Tag:presidents cup
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:59 am
Edited on: November 17, 2011 2:22 am

Woods, Stricker dream team sent to bed early

ORLANDO, Fla. – Before the matches started, as a means of underscoring the comparative lateness of the hour here in the States, it was noted that if Tiger Woods’ foursomes opener at the Presidents Cup went all 18 holes, it would end sometime around 2 a.m., ET.

Not to worry.

Adam Scott and K.J. Choi sent American fans to bed far earlier than anticipated.

With the worst beating of his career in international play, the former world No. 1 and partner Steve Stricker were buried in 12 holes, suffering a 7-and-6 loss in alternate shot on Thursday at Royal Melbourne.

It matched the worst beating in the history of the Presidents Cup and marked the lone loss on day one by the American side, which jumped to a 4-2 lead.

Even the analysts on the Golf Channel called their play “terrible,” and that was being generous.

Stricker and Woods were 4-0 as a team at the last Presidents Cup matches in 2009, but given the particulars of the present, that likely wasn’t going to happen again this year. Woods hasn’t won in over two years and Stricker hadn’t played in two months because of bulging disc in his neck.

“Unfortunately, they got off to a quick start and we couldn’t keep up,” Woods said.

The Dream Team was pounded across the board. Stricker and Woods were 3 over for 12 holes, didn't win a hole and couldn’t muster a single birdie. Meanwhile, Scott and Choi were solid, and ended the match when the South Korean rolled in a 10-footer. The International team was 3 under over the same stretch.

“The other guys obviously didn’t play their best,” Scott said, charitably.

There were no vestiges of the recent verbal tiff between Woods and Scott’s caddie, Steve Williams, who worked for 13 years for Woods before being fired over the summer. The pairing, the final foursomes match off the tee during the opening day, drew a huge strong, perhaps half the crowd estimated at 25,000 for the day.

If they came to watch an ugly upset, they got one.

Not to put words in his mouth, but somethere, based on his publicly known proclivity for bluntness, Williams is probably calling this one an "arse-whipping."

“It seemed like we were always just a little bit off,” Stricker said.

Since the event began in 1994, the only other time a match went 12 holes was when South Africa’s David Frost beat American Kenny Perry by the same score in 1996.

Have they lost the magic? After a solid start as partners at the Ryder Cup last year, Stricker and Woods lost their last match, 6-and-5, which represented Woods' worst Ryder defeat ever.

Not surprisingly, Woods will be paired with Dustin Johnson in Friday's best-ball format, against Aussies Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley.

Posted on: November 16, 2011 10:30 am
Edited on: November 16, 2011 10:45 am

Cup pairings not exactly Presidential in timbre

ORLANDO, Fla. – Wake up, America.

Boy, are we missing the overnight news cycle.

While many in the States were sleeping, the pairings for the first day of play at the Presidents Cup were issued, and event organizers are hardly taking the high road when it comes to controversial matchmaking, or gleaning every ounce of juice they might generate.

Not quite two weeks after caddie Steve Williams used a racial term to describe part of former boss Tiger Woods’ anatomy, Woods and Williams’ new boss, Adam Scott, were placed in the final opening-day foursome off the tee as matches begin Thursday in Australia.

That’s hardly all that happened overnight, either, but foisted things first.

After organizers at last week’s Aussie Open declined to pair Scott and Woods, the two captains at the PrezCup wasted no time in putting the pair together, sending them out last on the first day of matches. Reaction was swift.

*The PGA Tour, which runs the event, took no disciplinary action against Williams for uttering the perceived racial slur, but isn’t above using any tension with Woods to hype the event? Nice. Hypocrisy take a 1-up lead.

*Secondly, Woods was a highly controversial selection to the U.S. team to begin with – two-time winner Keegan Bradley, the only Yank to win a major this year, was passed over -- and the tour is clearly milking Woods for all he’s worth.

*If you had forgotten that this is an exhibition, consider yourself reminded. The Aussie Open didn’t pair Woods and Scott because it would have been disruptive to the tournament proper.

