The pairings have been unveiled for this week’s PGA TOUR Matchups Game on Facebook. You can check out the Matchups for the Shell Houston Open below, or on the PGA TOUR’s Facebook page.
Participants have until 6 a.m. ET Thursday to make their picks. Log on to the PGA TOUR Facebook page and click the Matchups link to make your picks for this week, or to sign up.
|Phil Mickelson vs. Fred Couples||Phil defends his title while Fred won his last TOUR event here|
|Johnson Wagner vs. Kyle Stanley||It's a battle of FedExCup leaders current and former|
|Graeme McDowell vs. Lee Westwood||These Europeans bring Texas-sized game to the Lone Star State|
|Ernie Els vs. Anthony Kim||The Big Easy takes on the 2010 champion at Redstone|
|Rickie Fowler vs. Bud Cauley||2010 Rookie of the Year vs. an early favorite for the 2012 award|
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
Greg Norman says he hasn't been asked to return for a third term as captain of the International Team for The Presidents Cup. Yet.
But unlike Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, who said "I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected," when queried about the 1884 presidential election, Norman definitely left the possibility open on Wednesday during a press conference prior to The Honda Classic pro-am. (Hey, it's an election year so let us have a little fun.)
If the call comes, Norman said he would probably lean "more to the positive than the negative side."
The 2013 Presidents Cup will be played at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, where the World Golf Hall of Famer from Australia won the Memorial Tournament in 1990 and '95. Interestingly, the man who captained the U.S. side in the last two Presidents Cups, Fred Couples, is also a former champion at Muirfield Village, capturing the tournament in 1998.
Norman said the subject came up during a conversation with one of his vice captains, Frank Nobilo, at dinner Tuesday night. Norman asked Nobilo whether he would assist him for the third time -- should the opportunity arise -- and the Kiwi turned the tables on the Aussie.
"I said, 'Well, I haven't really thought about it to tell you
the truth,'" Norman said. "Probably the most powerful moment for me
as a player ... who didn't play an event, was what the response was
from the players on the Sunday night of The Presidents Cup in
Australia, what Ernie Els said; what everybody else echoed, that
they would like to have me back.
"To me, that meant a lot to me. But you walk away from there saying, well, there's other people in line. But time is on their side, because there's always going to be another Presidents Cup and stuff like that.
“So to really answer your question, if I was asked to do it again, I would sit back and I would think about it, because it's a two-year commitment. The inevitable answer to that question would probably be leaning more to the positive than the negative side."
Norman said he's done "zero" lobbying for the job. "I enjoyed doing it," he said. "Muirfield, I love the golf course, I've won around there, makes sense. I know I've put some thought processes to the betterment of The Presidents Cup for the International Team. So if I get asked again, it would be an honor. But if I don't get asked again, I won't get jolted for it, that's for sure."
During an interview at the Northern Trust Open, Couples said he had talked with PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem and other officials about returning. He called serving as captain "more fun than playing" and said he "would love to do it again, sure."
The two-time winner of the Northern Trust Open discusses what he calls his favorite stop on TOUR.
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- For Fred Couples, serving as Captain of the last two U.S. Presidents Cup teams has been "more fun than playing."
He loved watching the teams win, as well as developing friendships, by text and in person, with his players. So if the call comes for Muirfield Village in 2013, you can expect Couples to say yes to a third stint at the helm.
"It's coming up quickly, so to be honest, I've talked to (PGA TOUR Commissioner) Tim (Finchem) after the tournament, and I've talked to a couple other guys at the TOUR," Couples said. "I think I have a very good shot of it, and I would love to do it again, sure."
Couples, who is playing at Riviera this week for the 30th time in the Northern Trust Open, was at his elder-statesman best on Wednesday during a pre-tournament interview, too. Here are some of his more interesting comments.
ON RIVIERA: It is my favorite tournament. Everyone talks about how great a course it is, and I just always liked it from the day I got here. 30 years later, I'm much older, but I still feel like I can play here. And last year I had a great shot at winning, actually, on Sunday. I birdied the first three holes and then played very poorly from then on in, but still managed to have a great week, and I look forward to the same thing this week.
