MELBOURNE, Australia -- With a warm, blustery north wind buffeting Royal Melbourne, International Captain Greg Norman rated Friday's difficulty as an 11 on a scale of 1-10.
"It depends on where you put the ball on the green," Norman told NBC's Jimmy Roberts as the matches were getting under way. "There are going to be some putts you don't believe. You're going to see Royal Melbourne really expose itself today."
Norman said he felt Thursday was a "bit of an anomaly." As the Americans clawed back to halve the last two matches and take a 4-2 lead the Shark said he felt the "energy go flat" -- both with his team and the partisan Aussie crowd.
Norman said he told his players not to feel like they had to make up the deficit "all back at one time. There are four sessions left." Not to mention, Mother Nature and Royal Melbourne will surely impact the competition on Friday.
"When (my team) woke up and got on the bus and saw this wind, they felt pretty good about it," Norman said with a smile.
Like Norman, U.S. Captain Fred Couples knows his squad will be challenged on Friday. “Royal Melbourne is going to be very difficult in a 20 mile-an-hour wind," Couples told NBC's Dottie Pepper.
At the same time, he couldn't have been happier with Thursday's performance.
"That was a great finish for our side," Couples said. "We all know Aaron Baddeley is a quality player. He just hit a couple of bad shots at the wrong time. We feel like we got a little bit lucky. But I’ll take lots of luck in this game."
MELBOURNE, Australia – The International Team has taken the advantage early during the opening Foursomes at the Presidents Cup.
Greg Norman’s squad leads in four of the six matches while the U.S. has the edge in two. Maybe the International Team drew inspiration from some surprise guests on Wednesday evening.
Here’s what assistant captain Frank Nobilo tweeted earlier
today. “3 welcomed visitors to our team room last night. Tim
Finchem and our first two captains in David Graham and Peter
Graham captained the first International Team while Thomson (yes, that’s spelled correctly) was at the helm for three Presidents Cups, including the 1998 victory at Royal Melbourne. That 20 1/2-11 1/2 International win remains the team’s only one in eight previous matches.
MELBOURNE, Australia – The highly-anticipated Presidents Cup is under way.
The Americans had the honor on the first tee and Bubba Watson took out his trusty driver and found the fairway. Ryo Ishikawa hit first for the International team, lacing an iron into the short grass as well.
As the two teams walked to their second shots, NBC’s Jimmy Roberts spoke with International Captain Greg Norman, without question the most popular Australian golfer of all time. Norman said he was pointing to this day when he accepted the captaincy four years ago.
“I’ve got to be honest with you, I wish I was playing today,” Norman, smiling broadly, told Roberts.
After the second match began, the veteran NBC announcer also caught up with U.S. Captain Fred Couples, asking what he learned as the U.S. skipper two years ago.
“The main thing I learned is that we were in San Francisco and we had everyone behind us,” Couples said with a smile.
The U.S. Captain also said he wasn’t that concerned with the local knowledge the Australians have for Royal Melbourne, an Alister MacKenzie masterpiece regarded as one of the best courses in the world.
“Personally, i think it's a ball-striker’s course and I think we have some guys who can really hit it,” Couples said.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
MELBOURNE, Australia -- The buzz in the media center could be felt as soon as the respective captains announced the pairings for Match 5.
With 20 players on the pairings board, just four players were left -- including Tiger Woods and Adam Scott.
As you might imagine, the post-pairings conversation Wednesday at Royal Melbourne was dominated by the Match 6 pairing of Woods-Steve Stricker vs. Scott-K.J. Choi. This will be the first time Woods and Scott will be in the same group since Scott's caddie Steve Williams made his controversial remarks about his former employee.
Although Williams has apologized for his remarks and has shaken hands with Woods in hopes of putting the issue to rest, interest about the final match will certainly be high on Thursday when The Presidents Cup begins with six foursomes matches.
"I think it's great for the tournament," International captain Greg Norman said. "It needed to be done. It played out the way it played out. There wasn't any premeditation by it.
"I think at the end of the day, the guys in that last group will be the consummate professionals and go out and play the game of golf representing their International Team and the U.S. Team the way they should do."
Couples made similar sentiments, saying there was no planning by both sides to make the match happen.
"I think it worked out awesome for everybody involved to have Adam and Tiger play," Couples said. "As we said all along, they are still very good friends, and I think it's an exciting match."
Australia’s Jason Day was in the team room with the rest of the Internationals when the pairings were announced. He said the players were all clapping when the pairings for the final match took shape.
“I think everyone is kind of pumped for it,” Day said.
American veteran Jim Furyk, when asked about Match 6, used the word “interesting.” Twice.
“I think it's probably a pairing that y'all have been talking about for two weeks now since we were in China,” Furyk said, “and it was probably a matter of time before it happened. So just want to get it out of the way right off the first.”
Couples did have the opportunity to avoid the pairing when he made his Match 5 announcement. Norman had already selected K.T. Kim-Y.E. Yang, and Couples could have countered with putting Woods-Stricker against the Korean duo.