*But the Presidents Cup is a soap opera, not a real tournament, and not above pandering to draw eyeballs in a time zone 16 hours away from the U.S. eastern time zone. In fact, this thing looks more like pro wrestling that professional golf. Maybe the Rock ought to be tapped as a future assistant captain, not Michael Jordan.

*Despite some misdirection from U.S. captain Fred Couples --or maybe he was just a mite confused, as usual -- Woods was indeed paired with Steve Stricker in the opening matches. The duo has been hugely successful in 2009 and 2010 as dance partners and Woods was 5-0 at the Presidents Cup two years ago in San Francisco. Yeah, we're sure you're as shocked as we are.

At 2 a.m. ET, the tour announced that the 2015 Presidents Cup would be staged at an undetermined in golf-crazed South Korea, which represents a savvy move. The Ryder Cup, the granddaddy of all international matches, isn’t held outside the U.K. or the United States, and the decision to stage the PrezCup in Asia for the first time is shrewd for a variety of reasons.

The European Tour has a better grip on Asian markets already, co-sanctioning several events with other tours, and this will insinuate the PGA Tour into more homes and markets. Not to mention that this year’s International team at Royal Melbourne has three Koreans on the roster.

In an unrelated note, yet one that will generate plenty of chatter going forward, it was announced Wednesday that Woods will skip playing the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines in January in order to play for pay at the European Tour event the same week in Abu Dhabi.

Woods has won seven tournaments at Torrey and only once has finished outside the top 10 – last year. The blowback will be at least two-fold: Woods will get ripped for blowing off his most successful venue for a payday, and speculation will heighten about where he will play on the West Coast instead, be it at Pebble Beach, Riviera or wherever.

Woods frequently played the Dubai event in the EuroTour's Desert Swing, but his contract expired this year, and he was fined for spitting on a green in the final round. Interestingly, the Abu Dhabi event is run by IMG, Woods' former managament agency.

Though he hasn't won anywhere in over two years, Woods reportedly commands a $2 million appearance fee, the top figure in the game.

Based on what just happened at the Presidents Cup, what are the odds that Woods will be "drawn" with Rory McIlroy over the first two days?

Warm up those eyebrows, people, because there's plenty of wattage in the sarcasm meter these days.

Here are the opening pairings for tonight's foursomes (alternate shot) matches:





Posted on: November 15, 2011 9:46 am

Rested Stricker back in stars and stripes

Steve Stricker is present and accounted for at the Presidents Cup.

Now, as for the actual accounting of his matches, we'll wait and see.

Stricker, 44, hasn’t played in seven weeks because of a bulging disc in his neck that prompted a withdrawal from the FedEx Cup event in Chicago in September, and a cortisone shot that followed, but said Tuesday at Royal Melbourne that rust will not be an issue.

Not to bury the guy with more pressure, but Stricker is quite likely crucial to the hopes of the Americans, who seek to avoid a repeat blowout like the last time the Yanks ventured to Royal Melbourne in 1998.

At world No. 5, Stricker is the top-ranked player on the U.S. team, and he had two victories this season. Paired with Tiger Woods at the last couple of international-team competitions, they were formidable pair in 2009 at the Presidents Cup matches in San Francisco, where Stricker made miles of putts to help Woods finish with a career-best 5-0 mark for the week.

With Woods’ game clearly in transition, and Stricker coming off a long layoff, the Dream Team looks anything but impervious. In fact, Stricker said it’s no sure thing they will be paired, though it seems unlikely that U.S. captain Fred Couples wouldn’t at least send them off in the Thursday’s opening matches as a tandem.

“No, you know what, it's not set in stone,” Stricker said Tuesday in Melbourne. “We'll start talking about it, I'm sure, today and tomorrow. I'm sure we'll go out at some point. I'm not sure which format or what yet. Yeah, there are a lot of possibilities.”

But the most important news is that Stricker says he feels healthy. He reported a loss of strength in his left arm from the nerve issue when he withdrew from the BMC Championship, and was still hurting in the early staged of the Tour Championship in Atlanta a week later. He had a cortisone shot on Monday of Tour Championship week.

“You know, after I got through the Tour Championship feeling pretty good after the cortisone shot, and I felt like I had that six-week period to kind of rest and do some rehabilitation on it and stuff like that, then I thought it would be all right,” he said. “So it's really a non-issue. It really feels a lot better.

