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Ryder Cup: News and notes from Wednesday, Sept. 28

HAZELTINE GOES THE DISTANCE

The 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club will be conducted at 7,628 yards. The following are the yardage for the four men’s major championships conducted at Hazeltine:

1970 U.S. Open – 7,155
1991 U.S. Open – 7,149
2002 PGA Championship – 7,355
2009 PGA Championship – 7,674

HAZELTINE EXPERIENCE

Hazeltine National Golf Club has played host to a number of historic golf tournaments, including the 1991 U.S. Open, 2002 and 2009 PGA Championships and 2006 U.S. Amateur.   Of the 24 players competing at the 41st Ryder Cup, 13 have played in a competitive event at Hazeltine.  Phil Mickelson leads the way with three appearances, while Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood and Dustin Johnson have each played at Hazeltine on two separate occasions.  

Several members of Team Europe and Team USA enjoyed great success at the 2009 PGA Championship. Lee Westwood (T3), Rory McIlroy (T3), Martin Kaymer (T6), Henrik Stenson (T6), Dustin Johnson (T10) and Zach Johnson (T10) each left Hazeltine with Top 10 finishes.  Vice Captains Tiger Woods (2) and Padraig Harrington (T10) also found their names near the top of the leaderboard.

PHIL’S RECORD-TYING 11th RYDER CUP 

In each of Phil Mickelson’s 11 Ryder Cups, he earned his spot on the U.S. Team as a qualifier. He’s never been a Captain’s pick. Mickelson ties Nick Faldo for the most appearances in Ryder Cup history.

MAJOR PLAYERS

Both the United States and Europe teams feature five Major Champions.  Europe has combined for nine Major victories: Rory McIlroy (4), Martin Kaymer (2), Justin Rose (1), Henrik Stenson (1) and Danny Willett (1). The U.S. Team has five players owning a combined 11 Majors: Phil Mickelson (5), Zach Johnson (2), Jordan Spieth (2), Dustin Johnson (1) and Jimmy Walker (1).

ROOKIES ON CAMPUS

Despite having six rookies, Europe enters the 41st Ryder Cup with more overall experience.  Europe has a combined 28 appearances versus a U.S. Team’s 26 appearances with two rookies.

DARREN VS. DAVIS: PART V

Team Captains Davis Love III and Darren Clarke both played in the 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2004 Ryder Cups.  During that stretch, Love and Clarke competed head-to-head twice in Four-Balls, once in Foursomes and once in Singles, resulting in a 2-1-1 record for Clarke.  Their lone Singles match came in 2004 and ended as a halve.

HISTORIC DOUBLE DIGITS

With Lee Westwood making his 10th Ryder Cup appearance and Phil Mickelson making his 11th, two players on opposing teams have at least 10 appearances for the first time in Ryder Cup history.  In the previous nine Ryder Cups leading back to their first meeting in 1997, Westwood and Mickelson have faced off head-to-head six times.  Entering the 41st Ryder Cup, Westwood holds the edge with a 3-2-1 record.  None of the six matches have been in the Singles format.

CELEBRITY MATCHES MAKE WAVES

For the second time in U.S. Ryder Cup history, a celebrity pro-am preceded the tradition competitive schedule of the event. Tuesday’s nine-hole Celebrity Matches was the first structured competition between celebrities from Europe and the United States. The 2012 Celebrity Matches at Medinah (Illinois) Country Club didn’t feature an opposing team plan.

PHOTOS: RYDER CUP FANS ROCK HAZELTINE

Tuesday’s headliners included Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps, comedian/actor Bill Murray, actor Kurt Russell, women’s tennis legend Martina Navratilova and rock ‘n roll veteran Huey Lewis.  The U.S. team won 14-0, with the winning scores from each individual match forming the cumulative final total.

FRIENDSHIP MATCH        

Junior Ryder Cup players participated in the 5th annual Junior Friendship Match.  Two players from the victorious Junior Ryder Cup United States squad teamed up with two players from Team Europe to compete in a best ball format.  The six foursomes were named after Ryder Cup sites: Team Gleneagles, Team Hazeltine, Team Le Golf National, Team Whistling Straits, Team Marco Simone and Team Bethpage.

THEY SAID IT

“I think it’s Minnesota. They can have so much fun when it’s cloudy and rainy; just as much as those in Pebble Beach have fun when the sun is out.” – Bill Murray

“I chatted with some of the guys last night (Monday) for a bit, and talked about coming together. Swimming and golf are individualistic sports, but when you do come together to represent your country, you HAVE to come together as a team. I think as Americans we do that so well.” – Michael Phelps

“I got a couple chuckles out of 2020, but it’s never happening again. I know I’ve said it before, but I’m young. This is it.” –Michael Phelps, owner of 28 medals in four previous Olympic Games, on speculation about competing in Tokyo

“I’ve played in a lot of pro-ams, but when I got here and looked around I could sense this was something different. What an amazing day! Our foursome had a blast, and my caddie gave me the best reads anywhere.” —Actor Kurt Russell