Tiger Dissects Lopsided US Ryder Cup Loss

By Sports NetworkSeptember 25, 2006, 4:00 pm
36th Ryder Cup MatchesTiger Woods believes curing America's Ryder Cup ills requires an infusion of good young players, getting off to better starts in the matches, a true home-course advantage -- and making timely putts.
After he and his teammates joined the triumphant European players in their celebration party the previous evening, Woods dissected the latest lopsided loss by the Americans.
'They have a younger crop of players that are playing well. When our youngest player is 30 years old, that's not a positive thing,' the 30-year-old Woods said Monday in a conference call from London. 'They have Luke (Donald) and Sergio (Garcia), Paul Casey, all in their 20s. We don't have anybody in their 20s on the team.
'And all three guys I just mentioned have won numerous tournaments around the world; most of our guys in our 20s haven't won tournaments yet.'
Former British Open champion Ben Curtis, 29, is the only American player currently under 30 to have won a tournament on the PGA Tour.
'Hopefully we'll have a new crop of guys that will come up from college and start producing, and the guys right now in their 20s will start winning tournaments and get on these teams,' Woods said. 'Dealing with pressure-packed situations in regular tour events, that's one of the reasons why I think they (the young Europeans) are able to win tournaments around the world as well.'
The Europeans kept the Cup with an 18 1/2 -9 1/2 victory, identical to their one-sided margin in 2004.
The Americans got off to a bad start, and it didn't get any better. At the end, the Europeans had won 8 1/2 points from the 12 singles matches to become the first team to win all five sessions since that format began in 1979.
'We were in two record Ryder Cups, and unfortunately, we were on the losing side,' said Woods, the world's No. 1 player who went 3-2-0 in his matches. 'I've always felt that it's important to get off to quick starts in matches.
'We were down one or two in the first six or seven holes and always had to fight to get up. When you see that blue on the board and you're European, it sends a positive feeling through the entire team. Their guys were up in every match, so we were never able to get that feeling.'
Then there was the putting.
'We hit about the same, but they holed so many more putts,' Woods said. 'Time and again we were in position to make momentum-building putts and we didn't. If you can't change momentum, it fuels the other side.
'Those greens weren't really that hard to learn. They actually were very simple. They just outputted us. I had numerous opportunities to make putts and I didn't. Unfortunately, the rest of the team didn't as well.'
He noted that when the matches are in Europe, they are generally held on courses the players there play each year, and that when the United States hosts the event, it's often on a course the Americans aren't familiar with.
'We have chosen venues that are fantastic venues, difficult golf courses, but courses we don't play,' Woods said.
The 2008 Ryder Cup will be at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky., and although Woods won the PGA title there in 2000, he said the site essentially will be neutral because it will have been eight years 'since any of us have seen the golf course.'
After Sunday's final matches, the players spent some time together that evening.
'Both teams hung out with each other last night, which is the way the spirit of the Ryder Cup is supposed to be,' Woods said. 'We were all having a great time and singing and dancing, so I think it was a true celebration of golf.
'Unfortunately we got beat pretty bad.'
Eleven players from the Ryder Cup, including Ireland's Darren Clarke, will join Woods in December's Target World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Woods stages the annual event, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation for youth.
Clarke, whose wife died of breast cancer six weeks ago, inspired his European teammates simply by playing, and he won all three of his matches.
'From what he's had to endure, his family, his immediate family and his kids, we can all sympathize for him,' Woods said. 'I personally invited him. I just wanted him to understand that he always has a home with us.
'He's always been a wonderful supporter of our event. It's our turn to reach out a helping hand (in) any way possible.'
Related Links:
  • Ryder Cup Scoring
  • Full Coverage - 36th Ryder Cup Matches
  • Getty Images

    Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

    ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

    The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

    Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

    ''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

    The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.

    Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

    Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

    Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

    ''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

    Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

    Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

    First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.

    Getty Images

    Henley will try to put heat on Casey in final round

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:55 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – While it will be a tall task for anyone to catch Paul Casey at the Travelers Championship, the man who will start the round most within reach of the Englishman is Russell Henley.