“It's a good test these next few weeks. I go back to States, I have one week off, and I play a couple more events. I'll see how it goes in this next three- to four-week period.” 

Stricker's status was uncertain for weeks, to the point that Keegan Bradley was designated as his stand-in, in the event that Stricker needed surgery or additional rehab work for the neck issue. 



Category: Golf
Posted on: November 15, 2011 9:13 am

Live golf fans, fill Presidents Cup with coffee

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Normally, we'd not steer eyeballs to another network, but sometimes, when the game ventures to far-off locales in time zones located 16 hours away, the fan interests trump all.

This is one of those times.

With the Presidents Cup being played this week in Melbourne, which is 16 hours ahead of the American East Coast on the clock, here's a look at the live broadcast times on the Golf Channel for the week.

All times listed are Eastern and the format for the day is noted in parenthesis. The four days of play actually begins Wednesday night in the United States.

Wednesday (alternate-shot foursomes): 9 p.m. -- 2 a.m.

Thursday (best-ball fourball): 7:30 p.m. -- 2 a.m.

Friday (alternate-shot foursomes): 4 p.m. -- 2 a.m.

Saturday (singles): 6:30 p.m. -- 12:30 a.m.

With these bleary-eyed times, we might wanna fill our Presidents Cup with coffee. For those in no hurry, check local listings for Golf Channel replay times, and for specifics on the day-old, tape-delayed offerings on NBC Sports.

Category: Golf
Posted on: October 26, 2011 3:59 pm

Stricker and Woods: Still PrezCup's dynamic duo?

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The top-ranked player competing at the Presidents Cup will be arriving to play with a sizeable chunk of competitive rust to shake off.

World No. 4 Steve Stricker, who has paired with great success alongside former world No. 1 Tiger Woods at the last two international cup competitions, still plans to play in Australia next month, but hasn't entered any tournaments beforehand and doesn't expect to.

Stricker’s manager, Jon Heaton of IMG, said the recuperating 44-year-old doesn’t plan to play before the event, set for Nov. 17-20 in Melbourne. Most of the American team will play in the Australian Open or enter the European Tour event in Singapore the week before.

Stricker hadn’t played since the Tour Championship because of a problem with a bulging disc in his neck that prompted a withdrawal a week earlier from the BMW Championship, both staged in mid-September. He has been receiving therapy at his home in Wisconsin and affirmed that he intends to play in Melbourne.

In lieu of tournament action, Stricker plans to work on his game in Arizona before heading to Australia before the matches. Woods, a hugely controversial captain's pick and Stricker's supposed playing partner for the matches, has played once since missing the cut at the PGA Championship, finishing 30th, but is entered in the Aussie Open.

So, wither the Dream Team's fate? The duo was a combined 5-1-1 at the last two Presidents and Ryder matches.

Posted on: September 28, 2011 1:52 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 2:21 pm

Stricker weakness stems from herniated disk

ORLANDO. Fla. -- World No. 4 Steve Stricker’s troubles with continuing weakness in his left arm and shoulder are because of a disk issue in his neck, his examination on Tuesday confirmed.

Stricker received a cortisone shot in his spine last week and was in pain for much of the Tour Championship, before finally feeling better on the weekend. He met Tuesday with a specialist in Wisconsin for an MRI.

His agent at IMG, Jon Heaton, issued an update Wednesday.

"Steve's MRI yesterday confirmed what had been previously thought to be a herniated disk in his neck," Heaton said. "He's not experiencing any pain, but his symptoms continue to be a limitation in his arm strength.

"He's consulting a few specialists and evaluating his treatment options to remedy the condition."

Stricker, 44, is scheduled to play for the U.S. team in the Presidents Cup in six weeks. If he is unable to play, U.S. captain Fred Couples indicated that two-time 2011 winner Keegan Bradley would be added to the team as a replacement.

Stricker, who has two wins this season, is the top-ranked American in the world ranking.

Posted on: September 22, 2011 7:03 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2011 7:03 pm

Badds shows he has goods for Norman bid

ATLANTA -- Seared doesn't quite cover it.

