Golf Buzz

September 20, 2015 - 7:44pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Allen Wronowski
Montana Pritchard/PGA of America
U.S. PGA Cup Captain Allen Wronowski and his wife, Gail, take in the action Sunday at the 27th PGA Cup.

SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- For the first time in the history of the PGA Cup, the Great Britain and Ireland team has won the Llandudno International Trophy on U.S. soil.

In a dramatic final day that saw matches swing back and forth throughout, the 27th PGA Cup at CordeValle came down to the final of 10 singles matches on the final hole.

Niall Kearney from GB&I holed a 7-footer for par to take a 1-up victory over Alan Morin and snag a 13 1/2- 12 1/2 victory for the visitors.

"The toughest part of this week for me is being the first U.S. Captain to lose the PGA Cup on American soil," U.S. PGA Cup Captain Allen Wronowski said. "It certainly is tough and even more so for me, because I have the utmost respect for my team and how great they are, you just don't want them to not have that trophy. The deserved it. They worked hard."

RELATED: PGA Cup final scoreboard | PGA Cup coverage | Sunday's photos

On the first tee Sunday morning as the singles matches were getting started, Wronowski said he had trouble sleeping the night before and eventually woke up for good around 4 a.m., in anxious anticipation of the day ahead.

He greeted each of his players on the first tee, wishing them well, and then spent the rest of the day logging miles upon miles driving across the vast landscape of CordeValle in a golf cart, rushing to shout words of encouragement to his players, or deliver drinks and snacks -- whatever they needed, Wronowski was there.

While he was confident in his team, you could see Wronowski living and dying with virtually every shot, or every time an updated score was reported over his ear piece.

"We started the day out really positive and everything was going the way we had planned it out, but then all of the sudden they charged like they did at Slaley Hall," said Wronowski, who also captained the U.S. side when it retained the PGA Cup in 2013 with a 13-13 tie at England's Slaley Hall. "Next thing you know, they're making birdies and eagles like there's no tomorrow."

But, the U.S. never gave up the fight. Omar Uresti and Sean Dougherty made huge putts on the final hole to keep the U.S. in it. Uresti's was about a 10-footer for birdie and a 1-up victory, while Dougherty's was about a 6-footer to salvage a crucial half-point.

All of that set things up to put all eyes on that final match between Kearney and Morin.

Morin was fighting an uphill battle, 2-down with two to play. And, it didn't help that his tee shot on the difficult par-4 17th hole found the left fairway bunker.

With virtually everyone on the grounds at CordeValle looking on, Morin delivered arguably the shot of the tournament, sticking his shot from the bunker to within 2 feet of the hole. His birdie putt was conceded and the match moved to the final hole with Morin needing to win the hole to grab the decisive half-point for a 13-13 score and the U.S. to retain the Cup.

By the time the players reached the green at the par-5 18th, it looked to be advantage Morin. Kearney was well over the green in three shots, while Morin was facing a 40-footer for birdie.

Kearney delivered a magnificent fourth shot that settled 5 feet from the hole.

Morin took plenty of time lining up his putt to retain the PGA Cup. Once he sent it on its way, it gave the hole a good look, but failed to drop and he was conceded a par.

Moments later, Kearney provided the winning moment knocking his par putt in the heart of the Cup.

Morin actually walked over to Wronowski and his wife, Gail, and apologized. There was nothing to apologize for.

The only thing that disappointed Wronowski is how great a story it would have been to tell if Morin were the one to retain the Cup.

It was Morin who on Saturday talked his way out of a spot in the afternoon foursomes, explaining to Wronowski the team would be better served with a longer hitter in his spot. It was an incredibly unselfish and commendable act.

"The unselfishness of a player is what I'll remember most about this week," Wronowski said. "Alan Morin. What he did -- offering up a line up change for what he thought would be in the betterment of the team and then to have him almost win the Cup for us would have been the most fitting."

Though Wronowski won't be taking the Llandudno International Trophy home, he will be leaving CordeValle with a very special piece of hardware. At a dinner on Saturday night, the U.S. Team presented Wronowski with a statue of a flying eagle -- something that has particular significance to Wronowski, who works with the Folds of Honor, a foundation supports the familes of our fallen soldiers.

"It seems pretty unbelievable to me to get a statue of the flying eagle," said Wronowski, choked up and fighting back tears, "With what I do with the military and different things and the words from Bob Sowards and how much I meant to this team, he said they couldn't ask for a better captain and that brings a lot of emotion to the front."

In two years, the U.S. will head across the pond looking to reclaim the Llandudno International Trophy. With Sunday's defeat, the U.S. is now 17-6-4 all time in the PGA Cup.


September 20, 2015 - 5:47pm
mark.aumann's picture
Rickie Fowler
PGA Tour/Twitter
Rickie Fowler couldn't believe the bounce his ball took Sunday after ricocheting off a rock.

Sometimes in golf, forces align against you ... in good ways.

On the 18th hole during Sunday's final round of the BMW Championship, Rickie Fowler faced a long approach shot to reach the green in 2. He went for it instead of laying up, but this happened instead:



It wasn't the result Fowler expected, but the ricochet off a rock turned out to be a perfect place for a layup, rather than being wet in the creek.

