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Five Facts About the Ryder Cup

Chaska (United States) (AFP) – Five facts about the Ryder Cup ahead of the 41st edition of the biennial men’s golf matches between Europe and the United States from September 30-October 2 at Hazeltine:

1. Holders Europe have won three Ryder Cups in a row, six of the past seven, eight of the past 10 and 10 of the past 15 events. The United States owns a 25-13 with two drawn edge in the overall rivalry. For the first 50 years of competition, from 1927-1977, it was the Americans against Britain and Ireland and the USA went 18-3 with one drawn in that span.

2. English businessman Samuel Ryder donated the gold trophy for the event that bears his name. It cost 300 pounds and was made by English silversmiths Mappin and Webb for the 1927 inaugural matches. Ryder himself presented the trophy to Britain’s George Duncan after the home side’s 1929 victory.

3. Europe made the greatest last-day comeback in Cup history to retain the trophy in 2012 at Medinah, winning 8 1/2 of 12 possible points fromthe concluding session of singles matches. It was Germany’s Martin Kaymer who sank the putt that ensured Europe kept the Cup, completing the “Miracle at Medinah.”

4. The United States won two of the tensest Ryder Cups. The 1991 “War on the Shore” at Kiawah Island came down to the United States leading by one point with Hale Irwin playing Germany’s Bernhard Langer in the last singles match. Irwin and Langer were all square entering the 18th hole, which Langer needed to win to capture the singles match and deadlock the team score so Europe could keep the trophy. Langer missed a six-foot par putt and the Americans took the Cup. In the 1999 “Battle of Brookline,” Europe led 10-6 entering the singles but US players rallied for a 14 1/2-13 1/2 triumph. American Justin Leonard holed out a 45-foot birdie putt at the 17th to touch off a wild US celebration even though Spain’s Jose Maria Olazabal had a 22-foot birdie put to halve the hole and extend the drama. Olazabal missed and the Americans finally had reason to celebrate.

5. Some future venues for the Ryder Cup have already been established. The 2018 edition will be played at Le Golf National in France. The 43rd edition will be played in 2020 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. Italy’s Marco Simone Golf and Country Club hosts the 2024 Ryder Cup and the 2024 edition of the event will be played at Bethpage Black near New York.

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Five Facts About the Ryder Cup

Task force revamps US Ryder Cup team after 2014 flop

Chaska (United States) (AFP) – A US Ryder Cup task force formed only days after a humbling 2014 defeat at Gleneagles has revamped the Americans’ mindset and attitude entering this year’s showdown against Europe.

And part of how they did it is by stealing some tricks from their trans-Atlantic rivals.

Echoes of Phil Mickelson’s 2014 post-Cup comments detailing a lack of player input on captain Tom Watson‘s team and how that differed from a 2008 US home triumph will be felt at the 41st biennial golf matches September 30-October 2 at Hazeltine.

“Definitely a fresh, positive attitude from the start of 2015 building for the future,” 2016 US captain Davis Love said. “We’re going to learn from our mistakes in the past and build on it.”

Love, who also guided the 2012 US squad that fell victim to the greatest last-day comeback in Cup history, was named to an 11-person US Ryder Cup task force barely two weeks after the third US loss in a row and eighth in the past 10 Ryder Cups.

Love and fellow captains Tom Lehman and Ray Floyd were joined by three PGA of America officials and players Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler, Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods.

“Players hadn’t had any involvement or input into the process and that has changed,” Mickelson said. “Davis has been the leader of that change.

“There’s a lot more input from players and assistant captains and building a platform for years to come. We’ll try to keep some continuity from year to year, something we really haven’t had in the 20 years I’ve played.”

Love was named captain. Woods, Furyk and Stricker are assistants. Fowler and Mickelson are playing. The qualifying formula was tweaked and the timing of captain’s picks was changed.

– Plan ahead, ease pressure –

More than that, planning and strategy will decide every detail well in advance for foursomes and four-ball pairings to ease worry and better prepare.

