Spieth says Ryder Cup win would make it a good year for him
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 27, 2018 09:47 AM
Jordan Spieth of the US plays out of a bunker on the 14th hole during a practice round for the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, outside Paris, France, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018. The 42nd Ryder Cup will be held in France from Sept. 28-30, 2018 at Le Golf National. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer
SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France (AP) — Jordan Spieth went the entire PGA Tour season without a victory, and he was the only American on the Ryder Cup team who failed to reach the Tour Championship.
One week can still make this year feel like a success — by winning the Ryder Cup.
"I think if I came out and played really solid golf this week, I would feel like I accomplished a lot this year," Spieth said. "I would feel like I went to places where I needed to build back up and learn a lot from my own game, and the Ryder Cup is a situation where you're playing almost every hole with the same feel as you get on a major championship Sunday in contention."
Spieth lost a share of the 54-hole lead at the British Open. He was on the verge of a record comeback at the Masters until he made bogey on the 18th hole for a 64 and settled for third place. Those were the lone highlights.
He struggled with his putting for the first half of the year and never really caught up. He thought his game was rounding into form until he played poorly at the BMW Championship and wound up 31st in the FedEx Cup.
"I just ran out of gas there," Spieth said. "I should have taken more breaks in the playoffs this year, and I went something like 26 or 28 days from before New York through that Saturday afternoon of BMW, at least six-hour days on the course and gym."
He took a week away from golf and then began slowly working his way back during the Tour Championship.
"I was able to get that rest, look back on the progression that was being made and continue that going forward," he said. "I don't wish that it happened considering it was the end of season. If it was the middle of the season, I would have looked at it like a blessing in disguise. But I certainly wish I was at East Lake, no question. If anything, I will not take that week for granted and work that much harder not to miss it again."
TIGER AND PHIL
Hold off on that return of a Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson pairing in the Ryder Cup. U.S. captain Jim Furyk said Wednesday it's "probably not too likely."
Mickelson raised speculation the day before by saying he and Woods would welcome a chance to play together, adding that he knows the way Furyk is thinking without revealing what he knew.
The question posed to Furyk on Wednesday was how he would feel about "dusting down Hal Sutton's 10-gallon hat?"
That was a reference to Sutton being the captain in 2004 when he sent out Woods and Mickelson twice, both losses. Sutton, who grew up in Louisiana and now lives in Texas, wore a cowboy hat that U.S. caddies had presented to him the morning the matches began.
"I guess nothing's out of the realm," Furyk said. "They did play some golf yesterday. I think they both mentioned it would be a lot better pairing than it was in the past. I'm not really from Texas, so we don't wear a lot of 10-gallon hats in Pennsylvania.
"I won't ever say it wouldn't happen, but it's probably not too likely."
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Brooks Koepka now has at least one award from his season of two majors.
The PGA of America announced Wednesday that Koepka won its points-based Player of the Year award. He effectively clinched that by winning the PGA Championship, just two months after winning the U.S. Open. Majors are worth 20 points, and winning two has a 50-point bonus.
Justin Thomas finished second, 60 points behind.
Dustin Johnson won the Vardon Trophy for the second time in three years for having the lowest adjusted scoring average. He was at 68.698, narrowly defeating Justin Rose, who was at 68.993.
The PGA of America award is different from the PGA Tour award, which is decided by a vote of the players.
TIGER MEETS TIGER
Tiger Woods met another Tiger.
Woods took a break from putting at the Ryder Cup to meet the Junior Ryder Cup teams earlier in the week. As Woods shook the hands of the youngsters standing in a line, he reached a British player named Robin Williams, whose middle name is Tiger.
"You're a big inspiration to me, thank you," the youngster said to Woods, who approached him and gave him a pat.
Woods asked Williams, who is 17 years old and from Peterborough, England, if he would be conflicted when the Ryder Cup begins Friday.
"You can root for Europe," Woods said, "but hope I go 5-0."
At some point this week, Bubba Watson will hit an opening tee shot that will be different from recent Ryder Cups.
It will be quiet.
Watson in 2012 at Medinah was the first player to encourage the massive crowd around the first tee to keep yelling as he was teeing off. The grandstands around the first tee at Le Golf National hold nearly 7,000 people. It will be loud.
The tee shot at No. 1 is difficult and likely will be an iron instead of the big head of a driver, which is easier to hit for an opening shot.
"It's a lot easier when it's a driver off the tee, but this hole, this is a different golf course, different setup," Watson said. "I don't want to get (the crowd) revved up trying to hit a bullet off the tee and fat it 20 yards down the fairway. They told me I can't do it this time."