DUBLIN, Ohio -- A preview of the Friday Foursomes match between the American duo of Jason Dufner-Zach Johnsonvs. the International duo of Hideki Matsuyama-Adam Scott. Tee time for this match is 2:05 p.m. ET.
ALL-TIME PRESIDENTS CUP RECORDS
1-0-0 (0-0-0 Foursomes)
United States: This duo doesn't attract the attention of some of their more high-profile teammates -- but no matter. Dufner and Johnson just continue to get the job done. They went 2-1 together at the Ryder Cup and dominated in beating Richard Sterne and Branden Grace 5 and 3 in Foursomes. Neither is a big hitter but they find fairways and greens. Johnson has played phenomenally well the last three months and Dufner is riding the wave of his PGA win. -- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
International: The Japanese sensation showed some serious stones with that approach shot on No. 18 Thursday to set up a gimme birdie and nudge out an important half-point for the International Team. Can he execute as well for a second straight day against a potent Johnson-Dufner duo in the day's anchor match? That's a tall order, even with Scott hitting every other shot. -- Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Helen Ross: U.S. Only unless Matsuyama produces another miracle shot.
Brian Wacker: U.S. They may be the second-best U.S. team this week.
Now it's your turn. Which team will win this match? Join the discussion below.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Zach Johnson didn't even wait to hear the whole question.
"I can interrupt you, there's no temptation for me," he said firmly.
Even if the tees are moved up this week at Muirfield Village's 14th hole, a 325-yard par 4, don't look for the recent winner of the BMW Championship to take out the big stick and try to drive the green.
"It's not even an option," Johnson said. "It's an iron and then a wedge regardless of where the pin is for me."
The hole features a downhill tee shot to a tree-lined valley with a creek on the left that angles across the fairway and eventually frames the right side of an elongated green. There are ample bunkers to the left side of the green, as well, to catch errant shots.
But did we mention, it's just over 300 yards? Surely someone will be tempted.
Maybe, maybe not. Phil Mickelson, who has been known to take a few chances here and there, agrees with Johnson's assessment.
"14 will be up to each player, but as a player who likes to go for it, even I have a hard time of understanding the advantage of going for it," Mickelson said. "Very simply put, there's water right, bunkers left with a green that's so severely pitched, you can't stop it on the green.
"There's no place to miss it; and the target is so much smaller than the fairway that I'm going to hit 6-iron and a wedge in, unless we move up to another 40 yards to the ladies tee where it's a 240-yard hole or something like that, it will be a lay up. I don't anticipate many of our guys if any going for it."
Mickelson's partner, Keegan Bradley, sees the risk and acknowledges it might be greated than the reward.
"It's very difficult to make birdie on that hole if you go for it and don't hit the green," Bradley said. "I think you're going to see a lot of guys still laying up on that hole because it's so brutal. But it's definitely right there. Pretty much everybody in the field is going to be able to at least contend to hit it on the green."
Webb Simpson, who plays with Bill Haas on Thursday, says certain pins might be more tempting than others. Ditto for how the match stands.
"I think there's so many different types of strategy," Simpson said. "I mean, depending on who is up first, where you stand in the match, I certainly think the right pins make more sense to go for it because if the pin is on the left side and you're left of the green where you are going to hit it, you don't have a chance to get it close.
"... Again, if you go into the hole and you're three up, it kind of makes sense to me to hit two irons down there so you have two birdie putts. But I think you'll see game time decisions there where I might have a driver out hitting second and they both hit it in the water and I'll hit iron."
DUBLIN, Ohio -- A preview of the Thursday Four-Ball match between the American duo of Zach Johnson-Jason Dufner vs. the International duo of Brenden Grace-Richard Sterne. Tee time for this match is 12:55 p.m. ET.