ON LUKE DONALD AND THE MAJORS: His game doesn't need any help. He's the No. 1 player because he plays very consistent and wins. Because he hasn't won a major I don't think throws anything off. He plays well every week. I wouldn't be surprised to see him have a shot at winning here. I don't know how much he's played, but this is a perfect course for long hitters and short hitters. But he's just a great all-around player. I love the way he plays, and if I could say anything to him, just keep playing, and the way you play you'll be No. 1, and someday you'll win a major."
ON PHIL MICKELSON: "The guy is a true champ. I'm
older than him, but I look back and I think that he's one of the
all-time great players that I've seen play because of the way he
plays. It's very exciting golf, but at the same time it's great
golf. And we pick on him because maybe he's three-putted from 5
feet before. But when you do that, you're not scared; he's not
scared at all. He's not a guy to back off, and when you play that
way, you're going to have those little things happen. I don't think
you can really compare him to any other players, because a lot of
guys get timid when they fail, and I think he gets stronger and
plays better, which I think is a great attribute for his game.
ON TIGER WOODS' 75 ON SUNDAY: "He's another guy that as he keeps telling everyone he needs more reps, then he needs more reps, because it's a pretty easy game when you're winning seven or eight times in a year. I'll be honest with you. It didn't seem to be too difficult. And I think now he's working, he's getting healthy, and I think he's disappointed, but I don't think he feels like he can't close a tournament because he got beat by Phil or beat himself. But I think he's on the right track."
ON THE CHAMPIONS DINNER AT THE MASTERS: "I usually sit next to Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus and Ray Floyd, and what a night for me. So there's a lot of stories told. But it's usually very quiet and a nice night. And again, the food, I know when Phil won, he had pints of Häagen Dasz for everybody -- quarts for him. He would have a second. That makes it so special. You kind of hear what's going to come out, but then for dessert they come out with these trays of vanilla pints of Häagen Dasz and you go, wow, nice move there."
PGATOUR.COM will be streaming interviews live from the media center at Riviera.
Tuesday, Feb. 14
Sergio Garcia - 3:30 p.m. ET
Kyle Stanley - 6 p.m. ET
Ernie Els - 7 p.m. ET
Wednesday, Feb. 15
Fred Couples - 12:30 p.m. ET
Phil Mickelson - 12:45 p.m. ET
Patrick Cantlay - 1 p.m. ET
Andy Walker and Jason Gore - 2 p.m. ET
Luke Donald - 3 p.m. ET
Adam Scott - 3:30 p.m. ET
Aaron Baddeley - 5:30 p.m. ET
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Fred Couples withdrew from the Waste Management Phoenix on Wednesday.
Couples, who is ill, was replaced in the field by Ken Duke. Duke will be playing at TPC Scottsdale for the fourth time and looking for his first made cut.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
ORLANDO, Fla. – Titleist dominates the golf ball market, led by its iconic ProV1. This year, the company is taking a renewed run at the part of the market it doesn’t have.
And by its standards, Titleist is getting a little crazy in the process.
The company launched a revamped line outside the unchanged ProV1 and ProV1x this week at the PGA Merchandise Show, including a pure distance ball and – hold on tight – two offerings in yellow.
The NXT line includes a new NXT Tour and NXT Tour S (for soft), with the latter available in white and yellow. The SoLo is also available in white and yellow.
Titleist has sold yellow balls in Japan for a few years but it hasn’t had such an offering in the U.S. in at least 15 years. The company tested many shades of yellow with customers and the colors used on the NXT Tour S and SoLo are slightly different.
The company’s other new offering is the Velocity, a pure distance ball. A high-speed solid core is enveloped in a NaZ2 cover (two parts zinc, one part sodium) with a 332 icosahedral dimple design. Its price point is between the SoLo and NXT, and available with double-digit orange numerals – 00, 11, 22, 33.
For those not quite ready to go so crazy, the Velocity also is offered with regular 1-4 numbers.
MORE BALLS: Bridgestone is releasing updated versions of its popular B330 series on March 1. The company is heavy into ball fitting, with more than 40,000 fittings in 2011 and hundreds more on-site at the Show this week, and slots customers into one of four B330 models.
