This Week in Golf -- September 26-28
Phil Mickelson of the United States is playing in his 10th Ryder Cup.
40th Ryder Cup, Gleneagles Resort (PGA Centenary Course), Perthshire, Scotland - A number of the world's best players are in Scotland this week for the 40th Ryder Cup between the United States and Europe.
The United States will head to foreign soil this year with the hopes of reclaiming the Cup after the Europeans escaped with the title at Medinah Country Club in Illinois in 2012. Europe has claimed seven of the last nine Ryder Cups, with the last win for the American's coming in 2008, where they won 16 1/2 - 11 1/2 at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky.
The Europeans had a flare for the dramatic last year as they stormed back from four points deficit on the final day to win 14 1/2 - 13 1/2. Europe won 8 1/2 out of the 12 possible points on Sunday to complete an incredible comeback.
This year's U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer drained a 6-foot par putt on the final hole last year to defeat Steve Stricker 1-up and officially give the Cup to the Europeans.
Despite its recent struggles, the United States owns an overall 25-12-2 record in the Ryder Cup. The last time the Ryder Cup was played on European soil was at Celtic Manor in 2010, where Graeme McDowell defeated Hunter Mahan on the 17th hole on Monday to give Europe the point it needed to earn another 14 1/2 - 13 1/2 victory.
The Americans are led by eight-time major champion Tom Watson, who also captained the 1993 team that last won on European soil. Phil Mickelson will lead the way for the United States as he is playing in his 10th Ryder Cup, which is a United States record.
Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar are also rather experienced at the Ryder Cup. Furyk is playing in his ninth Ryder Cup. Johnson will be competing in his fourth, while this is the third for Watson and Kuchar. Rickie Fowler is playing in his second Ryder Cup, with Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Walker making their first appearances.
Watson's captains picks were Mahan, Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson. Mahan is making his third appearance, while Bradley and Simpson are playing in their second Ryder Cup.
The European's have Paul McGinley, who made the clinching putt for his team at the 2002 Ryder Cup, as their captain. Captains pick Lee Westwood has an 18-13-6 overall record in the Ryder Cup and he is making his ninth career appearance.
Sergio Garcia, who has also had a lot of success at this event with a 16-8-4 record, is playing in his seventh Ryder Cup. Another captains pick, Ian Poulter, will play for the fifth time. He is a perfect 4-0 in singles matches and 12-3 overall.
Europe will be undoubtedly led by world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who won four events this season, including the Open Championship and PGA Championship. McIlroy is making his third appearance at the Ryder Cup along with Thomas Bjorn, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Kaymer. McDowell is also playing for the fourth time.
Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson and final captains pick Stephen Gallacher are all playing in the Ryder Cup for the first time.
Golf Channel will have coverage of Friday's action, while NBC has coverage on Saturday and Sunday.
NATURE VALLEY FIRST TEE OPEN AT PEBBLE BEACH, Pebble Beach Golf Links & Poppy Hills, Pebble Beach, California - The Champions Tour returns from last week's event in Hawaii and are now on the west coast for the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach this week.
Kirk Triplett fired a final-round, 4-under 68 last year to claim a 2-shot victory and successfully defend his title. Triplett has won three times on the Champions Tour, two of which have come at this event. His other victory came at the ACE Group Classic earlier this season.
Triplett finished three rounds at 11-under-par 205, with Doug Garwood and Dan Forsman behind him at 9-under 207. Garwood and Forsman began the day one shot behind Triplett, but they could not go as low as they carded matching 69s.
The two-time defending champion will be back in the field again this week as he goes for a three-peat. Davis Love III is also back in action after making his Champions Tour debut at last week's Pacific Links Hawaii Championship.
Golf Channel will have coverage of all three days of this event, which begins on Friday.
The Champions Tour will take a week off after this event before heading to North Carolina for the SAS Championship, where Russ Cochran outlasted David Frost by one shot last year.