ALL-TIME PRESIDENTS CUP RECORDS
4-5-0 (1-2-0 Four-Ball)
United States: These two went 2-1 together at last year's Ryder Cup although both their wins came in Foursomes, not Four-Ball where Ian Poulter seized the momentum on the last four holes. "I think we meshed out pretty good," Dufner said. Johnson was ailing at the start of the week but you know what they say -- beware the injured golfer -- and Dufner is less than two months removed from his PGA Championship victory. -- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
International: The two South Africans should feel comfortable around each other in their first Presidents Cup startsr. "I think the good thing is if you take Richard, myself, Charl and Louis, we play week in week out where we play in the same event. We play together. You're very comfortable around each other's games. You know what to expect from those guys, and you know what they are capable of doing. I think that's a big relief as well." -- Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Helen Ross: U.S. Presuming Johnson is back to full strength.
Brian Wacker: Halved. Getting even a half-point would be a bonus for the South Africans.
Now it's your turn. Which team will win this match? Join the discussion below.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
DUBLIN, Ohio -- One half of the U.S. Presidents Cup team was hitting balls on the range at Muirfield Village Tuesday afternoon.
Five of them went about their business under the watchful eye of their caddies. For Zach Johnson, though, it was a stop-and-start proposition as TV cameras and tape recorders interrupted the flow.
Johnson has been battling what he called a "24-hour bug" that began about 9:30 Sunday night as he was packing for his third Presidents Cup. He was so sick he delayed his arrival by a day but Johnson said he was feeling surprisingly good on Tuesday afternoon.
"I'm much better," he said. "Every square inch of my fibers hurt. I mean, I was in pain, and obviously, I was frequenting the throne, so I felt horrible, and the thoughts that were going through my head were, I'd rather not even say.
"But it's amazing, it's just a 24-hour bug. My body's not normal, but it's really close. When I landed here, I was like, okay, I'm ready to go play. And I want to go play today but I think I'm going to hold off and probably play 18 holes tomorrow instead."
"It's amazing how quickly your body can recover from something like that."
Among those thoughts was whether Johnson would even be able to play this week at The Presidents Cup. He called that the "worst case scenario" as he was essentially quarantined in his bedroom in his St. Simon's Island, Ga., home.
"Couldn't see my kids, and obviously my wife didn't sleep next to me," Johnson said. "I slept great, though. That's the nice thing, I had to get some meds. Slept for at least 16-and-a-half hours, Sunday to Monday. I essentially turned the TV on at like 4:30 p.m. on Monday and was starting to get some food in me by that point, too. So, feeling good."
Johnson was supposed to fly to Columbus, Ohio, with two other coastal Georgia residents, assistant captain Davis Love III and teammate Matt Kuchar, and their wives. Before the plane left around noon Monday, though, Johnson knew they'd have to go wheels-up without him.
"I was talking to my wife for about five minutes is all it took," Johnson said. "... I was just, there's no way. I could have got on the plane and I could have got here but then I'm subjecting them to something that I don't know what it is."
Johnson says he is not 100 percent -- but he's close. Iowa's 23-7 win over Minnesota last weekend didn't hurt his disposition, either.
"Now it's just the energy and getting my body and the aches -- laying in bed for 20 hours, my back hurts right now, but I'll be fine," Johnson said. "I've got my physio guy here and I'm better now than what I was three hours ago. It's just going to take a little bit of time. Keep hydrating. And the Hawks won."
Prior to the final round of the 2013 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, Mark Carnevale from PGA TOUR Radio on PGATOUR.COM and SiriusXM speaks with Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker.
By Dr. Gregg Steinberg, Special to PGATOUR.COM
One of the main reasons Zach Johnson won the BMW Championship was that he was trying not to win. Zach also mentioned he was trying not to get into the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola as well as trying not to get onto the American team for The Presidents Cup. Zach Johnson mentioned he was just playing golf and letting those events unfold.
Let’s clarify this key point: Zach Johnson was trying easy instead of trying hard. Trying easy relates to the amount of intensity level you give toward an event. Trying easy implies that you are giving the appropriate amount of effort to excel at the task. Zach Johnson was at his perfect intensity level at Conway Farms this past weekend because he was trying easy instead of trying too hard.
Trying hard can be very detrimental to your success. In an interesting experiment with Olympic runners, they were asked to run the first race at 100 percent intensity level (or in other words, they were asked to try as hard as they can). In the second race, the runners were asked to give 90 percent (or in other words, they were asked to try easier). Amazingly, they ran faster at the 90 percent intensity level.