The B330, used on the PGA TOUR by Davis Love III, Brandt Snedeker and Fred Couples, is their Tour-style ball for swing speeds of 105 mph or more. The B330-S is a spin model, preferred on TOUR by Matt Kuchar and Billy Hurley III.
For swing speeds under 105, Bridgestone offers the B330RX and B330RX-S (the 330 refers to number of dimples; and all models feature new dual-dimple technology), and the B330RX is offered in white and yellow. Bridgestone estimates that in other models offered in both colors, yellow is preferred 30 percent of the time.
ADAMS MAN: Robert Karlsson, second in a playoff at last year’s FedEx St. Jude Classic, switched allegiances from Titleist to Adams Golf over the offseason. On a trip to the company’s test facility in Dallas, he took an immediate liking to the new Speedline Fast 12 driver. He signed a contract with the company, then later bought Adams Golf stock.
CAR CLUBS: Callaway has touted an allegiance with Lamborghini to develop materials for its drivers, but a new company on the Show floor takes the car relationship even further.
Mercedes AMG Formula One Team (that’s the entire name) has released a complete line of clubs, balls, clothes and accessories, targeting buyers who want the prestige of a racecar team on their golf bag. The prestige comes at a price – a driver’s suggested retail price is $499 and a set of irons with graphite shafts is $1,299.
With the price comes technology inspired by the actual Formula One team. The driver features a “Venturi Channel” on the sole, an aerodynamic cavity that disperses air and increases swing speed.
But make no mistake, the Mercedes AMG Formula One Team buyer wants to show off the name. On the company’s driver, the words “Mercedes AMG” appear six times.
If Tiger Woods has his way, Fred Couples will be Ryder Cup captain for the 2014 matches at Gleneagles, he wrote on his season-ending blog .
Couples has served as Captain for the last two Presidents Cups, with the Americans winning handily both times.
"I've heard people question whether Fred would be a good Ryder Cup Captain, and I just don't get it," Woods wrote. "I think that Fred is a great Captain. Whether it's The Presidents Cup or the Ryder Cup, it doesn't matter.
"The way he keeps us loose and how much fun we have -- it's just great to play for him. He's a lot more competitive than people realize. He just doesn't show it. He shows it with us around, but the public doesn't see it."
Couples famously used a Captain's Pick on Woods for the 2011 Presidents Cup after Woods didn't qualify on points. Woods went 2-3 in his matches, but his Singles victory was the clinching point for the U.S.
"Fred stuck his neck out for me, and I was very grateful that he made me a Captain's Pick," Woods wrote. "To be able to secure the clinching point for the U.S. and play as well as I did down there was special for both of us."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Greg Norman knows what has to be done on Sunday.
"It's always great to create history, isn't it?" the smiling International Team captain told NBC's Jimmy Roberts as the second Singles match got under way on the final day of the Presidents Cup.
Norman's team trails the U.S. 13-9 and needs to win nine matches in order to capture the Cup. The Internationals have only prevailed in the Singles session once in the previous nine Presidents Cups, winning it 7-5 in 2007 at Royal Montreal
The only International victory at the Presidents Cup came at Royal Melbourne in 1998 when they took a lopsided 20 1/2-11 1/2 victory.
"The message I gave the guys last night before they went to bed was to think about the greatest come-from-behind victories in sports," Norman said. "I told them to think about that because it can be done."
The wind at Royal Melbourne has changed and will blow in from the west/southwest at 15-25 mph. Norman said Nos. 6-11 and perhaps the final two or three holes will be most affected by the stiff breezes.
"This is not the easiest of winds," Norman said. "... But this is mano y mano, and you've got to go out and get it."
Norman's American counterpart, Fred Couples, knows his team is in the driver's seat but he wanted to be sure the U.S. players didn't let up.
"It's an individual day but it's a team day, too, and our guys are going to rock," Couples to Roberts. "We know they are going to come out firing, too.
"I told our guys that everybody needs a point. If they don't get one they're just going to make it tougher on the guys behind them."
Couples then walked over to Norman, who was surrounded by a group of Australian fans clad in yellow shirts and green Hogan caps. The fans started singing and Norman and Couples played along, even donning the green caps, then hugged and high-fived each other before casting an eye on the action again.
Norman kept the Hogan cap he borrowed, turned it backwards and watched the rest of the action on the first tee.