Instead, he opted for Hunter Mahan-David Toms in Match 5, setting the stage for the final match of the day.
"There's more to this thing than where you slot the players," Couples explained. "Like Greg said, and we were right here, we were writing down cards and it's just the way it fell, and I think it would be worse if we hid this deal."
Most of the questions posed to the two captains centered around Match 6. Norman was even asked if he had a sense whether Williams wanted the pairing.
"I have not even had a conversation with Steve Williams," Norman said. "His job is to carry Adam Scott's bag and doesn't matter whether they are playing Tiger Woods or not."
Both Norman and Couples said they are hopeful that by getting the Woods-Scott pairing done early, the conversation will turn elsewhere.
"It's a dead issue as far as we are concerned," Norman said. "There's no animosity between any of the players or any of the issues have taken place.
"I know it's good fodder. People like to talk about it in the media. But from our perspective, it's dead and gone, and we would like to keep it that way going forward."
MELBOURNE, Australia -- As International Captain Greg Norman noted, Thursday's opening round of Foursomes at The Presidents Cup will be played in relatively "soft and benign" conditions.
The temperatures at Royal Melbourne should approach 80 degrees with gentle breezes in the forecast. Friday, though, could be a challenge with winds from the north-northwest at 15-25 mph (with higher gusts) and a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms.
“I would hate to have Friday's conditions for tomorrow when it's blowing 35 out of the north, northwest,” Norman said. “That would have been brutal for the guys. But we are going to move into the event into the weekend in a very seamless transition with the way these pairings have played out.”
Saturday's weather will be similar to Friday with the chance of more rain, but with the winds blowing at 10-20 mph from the west-southwest and a high of just 72. The chance of rain on Sunday is just 30 percent with winds from the south at 8-15 mph and a high of 67.
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Greg Norman said he wouldn't hesitate to send Adam Scott against Tiger Woods this week at The Presidents Cup.
"If it happens, it happens, it's not going to be premeditated," Norman told the media after completing his final round at the Australian Open on Sunday. "I talked to Adam about it, asked him if it works out that way, do you have a problem, and he said, 'No, not at all.'"
"He might end up playing with him every day, who knows. I'd expect the two of them to meet up face to face from Thursday onward."
Norman was referring as much to Woods and his former caddy, Steve Williams, as to the American and Scott. Woods and Williams, who was on the bag for 13 of Woods’ 14 majors but now caddies for Scott, have been at odds since the two parted ways acrimoniously in July.
Norman, who captained the International Team in a losing effort two years ago at Harding Park, also said he planned to be more assertive this week.
"At the end of the day, I am going to say, `This is who you are going to play,'" he said. "I'm going to be a little bit more assertive, more of a captain instead of seeking advice."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LEMONT, Ill. -- Geoff Ogilvy needed a birdie putt on the 72nd hole at the Deutsche Bank Championship in order to survive and play another week in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
Now he needs another good week at the BMW Championship -- but the reasons are two-fold. Not only does Ogilvy want to advance to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, where the FedExCup will be decided, he wants dearly to qualify for the International Team for the Presidents Cup.
Ogilvy, who is bidding to play in the biennial competition for the third straight year, came to Cog Hill ranked 10th in the Presidents Cup standings and must maintain that spot on Sunday evening in order to automatically qualify to play for Greg Norman. Norman will complete his team with two picks on Sept. 27 after the TOUR Championship is over.
"From my perspective it's frustrating because I was really happy with where my game was at say in January," Ogilvy said. "Messed my finger up, hurt my shoulder later on in the year, had kind of a strange digestive sickness there for a while. So it didn't really go very well for me this year. ... So I have to have a reasonable week, I think, to hold my position."
If the team were finalized right now, Ogilvy would be one of three Australians on the team. Vijay Singh, who has played on eight Presidents Cup teams, is on the outside looking in at No. 13, as is last year's British Open champ, Louis Oosthuizen (No. 11) and Australians Aaron Baddeley and Robert Allenby (Nos. 14 and 15, respectively.)
So Norman clearly faces a difficult choice.
"It's been frustrating for me because it's the last year I would like to play poorly is the year that the Presidents Cup is being played in Australia," Ogilvy said. "And from Greg's perspective it's obviously making it difficult for him. ... You get the feeling he's been watching pretty closely all year because he does seem to be very in touch with what we're doing over here. I'm sure he'll end up making the right choices."
Ogilvy's desire is heightened by the fact that the Presidents Cup is being played this November at Royal Melbourne, which is located about 400 or 500 yards from where he grew up. He remembers jumping the fence and sneaking in to watch Tom Watson win the Australian Open there in 1984. He also attended the Australian Bicentennial Open, which was played on the famed Sandbelt course four years later.
"It was probably the biggest golf tournament in the world in
1988," recalled Ogilvy, who now owns a home adjacent to Royal
Melbourne. " It was $500,000 first place in 1988, which was unheard
of at that point, yeah. Nicklaus played, Freddie played, everyone,
like Crenshaw was there. It was huge.