Trying too hard can limit your foot speed as well as your swing speed. Forcing the issue and giving all your energy can cause excessive muscle tension, slowing down your arm speed and trunk rotation. However, trying easy should promote a more relaxed feeling that helps to create a greater shoulder turn and faster arm speed. This relaxed feeling can contribute to effortless power.
To try easy like Zach Johnson, here are a few mental game recommendations:
1) Develop a personalized scale of intensity level ranging between zero-100 (based upon a 10-point scale). Make zero being completely flat with very low intensity and 100 being totally amped up and a very high level of intensity.
2) Recall two or three events you played really well on the golf course and rank your intensity level. Some golfers may play their best at 60 while others may play their best at 80. Everyone is unique and you must find your best intensity level.
3) Discover ways to get into your best intensity level. If you play your best golf at lower levels of intensity, then use techniques such as imagery and breathing to get calmer. If you play your best when amped up, then use techniques to get more pumped up. Perhaps an easy slap on the thigh during your pre-shot routine can create a pump in your intensity level.
Get into your best intensity level for effortless power and your best golf.
Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a regular guest every Tuesday on “Talk of the Tour” heard on the Sirius/XM PGA TOUR radio. He is a tenured professor of sports psychology and has been the mental game coach for many PGA TOUR players. Dr. Gregg is the author of the best selling golf psychology book, MentalRules for Golf, and you can get your autographed copy at www.drgreggsteinberg.com
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- I talked with Zach Johnson just before the start of THE PLAYERS Championship. He was struggling through the first half of the PGA TOUR season, having played in 11 tournaments, missing a trio of cuts and not posting a single top-20 finish in a full-field event.
Trying to be diplomatic, I quizzically stated his year has been a bit “unusual.”
Johnson, paused for a moment and said, “if by unusual you mean terrible, that’s about right.”
Johnson did not go into a bunch of details but said he had not paid attention to fundamentals while practicing and that was going to change.
Johnson finished T19 that week and 14 days later nearly won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. Two months later, he lost in a playoff at the John Deere Classic.
I’d say Johnson hit all the fundamentals this week at the BMW Championship. He made one bogey in the final 36 holes while making 20 birdies on the week. Johnson was T3 hitting greens in regulation and T6 in hitting fairways.
However, Johnson won this tournament with his putting. He was second for the week in strokes gained-putting averaging, 1.859 putts per green.
When asked if this week validated his lengthy practice sessions, Johnson said he had seen the improvement before this week and was confident it was just a matter of time before the results followed.
Patience and fundamentals. That’s a winning combination.
Chipping: A tournament is not always determined by birdies or bogeys in the final stretch of holes. For Nick Watney, his moment came much earlier. He birdied the first three holes of the final round and was 4 under when arriving at the par-5, eighth. Watney’s second shot was just right of the green and 48 feet from the cup. He flubbed the eagle chip, hit his birdie chip 23 inches from the cup and then missed the putt, making bogey. Watney said the chip was just a bad shot and rattled him to the point where lost focus on the short putt. To his credit, that was his only bogey of the final round as Watney shot 4 under in the last nine holes to finish second. Telling me a lack of focus caused the short miss -- and perhaps a tournament title -- was a very honest assessment that not many players would answer so directly.
Three putts: Tiger Woods did not have to search hard for an answer to his inconsistent play this week. He simply never got a feel for the break on the greens. Woods had a very untidy total of five three-putts. He had a total of 25 three-putts the entire year, coming into the BMW Championship. Woods missed an uncharacteristic half dozen putts measuring 5 feet of less. For the season, he makes putts of that length 92 percent of the time. I would advise Tiger to toss out this week as an outlier, attribute the putting inconsistencies to a new course and arrive at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola confident in his abilities.
