Sunday, November 19, 2017

Morning sweep powers U.S. to Day 1 Ryder Cup lead


CHASKA, Minn. — The Americans were the morning people Friday, Day 1 of the Ryder Cup.

There were fist bumps and birdies by the bunch, punctuated by a thunderous chant of "Sweep! Sweep! Sweep!" from the gallery at the 16th green after the United States won all four alternate-shot matches to take a 4-0 lead.

It was a quick, surprising reward after a labor-intensive two years for the Americans, captain Davis Love and team leader Phil Mickelson, who have been part of an extensive re-examination of how to change their nation's Ryder Cup fortunes.

But it will take more than one all-conquering morning at Hazeltine National Golf Club to finish off the Europeans. In golf's premier team event, they have won three straight and eight of the past 10. And they won Friday afternoon, roaring back to take three of four better-ball matches.

By the time the final putt had been conceded, the Americans still had the lead, 5-3, but they no longer had the momentum.

Rory McIlroy, the hottest European player coming into the event after winning the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup, emphasized that point with a perfectly weighted 15-foot eagle putt on 16 that finished off a 3-and-2 victory with Ryder Cup rookie Thomas Pieters over Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

After McIlroy's putt dropped into the hole, he turned and twice bowed theatrically in the direction of the American crowd.

"It's pretty hostile out there, I must say," McIlroy said. "You don't want to let that get to you, but you just want to let them know when you hole a putt how much it means to you.

"I thought about that celebration before I hit the putt."

The only U.S. win in four-ball came from Brandt Snedeker and former Seminole Brooks Koepka, who routed Martin Kaymer and Danny Willett 5 and 4.

Mickelson starts with win: Phil Mickelson came to Minnesota at the center of the Ryder Cup storm. He was the most vocal U.S. player lobbying for change. His seat got hotter when he criticized Hal Sutton for the way he paired Mickelson with Tiger Woods as captain in 2004. So at the first tee Friday morning, he knew he had to deliver.

"I could have copped out and asked to sit," he said. "That would have been a total weak move, and I wanted to get out there. Put me out there. I enjoy that pressure."

After a shaky start, Mickelson found his form on the back nine and partnered with Rickie Fowler for a 1-up victory over McIlroy and Andy Sullivan.

"Certainly I played tight. This guy loosened me up," Mickelson said, nodding toward Fowler, who won his first Ryder Cup match. "That's why I wanted him as my partner. He knows what to say and when to say it. He got some of my best golf out there in the end."

Mickelson didn't play in the afternoon matches.

Palmer's presence felt: Arnold Palmer's presence was felt everywhere five days after his death. His photograph greeted the U.S. players in the team room. His bag from the 1975 event, which the Americans won by 10 points with him as captain, greeted all the golfers on the first tee. Fans wore bipartisan buttons that read, "I am a member of Arnie's Army." Palmer died Sunday of heart problems at 87.


Rookie Sung Hyun Park continues to roll at LPGA’s Tour Championship

NAPLES — Golf felt so easy to Sung Hyun Park that only when she took out her card to catch up on her scores did she realize she had closed out the front nine with five straight birdies Friday at the Tour Championship. Park kept right on attacking. Th...
Published: 11/17/17
Kevin Sutherland wins Charles Schwab Cup Championship, takes Champions season title

Kevin Sutherland wins Charles Schwab Cup Championship, takes Champions season title

PHOENIX — Kevin Sutherland finally broke through on the Champions Tour, taking the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship — and topping the yearlong competition, too. Sutherland closed with 5-under 66 Sunday for a one-stroke victory over Vijay...
Published: 11/12/17

Paul Goydos leads at Champions Tour’s season finale

PHOENIX — Defending champion Paul Goydos took a one-stroke lead Saturday in the Champions Tour’s season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Goydos, a first-round co-leader, shot 5-under 66 to reach 12-under 130 at Phoenix Country Club. "This golf...
Published: 11/11/17

Trio share first-round lead at Champions Tour’s Charles Schwab Cup

PHOENIX — Defending champion Paul Goydos and major winners Vijay Singh and Lee Janzen shot 7-under 64 Friday to share the first-round lead in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Bernhard Langer, trying to sweep the Champions Tour’s three playoff eve...
Published: 11/10/17

Patrick Cantlay wins Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in playoff

LAS VEGAS — Patrick Cantlay won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on Sunday in a playoff for the first victory in a PGA Tour career mostly derailed by a severe back injury. The former UCLA star, 25, hit from behind a tree and got up-and-down f...
Published: 11/05/17
J.J. Spaun, Beau Hossler tied for lead at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

J.J. Spaun, Beau Hossler tied for lead at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

LAS VEGAS — Beau Hossler and J.J. Spaun shared the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open lead Saturday after another breezy day at TPC Summerlin. Hossler birdied the par-4 15th and 18th holes for his bogey-free 5-under 66, the best round of the day in...
Published: 11/04/17

J.J. Spaun takes second-round lead at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

LAS VEGAS — J.J. Spaun shot 6-under 65 on Friday at breezy TPC Summerlin to take the lead in the suspended second round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Spaun rebounded from bogey on the par-4 third with birdies on the par-4 fourth and pa...
Updated one month ago

Kim Meen-Whee leads Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

LAS VEGAS — Kim Meen-Whee birdied two of his final three holes for 6-under 65 and a one-stroke clubhouse lead Friday in the PGA Tour’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. The 25-year-old South Korean birdied all three par-5 holes at TPC Summerlin, ...
Updated one month ago
Justin Rose overcomes eight-shot deficit to win HSBC Champions

Justin Rose overcomes eight-shot deficit to win HSBC Champions

SHANGHAI — Justin Rose posed with the trophy from the balcony high above the 18th green at Sheshan International, a moment that didn’t seem possible. He started the final round eight shots behind Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world. "The be...
Updated one month ago

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … oh, just DJ again

SHANGHAI — As part of a promotional stunt for the HSBC Champions this week, Dustin Johnson was among three players wearing superhero capes on a hotel roof, suspended by ropes a few feet in the air against a backdrop of downtown Shanghai."I should hav...
Updated one month ago