The Latest: US celebrity team beats Europeans at Ryder Cup
SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France (AP) — The Latest on the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National (all times local):
The United States is two-thirds of the way to a clean sweep at the Ryder Cup.
A U.S. team including actor Samuel L. Jackson, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps won a 10-hole Celebrity Challenge Match against the Europeans, 15-13, at Le Golf National, where the Ryder Cup begins Friday.
“Hopefully we started the week off good for the boys, and they go out and get the job done,” said Phelps, a 23-time Olympic gold medalist.
The Americans also won the Junior Ryder Cup at Golf Disneyland on Tuesday.
The Americans are going home with at least one cup still in their possession.
Rachel Heck halved her match against Annabell Fuller that gave the United States the 12½ points it needed to win the Junior Ryder Cup at Golf Disneyland in Paris on Tuesday.
The U.S. team had built a three-point cushion after the opening day of six foursomes and fourballs matches. It only needed five points from the singles match Tuesday and picked up victories by Lucy Li, Yealimi Noah and Ricky Castillo, along with a halve from Rose Zhang.
The Junior Ryder Cup features 12-player teams, males and females, from the United States and Europe. It is played at a golf course near where the Ryder Cup is being held.
The Americans now lead the series 7-4, with six straight victories.
Are Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson due for a reunion at the Ryder Cup?
Mickelson isn’t saying.
He dropped a tease Tuesday in his news conference by saying only that he and Woods would welcome another partnership. The last one didn’t go very well at Oakland Hills in 2004 when they lost both matches on the opening day in what turned out to be a European rout.
Mickelson says he doesn’t like to talk about why the partnership failed in 2004 because he wanted to avoid taking a shot at someone. That’s essentially what he did to 2004 captain Hal Sutton two years ago in his press conference at Hazeltine.
He says the sooner uncertainties are out of the way, the more time players have to prepare.
Mickelson says he knows what U.S. captain Jim Furyk is thinking when it comes to pairings, but that’s as far as he went.
Fresh off his first victory in more than five years, Tiger Woods is eager to address one of the few blemishes on his career record.
The Ryder Cup.
Woods has played on just one winning team in seven appearances, and that was way back in 1999 when the Americans memorably rallied on the final day at Brookline. He says when he looks back over his career, the Ryder Cup struggles are “not something I really enjoy.”
Wood wasn’t able to play because of injuries when the U.S. won in 2008 and 2016. He served as a vice-captain two years ago at Hazeltine, but he says that’s not the same as teeing it up himself.
Woods actually has fewer victories at the Ryder Cup than he does major championships. He’s won just 13 of his 33 matches, losing 17 and halving three others. He has 14 major titles, second only to Jack Nicklaus.
The European team is remembering Spanish golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena at the Ryder Cup.
The 22-year-old Barquin Arozamena was killed last week while practicing at a course near Iowa State, where she was a champion player and finishing up her degree in civil engineering.
The European team will wear yellow ribbons this week. The 12-man squad includes Spaniards Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm.
European captain Thomas Bjorn said the killing “hit everybody in the golf family, and obviously our two Spanish players very much.” He describes Barquin Arozamena as “a great prospect for the game of golf” and “a wonderful person.”
The team consulted with Barquin Arozamena’s mother before making the decision to honor her with ribbons.
Yellow was her favorite color.
Tommy Fleetwood heads into his first Ryder Cup inspired by a message of support from one of soccer’s most respected coaches.
Among the motivational videos shown in Europe’s team room on Monday was one sent to Fleetwood by Pep Guardiola, the manager of English champion Manchester City.
They have struck up a close friendship in recent months and were on the course together in May when Guardiola found out that City had won the Premier League title. They also teamed up in the pro-am ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth that month.
“We talk a lot,” Fleetwood said, “and he’s somebody that’s great to know.”
Guardiola is a big golf fan and was at the 2012 Ryder Cup in Medinah, when the European team came from 10-6 down going into the singles.
“That’s one of the greatest times he’s had in his life, being at that Ryder Cup,” Fleetwood said. “It has a special place in his heart, the Ryder Cup.”
The Ryder Cup brings out the rawest of emotions.
Just don’t expect any big outbursts from Francesco Molinari.
The laid-back Italian, who picked up the biggest victory of his career at this year’s British Open, isn’t about to change his personality at Le Golf National.
“There’s no point in trying to be something that you’re not,” Molinari said. “I think we need to obviously embrace the support of the crowds, and we’ll try to do that. But then, yeah, I’ll be the same me that I’ve always been, and we’ll see. If I get paired with someone that has a bit more flair, probably there will be a balance, as well.”
Molinari said his style blends just fine with all the high-energy players on the European team.
“Look, it’s a great week,” he said. “It’s the highest adrenaline and the highest pressure you’re ever going to feel on a golf course. I think the biggest thing is you need to deal with it the way you deal with it normally and in the way you know you can be successful.”
To build unity, the European team watched a video from Irish impressionist Conor Moore, who really had everyone rolling with his portrayal of Molinari.
“Fran’s has made me giggle for about 10 hours now,” Tommy Fleetwood said.
When the Ryder Cup returns to Europe in 2022, it will be held in Italy for the first time at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club near Rome.
But Italy’s first major champion has no desire to serve as a playing captain, which hasn’t been attempted since Arnold Palmer pulled off a dual role for the Americans in 1963.
“There’s enough stuff going on, you know, if you’re a player or a captain,” the 35-year-old Molinari said. “And in your home country ... I would probably lose a few years of my life and I don’t want to do that, honestly.”
Hey, that sounded like a bit of personality coming through.
“Can’t you tell the difference?” Molinari deadpanned, breaking everyone up.
The Ryder Cup begins with banter and laughs. The pressure comes later.
The Europeans haven’t lost on home soil in 25 years. Half of their team was in America on Sunday for the Tour Championship won by Tiger Woods. They got together for the first time Monday night and laughed through a 10-minute video of Irish impressionist Conor Moore.
Francesco Molinari won the British Open while playing alongside Woods. The Italian says the pressure of trying to win his first major is nowhere near what he feels during a Ryder Cup.
After team photos Tuesday morning, players set out for their first official practice round at Le Golf National.
Woods was in the same practice group as Phil Mickelson, who is making his record 12th consecutive appearance.
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