Sep 25, 2014 | 12:25 pm

Ryder Cup Victory

In case you missed it, the USA has already won the Ryder Cup this week in Scotland. Okay, so it was the Junior Ryder Cup, but a win is a win. And a dominating one at that, with a final score of 16-8, the fourth consecutive win for the USA. The competition took place on the Rosemount course (pictured above) at Blairgowrie Golf Club, 40 minutes north of Gleneagles. It could be argued that the venue, which is featured in the fall issue of LINKS, was more impressive than the PGA Centenary course hosting the other Ryder Cup, at least when it comes to architectural pedigree; Old Tom Morris, Alister MacKenzie and James Braid all had a hand in the design of Rosemount. The biennial Junior event, which started in 1997, is different in another way: it pits coed teams (six boys and six girls) from Europe and the USA against each other. The latter is comprised of the top two finishers in the Junior PGA Championship, the winners of the Junior Amateur and Girls’ Junior, and four captain’s picks. The teams play foursomes, mixed four-ball and singles over two days. Notable past participants include two of this year’s Ryder Cuppers, Hunter Mahan (who played on a losing USA squad in 1999) and Rory McIlroy (a member of Europe’s victorious 2004 team). If you are stretching to find any kind of positive omen related to this weekend’s competition, keep in mind that the USA won the 2010 Junior Ryder Cup at Gleneagles 13 ½ to 10 ½. So there’s that.

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Sep 24, 2014 | 04:31 pm

Lefty Jab

Phil Mickelson may have lost his game but not his sense of humor. Lefty is playing in his 10th Ryder Cup—more than any other player in history—but he’s not in the best of form, having failed to qualify for the Tour Championship for the first time in his career (he might not have even made the team if not for a late push at the PGA Championship). At today’s press conference, however, it was vintage Mickelson as he taunted the Euros. In response to a question that the Americans don’t play as well as the Europeans because they aren’t as close, Mickelson said, “Well, not only are we able to play together, we also don’t litigate against each other—and that’s a real plus, I feel, heading into this week.” “Ouch,” said the moderator about the clear reference to the suit between Rory McIlroy and his former management company, of which Graeme McDowell is a partner. Maybe Mickelson was just getting back at Rory for saying he was “on the last few holes of his career” a few weeks ago. Either way, the (golf) gloves are off. Let the matches begin!

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Sep 23, 2014 | 12:57 pm

Dressed for Success?

We may still be a couple of days removed from the start of the Ryder Cup matches but score one point for the U.S. Well, actually score one against  Europe based on these Ron Burgundy Collection team sport jackets. Notice, Henrik Stenson (brown slacks) and Rory McIlroy (blue shoes) are both out of uniform, but it doesn’t matter—nothing works with these cafe curtains. Still, some of the worst fashion faux pas have come from our side—with the garish “photo album” shirts at the Country Club in 1999 and the J.C. Penney look we sported at Palm Beach Gardens in 1983. Somewhat ominously, however, despite losing style points in each of those sartorially sad years, Team USA came back to score a 14 1/2 - 13 1/2 victory.

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Sep 22, 2014 | 06:57 am

No Saving The Wales

Joost Luiten of the Netherlands won the ISPS Handa Wales Open yesterday by one shot. But he may be the last winner in that country for some time as the Wales Open is not coming back next year and its future beyond is in question. The tournament has been played at the Celtic Manor (above) since 2000, part of a 15-year deal that brought the 2010 Ryder Cup to the same venue. This was the last year of the contract and the resort has decided not to renew, at least not for any time soon. If there’s any good news for the European Tour from the event it was the play of a few of their Ryder Cuppers, who used the event as a warm-up for this week’s matches. Welshman Jamie Donaldson finished well in his homeland, tying for fourth. Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn finished T58, one stroke ahead of England’s Lee Westwood. But Stephen Gallacher of Scotland missed the cut. No American Ryder Cup players were in the field, perhaps remembering the team’s poor finish over the same course in 2010.

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