"So Royal Melbourne is pretty special just because of that, my history there. And the fact that it's The Presidents Cup in Australia, yeah, it's definitely not one that I would like to miss. It would be a pretty amazing week. I'll probably be around there regardless whether or not I was in the tournament I'd be there anyway. ... So I would like to play, yeah."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- Greg Norman is scheduled to meet with prospective members of his Presidents Cup team on Tuesday at the Atlanta Athletic Club.
Something tells us the Shark will be feeling pretty darn good, too, after the success of the international players at last week's World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
Australia's Adam Scott, who idolized Norman as a kid, took the dominating victory, winning by four shots at Firestone Country Club. Jason Day, Scott's 23-year-old countryman, and Ryo Ishikawa, the 19-year-old phenom from Japan, tied for fourth while Kyung-taw Kim finished in a three-way tie for sixth.
Day leads the Presidents Cup standings while Scott jumped from fourth to second and Kim moved up one spot to No. 5. Ishikawa, who was one of Norman's two Captain's Picks in 2009, now stands 11th, a jump of two spots.
The top 10 in the U.S. and International Team standings at the end of the BMW Championship (Sept. 18) automatically qualify for the biennial matches, which will be held Nov. 17-20 at Royal Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia. Norman and U.S. Captain Fred Couples will complete their teams with two picks a week later.
"You want to try and get as many Aussies on that team as we can, I think," Scott said Sunday after his victory. "It's good for our team, and Greg has just got to be happy seeing a few of the guys playing in form at this point in the year. Obviously Jason is playing great, does every week. But Greg is looking to finalize his team now, so I'm really glad I'm on it and not in the position I was in last time."
Scott, who will play on his fifth Presidents Cup team in November, joined Ishikawa as a Captain's Pick for the matches at Harding Park in San Francisco two years ago. The top 10 international players currently hail from three countries -- Australia (2), Korea (3) and South Africa (5).
Asked whether he would like to play Tiger Woods in Singles,
Scott took the high road. Woods' long-time caddy, Steve Williams,
now works for Scott.
"I'm not asking for that at all," Scott said. "If that's how it falls, I'm up for it, absolutely. But I think it would probably come down to strategy at that point. It depends what the situation is. But I think the Internationals really need to win this Presidents Cup."
The U.S. owns a 6-1-1 record in the matches. The lone International victory came at Royal Melbourne in 1998.
Woods currently stands 24th in the U.S. rankings but Couples said last week he would pick the former world No. 1 if he doesn't grab one of the 10 qualifying spots. Rickie Fowler made the biggest move among the Americans -- jumping from 19th to 11th with his tie for second at the Bridgestone Invitational.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
AKRON, Ohio -- You can bet that Greg Norman, who captains the International Team for the Presidents Cup, will be watching today's final round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational with great interest.
The top three players on the leaderboard -- Adam Scott, Jason Day and Ryo Ishikawa -- are expected to be playing for Norman in November at Royal Melbourne when the matches are renewed for the ninth time. Day, who is 23, currently leads the standings while Scott is fourth and Ishikawa is 13th. The top 10 after next month's BMW Championship automatically make the team and Norman has two Captain's Picks.
"What I am seeing on the leaderboard of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational this week illustrates once again how the pendulum of golf continues to swing in a global direction," Norman said. "Take for instance, the development that has taken place with Ryo since he blasted on the scene leading up to the 2009 Presidents Cup and the emergence of a "new star" in Jason Day, with his very impressive climb up the ladder of the world rankings, ... to a veteran and "old boy" of this trio Adam Scott, who seems to have found his competitor level and skills that propelled him into the top five in the world at one stage."
Day, who finished second at the Masters and the U.S. Open, will be playing on his first Presidents Cup. The 31-year-old Scott has played in four Presidents Cups while Ishikawa, who is 19, made his debut in 2009 at Harding Park when he joined the Aussie as one of Norman's Captain's Picks.
"I have been very open about my thoughts and opinions on the fact that the game of golf has truly gone global again, reminiscent of the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s," Norman said. "With the domination of Northern Ireland, England, South Africa, Argentina and Europe over the past few years, and now, this week the other side of the world is stepping up to the plate and rightfully so.
"I love seeing where the game is right now with the quality and character of players. In the long run, the rest of the world elevating their game will serve as a stimulant for the Americans to elevate their games in an attempt to regain the domination they once had. Professional golf is the healthiest it has been in a long time and with that, it is in a great place."
The United States owns a 6-1-1 record in the biennial matches with the lone American defeat coming at Royal Melbourne.
BETHESDA, Md. – Rory McIlroy continues to lap the field at the 111th U.S. Open.
The 22-year-old has just made consecutive birdies to become the first player to reach 13 under at a U.S. Open. And if McIlroy can make a third straight at the 18th hole, he would tie the major championship record of 63 for the second time in his career.
Only two players have ever shot two 63s in a major championship – Vijay Singh at the 1993 PGA and 2003 U.S. Open and Greg Norman at the 1986 British Open and 1996 Masters.
McIlory fired a 63 in the first round of last year’s British Open. He has now held at least a share of the lead in five of the last six rounds at a major.