“The whole goal is to give the players an opportunity to succeed as opposed to giving them challenges to overcome,” Mickelson said. “The way you do that is eliminate the variables, the obstacles that cause pressure — who are you going to play with, what matches are you going to play, what holes do you tee off on, what ball are you going to play.

“You cannot decide that 30 minutes before tee time. You’ve got to decide that 30 days before the tee time so that you know how to prepare properly heading in. You can prepare with your partner, be ready and eliminate a lot of the uncertainty which ultimately causes pressure.”

Stealing a page from Europe, the idea is to keep the program going from Cup to Cup and build teamwork.

“When you look at the European team, many of them play the best golf of their entire career the weeks of the Ryder Cup,” Mickelson said.

“There’s a lot to be said for having a camaraderie and support system, working together, having a game plan, building each other up, pulling each other from lows and helping each other reach new highs.

“That’s not a fluke. When you have a real team, a partnership, you lift each other up to new highs and we haven’t had that type of continuity, support system, game plan, structure, from year to year.

“So what we’ll ultimately look at is: ‘Are we playing our best golf the week of the Ryder Cup?’ That’s what we have to do to be successful, to win.”

– ‘Still have to play great’ –

Mickelson warns that all the planning means nothing if US players don’t execute.

“We still have to play great golf to win,” he said. “The difference is we’re being put in a position to succeed.”

Continuity is key, Love said.

“We have a plan that’s going to put us in the best position to win Ryder Cups, not only this year, but beyond,” Love said. “We need to not be trying a new system every year.”

Fowler, 27, is winless in eight Cup matches but more excited about this year’s event than any before.

“Being a part of that task force and being with the guys in meetings and getting to see the excitement level and how much the Ryder Cup means to players like Tiger and Phil and Davis, it was special,” Fowler said. “This is a team we want to be a part of, having Davis lead us.”

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Task force revamps US Ryder Cup team after 2014 flop

Love hit for saying U.S. Ryder side ‘best golf team maybe ever’

(Reuters) – Victorious 2014 European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley wonders whether Davis Love’s comment that the current United States side “is the best golf team maybe ever assembled” might come back to haunt the U.S. captain.

Love, speaking ahead of next week’s event against Europe at Hazeltine in Minnesota, made the comments during an interview on the FairwaysOfLife radio show on Friday.

“We’re a great golf team,” Love said. “This is the best golf team maybe ever assembled. If we just go play our game … ignore the noise, work hard, do your job, everything else will take care of itself.”

Never mind that Love’s comments are not supported by facts, McGinley thinks they hardly help the American cause as the hosts seek to avoid losing for the ninth time in the past 11 meetings.

“It’s going to have a big galvanising affect on the European team,” Irishman McGinley said on Golf Channel.

“I find it strange positioning. There’s always a jockeying going on as to who’s favourite and who’s the underdog. Davis has taken that off the table now.

“It puts a lot of pressure and does corner his team to a large extent but maybe that’s his plan … But if it doesn’t work out, there’ll be a lot of questions about that comment.”

American Brandel Chamblee, a former PGA Tour winner, had an even stronger reaction.

“I can’t imagine how this one is going to work out,” Golf Channel commentator Chamblee said.

“This looks like a colossal mistake. There have been so many mistakes over the years of American arrogance that have backfired and this is another one of them.”

Chamblee pointed out that the 2016 U.S. team paled beside the 1981 side that won a combined 49 major championships.

That team, a veritable who’s who of golf, included Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Raymond Floyd, Hale Irwin, Larry Nelson and Johnny Miller.

The current team has won a combined 11 majors, headed by Phil Mickelson with five.

“Statistically, it doesn’t add up,” McGinley said of Love’s comment. “And also, the form of the players is not particularly good, outside of Dustin (Johnson). Form or world ranking doesn’t suggest this is the best team ever assembled.

“I know what Davis is trying to do. He’s trying to show confidence in his team, and there’s no doubt that’s an important facet … but there’s ways of saying it, and respecting your opponent is very important.”

Love’s “best ever” comment came after he spoke of how past U.S. teams had tensed up after falling behind.

“We want to win so badly that when we have a bad session, or we lose the momentum, we panic a little bit and start playing not to lose rather than playing to win,” he said.

