Golf

American sweep and European rally at Ryder Cup

American sweep and European rally at Ryder Cup

CHASKA, Minn. (AP) -- Even with the first opening-session sweep in four decades, the Americans were reminded anew Friday that no lead is safe in the Ryder Cup.

Not after one session. Not after one day.

And based on the last Ryder Cup on American soil, not until it's over.

Europe battled back from a 4-0 deficit behind its best tandem, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose, and capped off a long and rowdy day at Hazeltine when its best player, Rory McIlroy, holed a 20-foot eagle putt and then mocked the crowd by taking a bow.

The American celebration turned into a consolation.

They had a 5-3 lead, the margin after the first day at Medinah four years ago that ended in another European victory. They lost a chance to really put Europe in a hole.

"It's frustrating not to come out a little bit more ahead," U.S. captain Davis Love III said.

Love could not have scripted a better start - a symbolic one, too.

To honor Arnold Palmer, who died Sunday night, Ryder Cup officials placed on the first tee Palmer's golf bag from when he was captain of the 1975 Ryder Cup team. Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed then set the tone with a 3-and-2 foursomes victory over Stenson and Rose, and the Americans delivered the first sweep of the opening session since that 1975 team at Laurel Valley.

Phil Mickelson, feeling more pressure than usual because of his influence on changes and on this team, also produced big shots. His wedge into 5 feet that Rickie Fowler converted was key in the Americans winning three straight holes for a 1-up victory over McIlroy and Andy Sullivan.

"With everything going on - me not having a point and Phil being a big part of getting the players a lot more involved to Arnie passing and him being a huge part of the week, this is big for us," Fowler said.

It just didn't last.

"The guys were disappointed with the way they played this morning and the way they performed," European captain Darren Clarke said. "But they showed tremendous bravery and heart and desire to go out and play the way they have done this afternoon."

Beaten for the first time, Rose and Stenson went right back out against Spieth and Reed and handed the American duo its first Ryder Cup loss. The Europeans made nine birdies in 13 holes for a 5-and-4 victory in an afternoon session in which the board was filled with European blue.

Sergio Garcia, who along with Martin Kaymer made only one birdie in a foursomes loss, teamed with fellow Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello to dismantle J.B. Holmes and Ryan Moore. McIlroy and Pieters never trailed against Johnson and Kuchar, handing them their first loss in four Ryder Cup matches.

The lone American point in the afternoon came from Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka, who had no trouble against Kaymer and Danny Willett.

Willett had a little trouble with the crowd, especially when they lampooned him around Hazeltine with references to hot dogs and his brother, Pete, who had written a column in a British publication disparaging American galleries.

"It was anticipated," Willett said. "Coming to America is a tough one, just like when the Americans come to Europe. They gave me a little bit more. I think it was exactly what we thought it was going to be."

It wasn't just directed at Willett, however.

The crowd was loud and boisterous from the opening tee shot in misty conditions. There were a few rude comments, not unusual in America for a Ryder Cup. McIlroy had a 20-foot birdie putt to halve the morning foursomes match against Mickelson and Fowler when a fan from across 100 yards away shouted, "Get an American to putt it for you." That was a reference to McIlroy and Rose losing a playful $100 bet to an American fan who made a putt in Thursday's practice session.

Most striking was how quickly the crowd cheered bad shots for Europe. Typically, there is the slightest delay. Not on Friday. Sullivan, one of six rookies for Europe, hit his tee shot into the water on the 17th that put Europe 1 down and effectively ended the match. The crowd cheered before there was a ripple.

That's what inspired McIlroy in the final match of the day. He and Pieters were 2 up on the 16th hole, with Kuchar already in for a birdie, when the four-time major champion drained his 20-foot putt. Turning to the crowd, he bowed twice and screamed out, "C'mon!"

"I wanted to put an exclamation on that session for us," McIlroy said. "I thought about that celebration before I hit the putt."

More than a celebration, it was a message from McIlroy to what he felt was a hostile crowd.

"I'm not fazed by anything said by the crowd," McIlroy said. "And I'm not fazed by anything the U.S. throws at us."

Riding the Metra with five-time major champion Phil Mickelson

Riding the Metra with five-time major champion Phil Mickelson

Five time major champion, Phil Mickelson, was in Chicago on Monday to promote the KPMG Women's PGA championship.

Mickelson took a 45-minute Metra train ride from Millennium Station to Olympia Fields CC, demonstrating how hassle free it is to get to the event.

While on the train, CSN's Pat Boyle interviewed Mickelson. They discussed Phil skipping the US Open, Tiger's dash cam video and how difficult the decision was for Mickelson to part with his longtime caddy, Jim "Bones" Mackay.

Lefty also talked about the revolving door of first time winners at the last 7 majors and what is left on his golf "to do" list.

NCAA Golf Championships and local stars take Rich Harvest Farms by storm

NCAA Golf Championships and local stars take Rich Harvest Farms by storm

 

The NCAA Men’s Golf National Championships are in full swing as teams have flocked from all across the country to compete at the pristine Rich Harvest Farms, in Sugar Hill, Ill.

The Championships, hosted by Northern Illinois, span from May 19-31 and include both individual and team competition for the men’s and women’s divisions.

In its first ever appearance at Rich Harvest Farms, the tournament will have no shortage of local talent.

The University of Illinois will be making its 10th straight NCAA tournament appearance led by Nick Hardy out of Northbrook, Ill. The Illini have had semifinal finishes in the last two years respectively, establishing themselves as an NCAA men’s powerhouse and looking to finally make it to the final round this year.

Other local golfers include:

Doug Ghim, Arlington Heights. -- University of Texas

Trent Wallace, Joliet. -- Illinois State University

Other top contenders at the tournament for team play are headlined by USC, Oklahoma State, and Vanderbilt. While for individual play Will Zalatoris out of Wake Forest leads the way, followed by Chandler Phillips out of Texas A&M and Travis Trace out of North Florida.

The men’s portion of the Championships began today at 3 p.m., but have dealt with delays due to inclement weather.

Last week saw women’s play wrap up on May 24 with Arizona State not only defeating local favorite Northwestern for their eighth national title in team play, but also saw Monica Vaughn take home the sixth individual title for the Sun Devils as well.

Men's play continues tomorrow through May 31 and can be seen on the Golf Channel along with the highlighted times below.

Golf Channel NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage (all times ET)

Monday, May 29

Individual National Championship

4-8 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 30

Quarterfinals, Team Match Play

11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 30

Semifinals, Team Match Play

4-8 p.m. (Live)

Wednesday, May 31

Team Match Play National Championship

4-8 p.m. (Live)