Musings and Mulligans

Roy Lang III is The Times Assistant Sports Editor. He played golf at Centenary College. He has covered six major golf championships and also covered last year’s Ryder Cup. As an added bonus, both Hal Sutton and David Toms are on his speed-dial.

Friday, July 21, 2006


The table have turned in the battle for the Ryder Cup. Europe now boasts the best team on paper -- certainly the deeper of the two squads.
Only five would-be American Ryder Cuppers made the cut at Royal Liverpool compared to six for the Euros. As expected, the United States' elite (Tiger, Phil and Furyk) are faring well, but the bottom end of the list isn't doing so well.
A look at how current Ryder Cuppers are faring at the British Open:
(based on up-to-date point standings)
United States
1. Tiger Woods 1st (-12)
2. Phil Mickelson 22nd (-4)
3. Jim Furyk 9th (-5)
4. Chad Campbell 57th (-1)
5. David Toms DNS (back injury)
6. J.J. Henry 91st (missed cut at +2)
7. Zach Johnson 91st (missed cut at +2)
8. Brett Wetterich 91st (missed cut at +2)
9. Vaughn Taylor 57th (-1)
10. Lucas Glover 83rd (missed cut at even par)
11. Davis Love III 106th (missed cut at +3)
12. Fred Couples 91st (missed cut at +2)

David Howell 133rd (missed cut at +6)
Colin Montgomerie 116th (missed cut at +4)
Jose Maria Olazabal 37th (-3)
Henrik Stenson 57th (-1)
Luke Donald 48th (-2)
Paul Casey 48th (-2)
Padraig Harrington 124th (missed cut at +5)
Paul McGinley 72nd (missed cut at even par)
Sergio Garcia 9th (-5)
Paul Broadhurst 48th (-2)


Friday's second round set up perfectly for Tiger Woods to take a hold of the British Open. And how! Tiger's 7-under 65 helped put some serious distance between himself and most of the field. Chris DiMarco and Ernie Els are in contention, but the jam-packed leaderboard is no longer crowded -- at least for the lead.
Tiger's hole-out from more than 200 yards on No. 14 will be replayed forever and his touch around Royal Liverpool's tricky greens has the world's best golfer in position to capture major No. 11.
Woods has never lost a major when leading at the halfway mark.
Els will play with Tiger on Saturday. The only problem I see with Woods' position is his late tee time. If the weather picks up in the afternoon along the Irish Sea, the leaders could play a completely different golf course than guys that are at 4 or 5 under. Woods shot 81 when hurricane-like conditions attacked Muirfield in 2002.
With winds gusting to 30 m.p.h. and rain blowing sideways in the cold (low 50s Fahrenheit), many of the players wore sweaters and wool caps under their rain gear and hats.
Woods went from two behind Els to 11 behind the eventual champion after shooting his 10-over-par 81. Colin Montgomerie followed his second-round 64 with a third-round 84.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


If you didn't believe the recent results in the Ryder Cup, take a look at the world rankings and the leaderboard at the British Open to see how the Americans have been engulfed at the top of the golf world. Tiger Woods is the lone American in the top six at Royal Liverpool. There are just four red, white and blue representatives in the top 19 (Woods, Jim Furyk, Ben Crane and Tom Lehman). Clearly, golfers from all over the world are finding success in men's golf.
A look at the World Rankings:
Members in top 20
Europe 8 (Garcia, Howell, Donald, Montgomerie, Olazabal, Stenson, Harrington, Clarke)
USA 5 (Woods, Mickelson, Furyk, Toms, Cambell)
South Africa 4 (Goosen, Els, Immelman, Clark)
Austraila 2 (Scott, Ogilvy)
Australia's Stuart Appleby and Nick O'Hern rank 21 and 22. The Americans have the top-notch superstars, but need several golfers to step up for some depth if the Ryder Cup will even be competitive.


What a finish for Tiger. Tiger Woods didn't struggle Thursday, but at the same time, he wasn't on his game. Nevertheless Woods eagled the 18th hole at Royal Liverpool to get within one of Graeme McDowell's lead after one round at the British Open. Tiger shot one of the best rounds in the second half of the tee block and that may setup well for Friday, when Woods tees off early (2:58 a.m. Central time, 8:58 in Hoylake). Phil Mickelson on the other hand, while shooting a solid 69 (3 under), will tee off later Friday afternoon (8:31 a.m. Central, 2:31 local). The winds should howl Friday and the course, soaked early Thursday, will be extremely firm and fast in the afternoon, assuming there are no more rains. Tiger Woods is in the driver's seat right now. With a low round Friday morning, he could start to eliminate some of the contenders. There are more than 30 golfers within three shots of the lead.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Wie stumbles, takes hit to rep

Heat exhaustion in 88-degree weather with relatively normal humidity? Umm, OK, that won't give the cynics fuel to add to the battle of the sexes war.
Michelle Wie's star is beginning to fade, and again, it's her "team's" fault. Wie has yet to win. But she's up against some stiff competition.
Now that she's turned pro, there are no more chances for her to play against her age. She's stuck and until she wins something, anything, she will be criticized. And quitting against the men when you're a zillion over because of heat is a joke.
I heard a funny line ... maybe it was the extra 1,000 yards she walked. Stuff like that will continue to be said until ... OK, last time .... she WINS!