Closer: It is difficult for me to even write this, but Jim Furyk has trouble closing out tournaments. He struggled last year at the U.S. Open, at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, at the Ryder Cup and at The McGladrey Classic. Furyk did not close out this year’s PGA Championship but I attribute that to Jason Dufner’s superb play. The fifth hole seemed to be a turning point. He had an 8-foot putt for birdie while his fellow competitor, Steve Stricker, had a 12-footer for par. Stricker made; Furyk missed and his stroke seemed tentative for the remainder of the round. I know it’s not a consolation but 20 years from now, I may not remember who won the 2013 BMW Championship, but I will recall Furyk shooting 59 on a windy Friday. I hope he can look at that golf ball in years to come and remember the glory of that second round, rather than the disappointment of Monday.
Golf Course: It’s a shame Conway Farms received so much rain on Sunday. There were some mud balls in the final round, but the area inside the ropes was fine. Any area outside the ropes, where the gallery had trampled, was a nasty odoriferous soup of brown goo. A brisk wind did wonders to help dry the course as the round progressed but I imagine TOUR officials would have implemented “preferred lies” before Sunday’s round began if given a mulligan. The grounds themselves seemed a little tight with traffic congestion but that might be more of a tribute to the huge galleries and the many corporate tents that were sold. It’s hard to criticize a course’s traffic flow just because Chicago golf fans supported the BMW Championship with such enthusiasm.
Karma: Zach Johnson made the decision to skip The Barclays in order to attend his brother’s wedding. He paid a visit to Conway Farms that week, before the wedding, and put in some practice time. That extra practice gave Johnson confidence and a little local knowledge coming into the week. The golf gods always smile on those who have their priorities in order.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
Conway Farms Golf Club may be hosting its first PGA TOUR event this week, but the site of the BMW Championship has held its share of prestigious amateur tournaments, including the NCAA Championship, Western Amateur and multiple USGA events and qualifiers.
Most of the BMW Championship’s 70-man field will be seeing Conway Farms for the first time, but a handful of competitors have played the course in those amateur competitions. Here’s how players in the BMW field fared in past events at Conway Farms:
2009 WESTERN AMATEUR
SEMIFINALS: Zach Barlow def. Patrick Reed, 3 and 2
QUARTERFINALS: Patrick Reed def. Andrea Pavan, 2 up
ROUND OF 16: Patrick Reed def. Dylan Frittelli, 4 and 3
T2. Patrick Reed, 69-70-71-71-- 281
45. Harris English, 75-70-77-78--300
2008 U.S. OPEN SECTIONAL QUALIFYING
T2. Chris Kirk, 68-71--139
T2. D.A. Points, 69-70--139
15. Daniel Summerhays, 75-69--144
(Note: Kirk and Points qualified for U.S. Open.)
2006 CANON CUP
Peter Uihlein (East) def. Rickie Fowler (West), 5 and 4
Patrick Reed (East) def. Kyle Stanley (West), 5 and 4
2002 CANON CUP
Henry Liaw (West) def. Roberto Castro (East), 5 and 4
Chris Kirk (East) def. Randy Lowry (West), 6 and 5
Andrew Dresser (West) def. Webb Simpson (East), 2 and 1
(Note: Canon Cup is a team, match-play competition conducted by the AJGA, pitting teams from each side of the Mississippi River against each other.)
1998 U.S. JUNIOR
FIRST ROUND: Tom Johnson def. Brandt Snedeker, 4 and 2
(Note: Aaron Baddeley, who did not qualify for the BMW, was medalist and runner-up.)
1997 NCAA Championship
T6. Rory Sabbatini (Arizona), 71-72-73-68--284
MC. Jason Dufner (Auburn), 75-71--146
MC. Zach Johnson (Drake), 81-69--150
MC. Matt Kuchar (Georgia Tech)*, 77-76--153
*-played as individual
Zach Johnson started the Deutsche Bank Championship on the bubble for a Presidents Cup bid. He was 10th in the U.S. team standings, and the top 10 at week's end would automatically qualify for the U.S. team. He was in danger of being bumped from the top 10 when Steve Stricker, No. 11 in the standings, finished second at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Johnson earned his first Presidents Cup spot since 2009 by holing a 26-foot birdie putt on his final hole at TPC Boston, though.