“You need to stand up there, smash it down the middle and take off walking, and letting the other team know we are going to dominate you.”

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine)

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Love hit for saying U.S. Ryder side ‘best golf team maybe ever’

Golf-Love hit for saying US Ryder side ‘best golf team maybe ever’

Sept 24 (Reuters) – Victorious 2014 European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley wonders whether Davis Love’s comment that the current United States side “is the best golf team maybe ever assembled” might come back to haunt the U.S. captain.

Love, speaking ahead of next week’s event against Europe at Hazeltine in Minnesota, made the comments during an interview on the FairwaysOfLife radio show on Friday.

“We’re a great golf team,” Love said. “This is the best golf team maybe ever assembled. If we just go play our game  ignore the noise, work hard, do your job, everything else will take care of itself.”

Never mind that Love’s comments are not supported by facts, McGinley thinks they hardly help the American cause as the hosts seek to avoid losing for the ninth time in the past 11 meetings.

“It’s going to have a big galvanising affect on the European team,” Irishman McGinley said on Golf Channel.

“I find it strange positioning. There’s always a jockeying going on as to who’s favourite and who’s the underdog. Davis has taken that off the table now.

“It puts a lot of pressure and does corner his team to a large extent but maybe that’s his plan … But if it doesn’t work out, there’ll be a lot of questions about that comment.”

American Brandel Chamblee, a former PGA Tour winner, had an even stronger reaction.

“I can’t imagine how this one is going to work out,” Golf Channel commentator Chamblee said.

“This looks like a colossal mistake. There have been so many mistakes over the years of American arrogance that have backfired and this is another one of them.”

Chamblee pointed out that the 2016 U.S. team paled beside the 1981 side that won a combined 49 major championships.

That team, a veritable who’s who of golf, included Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Raymond Floyd, Hale Irwin, Larry Nelson and Johnny Miller.

The current team has won a combined 11 majors, headed by Phil Mickelson with five.

“Statistically, it doesn’t add up,” McGinley said of Love’s comment. “And also, the form of the players is not particularly good, outside of Dustin (Johnson). Form or world ranking doesn’t suggest this is the best team ever assembled.

“I know what Davis is trying to do. He’s trying to show confidence in his team, and there’s no doubt that’s an important facet … but there’s ways of saying it, and respecting your opponent is very important.”

Love’s “best ever” comment came after he spoke of how past U.S. teams had tensed up after falling behind.

“We want to win so badly that when we have a bad session, or we lose the momentum, we panic a little bit and start playing not to lose rather than playing to win,” he said.

“You need to stand up there, smash it down the middle and take off walking, and letting the other team know we are going to dominate you.” (Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine)

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Golf-Love hit for saying US Ryder side ‘best golf team maybe ever’

Golf: Johnson opens door to rivals at Tour Championship

(Reuters) – Thoughts of a Dustin Johnson runaway at the Tour Championship were dispelled when he faltered late to fall back into a tie for the third-round lead with fellow American Kevin Chappell in Atlanta on Saturday.

Johnson, the hottest player in the game coming off a victory, squandered a chance to take a stranglehold on the tournament when he double-bogeyed the par-four 17th, compounding a poor drive by clipping a pine tree with his second shot.

He was on the wrong end of a three-shot swing as Chappell birdied the same hole from 10 feet.

U.S. Open champion Johnson steadied the ship to birdie the par-five 18th for a one-under-par 69, his eighth consecutive round in the 60s but one that left him ruing what might have been.

“This course is very difficult off the tee and I missed a couple of drives on the back nine and made a couple of bogeys and a bad double bogey there on 17,” he said before accentuating the positives.

“I’m happy with my position. I felt like I played well today. A couple of loose drives and it’s easy to make bogeys around here … so if I make a mistake I don’t let it bother me.”

Chappell fired 68 to join Johnson at eight-under 202.

Johnson’s stumble let a bunch of players back into the hunt, with Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy (66) and American Ryan Moore (66) two shots behind, and Japanese Hideki Matsuyama (68) three back despite a triple-bogey at the 14th.