Etched and burned somehow come up short, too.

Australian star Aaron Baddeley still recalls the first time he laid eyes on his hero, Greg Norman, as a teenager in 1994. It's emblazoned in his cornea forevermore.

Baddeley was 14 and attending a tournament in Australia when Norman walked right past, with that trademark, feral stare on his face. Norman didn't even make eye contact, but Baddeley was transfixed by the look on his face.

"He didn't even look at me, but I remember saying, wow," Baddeley said. "I remember it vividly. I can remember what he was wearing."

Not surprisingly, then, Baddeley would dearly love to be wearing Norman's uniform at the Presidents Cup matches in two months, as a member of the International team.

Norman, the International team captain, has two at-large picks to announce Tuesday and Baddeley, a native of Melbourne, where the matches will be played, is certainly on the short list. His 2-under 68 at the Tour Championship on Thursday had to help his chances.

Badds, who won earlier this year on the PGA Tour to leap into consideration for the team, said it's been a huge carrot dangling before him in the second half.

"It's a big motivator for me," said Baddeley, who is T10. "I wasn't really on the radar until I won."

Badds attended the Presidents Cup when it was staged at Royal Melbourne in 1998, attending on four of the five days of play and practice. he can recall Phil Mickelson hitting bunker shots and several other mental snapshots of the week, which ended with the Internationals thumping the Yanks handily.

A year later, Baddeley won the Aussie Open as an amateur.

Baddeley, one of the nicest guys in the game, recalled the day he first met Norman at age 16 at Royal Adelaide.

"I was still nervous an hour after I met him," Baddeley laughed, making a motion to show how hard his heart was pumping.

Posted on: August 26, 2011 4:14 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2011 4:18 pm

Lefty: No issue with Tiger, still wants Bradley

EDISON, N.J. -- Phil Mickelson throttled back his Presidents Cup lobbying just a tad on Friday.

Two days after he said that rookie Keegan Bradley should be the first player selected with one of the two captain's picks for the cup matches in Australia this fall, Mickelson said he couldn't find fault with Fred Couples' surprisingly early decision to name Tiger Woods to the team.

Couples, the U.S. captain, said Thursday that he has already told Woods he's on the 12-man team, though the two at-large picks were not formally due to be announced for another month.

Bradley won the PGA Championship two weeks ago and has two victories in his first PGA Tour season. Points are accrued over two seasons and Bradley stands 18th on the U.S. list. Only the top 10 are assured berths.

"I still feel the same way and nothing has changed," Mickelson said, reacting to Couples' selection of Woods. "I don't have a problem with Tiger being picked.

"But I think that Keegan has had a great year and has only been able to get points for this season, and not last season. I think he deserves it for his play already."

It looks increasingly like Bradley might need the at-large pick. He shot 74 in the second round and missed the cut at The Barclays on Friday, so he won't be moving up the U.S. points list this week for sure.

On Wednesday, Mickelson offered some impromptu support for the rookie, a frequent playing partner in practice rounds: "This is his first year. Meaning he was not allowed to make Presidents Cup points [in 2010] and he's had arguably the best year for any U.S. player. I think he needs to be a pick if he doesn't get on it on his own."

Later that day, Lefty said he believed Bradley deserved to be named as the first pick. Obviously, with Couples' highly contentious decision to pick Woods four weeks early, that didn't happen.

As for why Couples didn't use the coming month to vet all of the players in the at-large pool before making a decision, Mickelson didn't venture a guess.

"I think you could argue either way," he said of Couples' move, "but there are a lot of good things that come from Tiger being on the team."

Woods is No. 28 on the U.S. points list.

Rising American player Gary Woodland, considered an at-large candidate while enjoying a breakout season, stands at No. 25 in points and said he had no issues with Woods getting the nod, either. In fact, Thursday's news was hardly a surprise based on what Couples told prospective team members three months ago.

Apparently, Couples has been locked in on Woods for several weeks, his freefall down the world ranking notwithstanding.

"He told us that [Woods was a likely pick] when he met with us back at the Memorial," Woodland said of Couples' intentions. "I've played sports long enough to know that you have to makes these teams outright or you put your fate in the hands of other people."

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