    Henley was in the penultimate group at TPC River Highlands on Saturday, but he’ll now anchor things during the final round as he looks to overcome a four-shot deficit behind Casey. After a 3-under 67, Henley sits at 12 under through 54 holes and one shot clear of the three players tied for third.

    Henley closed his third round with a run of five straight pars, then became the beneficiary of a pair of late bogeys from Brian Harman that left Henley alone in second place.

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “Could have made a couple more putts, but to end with two up-and-downs like that was nice,” Henley said. “I felt a little bit weird over the shots coming in, put me in some bad spots. But it was nice to have the short game to back me up.”

    Henley has won three times on Tour, most recently at the 2017 Houston Open, and he cracked the top 25 at both the Masters and U.S. Open. But with Casey riding a wave of confidence and coming off an 8-under 62 that marked the best round of the week, he knows he’ll have his work cut out for him in order to nab trophy No. 4.

    “I think I can shoot a low number on this course. You’ve got to make the putts,” Henley said. “I’m definitely hitting it well enough, and if I can get a couple putts to fall, that would be good. But I can’t control what he’s doing. I can just try to keep playing solid.”

    Getty Images

    Back from back injury, Casey eyeing another win

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:36 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Given his four-shot cushion at the Travelers Championship and his recent victory at the Valspar Championship, it’s easy to forget that Paul Casey hit the disabled list in between.

    Casey had to withdraw from The Players Championship because of a bad back, becoming the only player in the top 50 in the world rankings to miss the PGA Tour’s flagship event. He flew back to England to get treatment, and Casey admitted that his T-20 finish at last month’s BMW PGA Championship came while he was still on the mend.

    “I wasn’t 100 percent fit with the back injury, which was L-4, L-5, S-1 (vertebrae) all out of place,” Casey said. “Big inflammation, nerve pain down the leg and up the back. I didn’t know what was going on.”

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Thanks in large part to a combination of MRIs, back adjustments and anti-inflammatories, Casey finally turned the corner. His T-16 finish at last week’s U.S. Open was the first event for which he felt fully healthy since before the Players, and he’s on the cusp of a second title since March after successfully battling through the injury.

    “We thought we were fixing it, but we weren’t. We were kind of hitting the effects rather than the cause,” Casey said. “Eventually we figured out the cause, which was structural.”

    Casey started the third round at TPC River Highlands two shots off the lead, but he’s now four clear of Russell Henley after firing an 8-under 62 that marked the low round of the week.

    Getty Images

    Bubba thinks he'll need a Sunday 60 to scare Casey

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:15 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Perhaps moreso than at most PGA Tour venues, a low score is never really out of reach at TPC River Highlands. Positioned as a welcome change of pace after the U.S. Open, the Travelers Championship offers a lush layout that often pushes the balance much closer to reward than risk.

    This is where Jim Furyk shot a 58 on the par-70 layout two years ago – and he didn’t even win that week. So even though Paul Casey enters the final round with a commanding four-shot lead, there’s still plenty of hope for the chase pack that something special could be in store.

    Count Bubba Watson among the group who still believe the title is up for grabs – even if it might require a Herculean effort, even by his standards.

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Watson has won the Travelers twice, including in a 2015 playoff over Casey. But starting the final round in a large tie for sixth at 10 under, six shots behind Casey, he estimates that he’ll need to flirt with golf’s magic number to give the Englishman something to worry about.

    “My 7 under yesterday, I need to do better than that. I’m going to have to get to like 10 [under],” Watson said. “The only beauty is, getting out in front, you have a chance to put a number up and maybe scare them. But to scare them, you’re going to have to shoot 10 under at worst, where I’m at anyway.”

    Watson started the third round three shots off the lead, and he made an early move with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 en route to an outward 32. The southpaw couldn’t sustain that momentum, as bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 turned a potential 65 into a relatively disappointing 67.

    “Bad decision on the par-3, and then a very tough tee shot for me on 17, and it just creeped into the bunker,” Watson said. “Just, that’s golf. You have mistakes every once in a while.”