Johnson, top seed in the FedExCup standings, will clinch the season-long points race and its $10 million bonus if he wins the tournament on Sunday.

But Chappell, 15th in the standings, is unlikely to claim the FedExCup top prize even if he wins the tournament. He is a three-time runner-up on the PGA Tour this year.

“I was so proud of myself the way I hung in there (and) I was able to turn it around (with a chip-in birdie at the 12th),” said Chappell, who has just one bogey in 54 holes.

McIlroy, sixth in the points list, gave himself a crack at the $10 million with three birdies in the last six holes.

“I knew DJ (Johnson) was a few shots ahead of me and if there’s anyone I’m looking at this week, he’s the guy,” said the former world number one.

“I’m going to need something similar if not better tomorrow. I shot a good one and that’s all I could do today.”

South African Charl Schwartzel posted consecutive eagles, the second from 140 yards out at the par-four seventh, in carding 66 to vault within five shots of the lead.

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine)

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Golf: Johnson opens door to rivals at Tour Championship

Johnson, Chappell share Tour Championship lead

Washington (AFP) – Dustin Johnson‘s path to the biggest payday in golf got more complicated on Saturday as a third-round 69 left him tied for the lead with Kevin Chappell at the USPGA Tour Championship.

The second-ranked American had led by four shots after his third straight birdie at the sixth hole at East Lake in Atlanta, Georgia.

But he fell a stroke behind Chappell with a double-bogey at the 17th before regaining a share of the lead with a birdie at the par-five finishing hole.

Chappell, meanwhile, was a model of consistency, and patience, with two birdies in his two-under 68 that left him level with Johnson eight-under par 202.

They were two strokes in front of Northern Ireland star Rory McIlroy and American Ryan Moore, who both carded four-under par 66 for 204.

Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama was alone on 205 after a 68. Jason Dufner was a further stroke back, while South African Charl Schwartzel, who had back-to-back eagles in his 66 was tied with England’s Paul Casey on 207.

Johnson, who started the day with a one-stroke edge over Chappell, wasted no time in stretching his lead.

He slowed with a bogey at the seventh, and a birdie at 12 was followed by back-to-back bogeys at 13 and 14.

Johnson rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt at the par-three 15th, but his double bogey at 17, where he was twice in the rough and in a bunker, saw Chappell take the lead with a 10-foot birdie putt at the same hole.

“I thought I played pretty well, just a couple of loose drives on the back side,” Johnson said. “Other than that, I thought the round was pretty solid.

“I missed a few good opportunities for birdie on 8, 9 and 2, but otherwise, I felt like I hit good putts,” he said. “They just didn’t go in.”

Chappell had just two birdies all day. He’d ground out 11 straight pars before chipping in for birdie at the 12th — a result that brought an emotional fist-pump from the American seeking his first US tour title.

“Probably the most difficult round I played this week in terms of ball control and positions that I was in,” Chappell said.

“But I fought real hard and the chip-in at 12 kind of got me fired up a little bit. I think that was the glue that kind of kept the round together.”

Johnson, in contrast, is the hottest player on the tour right now, with three wins since June including his breakthrough major title at the US Open.

– Playoff prize on line –

Johnson leads the FedExCup playoff standings, with a $10 million bonus on offer to the playoff points winner on Sunday.

The prize is Johnson’s if he wins or finishes alone in second, but he’s not the only one in contention.

McIlroy still has a shot, if he can win his first Tour Championship crown and Johnson falters.

“First and foremost I need to go out tomorrow and try to win the golf tournament,” McIlroy said.

Moore, also in the FedExCup hunt, said it would be important to focus on golf and put the possible playoff scenarios out of his mind.

“Of all the days to just kind of focus and take it one shot at a time and play a round of golf, tomorrow’s the day,” he said. “It’s going to be hard to do with everything that’s on the line right now, but I like where my game’s at.”

