. Perry missed an 8-foot par putt at the 16th and the U.S. were 2-down with two to play.
 
Perry atoned for the miscue at 16 with a 25-foot birdie putt at the 17th. Unfortunately for the U.S., Campbell ran home a 15-footer to halve the hole and win the match, 2 & 1.
 
'I think we gelled very well together as a team,' said Campbell. 'On the back nine, we holed a few crucial par putts, then I managed to finish off on 17.'
 
The anchor match was never close as Weir sank a 7-foot birdie putt on the first. The Internationals kept it going with wins at four, five, nine, 10 and 12 to make short work of the American team.
 
On Friday, there will be six four-ball matches with five foursomes and five four-balls on Saturday. All 12 players are in on Sunday for the singles matches.
 
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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.


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    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


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    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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    Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

    “They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”


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    Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

    “The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”