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Johnson, Chappell share Tour Championship lead

Golf-Johnson stumbles into tie for lead with Chappell at East Lake

Sept 24 (Reuters) – Dustin Johnson opened the door to his rivals with a late double-bogey, falling into a tie for lead with fellow American Kevin Chappell after the third round at the Tour Championship in Atlanta on Saturday.

Johnson was on the wrong end of a three-shot swing at the par-four 17th, which he double-bogeyed after a poor drive, while Chappell countered with a birdie on the hole.

But world number two Johnson fought back with a birdie at the par-five 18th to card one-under-par 69, while Chappell had a steady 68.

They finished the round on eight-under-par 202, two strokes ahead of Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy (66) and American Ryan Moore (66).

Johnson, the top seed in the FedExCup standings, will win the season-long points race and a $10 million bonus if he also wins the tournament on Sunday.

But Chappell, 15th in the points standings, is unlikely to claim the FedExCup top prize even if he wins the tournament. (Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine)

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Golf-Johnson stumbles into tie for lead with Chappell at East Lake

Levy leads by four at fog-hit European Open

Bad Griesbach im Rottal (Germany) (AFP) – France’s Alexander Levy closed in on a third career European Tour triumph on Saturday when he stormed to a four-shot lead at the fog-hit European Open.

After being badly affected by the weather on Thursday and Friday when seven hours were lost, the tournament suffered three more hours of delays on Saturday, forcing organisers to declare a 54-hole event.

The third and final round will be played on Sunday.

Levy, who won two titles in 2014, came into Saturday with just one hole of his delayed second round to complete.

He made par on the ninth to stay at 17 under.

Ross Fisher made a birdie on the seventh in his final three holes to cut the Frenchman’s overnight lead to five shots but it was Swede Michael Jonzon who surged through the field, shooting a 63 to get to 13 under.

Jonzon only found out he was playing on Wednesday afternoon after being fourth reserve for the event, but he will now have the chance to win his third European Tour title, 19 years after claiming his first at the Portuguese Masters.

“I always said I function well under these circumstances,” said 44-year-old Jonzon.

“I struggle more just trying to make cuts because I can put a lot of pressure on myself. I know what I can do and sometimes I try too much.

“I’ve been there before. I’m just going to go out tomorrow and try to shoot as good as I can, whatever happens after that is not in my control.”

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Levy leads by four at fog-hit European Open

Frenchman Levy stays ahead in fog-hit European Open

(Reuters) – Frenchman Alexander Levy will take a four-shot lead into Sunday’s third and final round of the European Open after the tournament in Germany was reduced to 54 holes due to fog delays.

Nearly seven hours were lost on the first two days at Golf Resort Bad Griesbach and further mist on Saturday morning caused another three-hour delay.

Levy made par on the ninth hole to complete a second-round 63 and remain on 17 under par.

Sweden’s Michael Jonzon carded a third-round 63 to reach 13 under, one ahead of Briton Ross Fisher.

German Martin Kaymer, preparing for next week’s Ryder Cup, was tied fourth on 11 under after a second-round 64 with Belgian Thomas Pieters on four under ahead of his first appearance for Europe in the biennial match against the United States.

(Reporting by Ed Osmond, editing by Alan Baldwin)

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Frenchman Levy stays ahead in fog-hit European Open

Golf-Frenchman Levy stays ahead in fog-hit European Open

Sept 24 (Reuters) – Frenchman Alexander Levy will take a four-shot lead into Sunday’s third and final round of the European Open after the tournament in Germany was reduced to 54 holes due to fog delays.

Nearly seven hours were lost on the first two days at Golf Resort Bad Griesbach and further mist on Saturday morning caused another three-hour delay.

Levy made par on the ninth hole to complete a second-round 63 and remain on 17 under par.

Sweden’s Michael Jonzon carded a third-round 63 to reach 13 under, one ahead of Briton Ross Fisher.

German Martin Kaymer, preparing for next week’s Ryder Cup, was tied fourth on 11 under after a second-round 64 with Belgian Thomas Pieters on four under ahead of his first appearance for Europe in the biennial match against the United States. (Reporting by Ed Osmond, editing by Alan Baldwin)

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Golf-Frenchman Levy stays ahead in fog-hit European Open

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