He went on to par the hole and finish with a final-round 69. That's good enough for a tie for third place and should move him into second place in the FedExCup points heading into next week's Tour Championship at East Lake.




September 19, 2015 - 10:23pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture

SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- Here are the tee times and pairings for Sunday's Singles session of the 27th PGA Cup:

9:30 a.m. PT: Michael Block (USA) v. Gareth Wright (GB&I)

9:40 a.m. PT: Stuart Deane (USA) v. David Dixon (GB&I)

9:50 a.m. PT: Ben Polland (USA) v. Graham Fox (GB&I)

10 a.m. PT: Jamie Broce (USA) v. Jason Levermore (GB&I)

10:10 a.m. PT: Omar Uresti (USA) v. Michael Watson (GB&I)

10:20 a.m. PT: Matt Dobyns (USA) v. Cameron Clark (GB&I)

10:30 a.m. PT: Sean Dougherty (USA) v. Lee Clarke (GB&I)

10:40 a.m. PT: Bob Sowards (USA) v. Paul Hendriksen (GB&I)

10:50 a.m. PT: Grant Sturgeon (USA) v. Alex Wrigley (GB&I)

11 a.m. PT: Alan Morin (USA) v. Niall Kearney (GB&I)

September 19, 2015 - 10:14pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
T.J. Auclair/
U.S. PGA Cup Captain Allen Wronowski (left) gathers his players in the team room following Saturday's play. The U.S. and GB&I are tied at 8-8 with only Sunday's singles matches remaining.

SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- The 27th PGA Cup between the U.S. and Great Britain & Ireland was always going to be close here at CordeValle.

Going into Sunday's 10 singles matches, it couldn't be any closer. Through two days and four sessions, the sides are knotted at 8-8.

And when you talk about "close," the U.S. team couldn't be any closer.

U.S. Captain Allen Wronowski addressed his squad in the team room just behind the first tee at CordeValle as the final match ended Saturday evening. He made it a point to single out Alan Morin, who volunteered to sit out the afternoon Foursomes session, admitting to himself and his captain that his length -- or lack thereof -- might be a detriment to a teammate in the alternate-shot format.

RELATED: PGA Cup scoreboard | Morin proves there's no "I" in team | Photos

"Golf is the purest game there is," Wronowski said. "You talk about the integrity, the honesty, the sportsmanship -- all those beautiful values. To have a player come over and say, 'I think we need to rethink what we're doing, and I think we need to make a change,' that's just amazing. You know how much he wants to play every match, but he was thinking about what we needed to do as a team. That's very selfless and quite commendable."

After Wronowski shared that with the team, Stuart Deane -- who notched the lone outright win of the afternoon (the teams split the foursomes session, 2-2) with teammate Michael Block -- chimed in with a little story about Morin, the cheerleader.

When Deane and Block had their lead cut to 1-up at the 12th hole, Morin rolled up in a cart and asked, "What's happening?"

Deane said they were giving charity to the GB&I team by way of a couple of miscues that opened a door.

Morin shot back with, "Well, this ain't a Pro-Am! Quit handing out charity!"

Deane said the pep talk -- while funny -- pumped him up. The U.S. then birdied three of the next five holes to win 2&1.

Omar Uresti, who holed a crucial eagle putt in the morning session for a halve, also jumped into the conversation and noted how his teammate -- Sean Dougherty -- got in his face when the two trailed 3-down. Next thing you know, the duo won the last three holes to salvage a halve.

In the team room, Uresti has been arguably the team's biggest cheerleader. He's undoubtedly the most accomplished player in the room, having made 351 starts on the PGA Tour. Where some might feel compelled to puff out their chest with those credentials, Uresti instead has made it a point to get his teammates to believe they can win on Sunday.

"I had obviously heard about Omar Uresti, but didn't know much about him until this week, except for his impressive resume," Wronowski said. "Having been around him now, I have to say he's one of the most impressive men I've ever met. He's been such an inspiration in the team room. I sat him this afternoon and he jumped in a cart and pumped everyone up out on the course. He's given our guys confidence and he's been an outstanding team leader."

Wronowski has a team not only invested in winning, but invested in one another.

"I feel really good about where we are and about how the players are playing," Wronowski said. "They're right there to pick each other up if someone needs it. Tomorrow they go off in singles and I like our chances. I really think we're going to win that trophy. This team deserves it. They've worked so hard, they've prepared so hard and they've played so hard. I would love to come out of here for these guys with a 'W.'"

September 19, 2015 - 6:24pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Omar Uresti
Montana Pritchard/PGA of America
Omar Uresti holed an eagle putt from just off the green on No. 18 in Saturday's fourballs session to earn a crucial half-point for the U.S. PGA Cup team. At one point in his match, Uresti and his teammate, Sean Dougherty, trailed 3-down.

Click here to return to the 2015 PGA Cup home page

SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- In match play, it's not over until it's over. Strange things can -- and will -- happen.

In Saturday morning's Fourballs session in the 27th PGA Cup at CordeValle, U.S. teammates Omar Uresti and Sean Dougherty found themselves trailing 3-down with three holes to play.

Things looked grim and it seemed as though Great Britain & Ireland would grab another 3-1 win in Fourballs like it did on Friday.

Not so fast.

RELATED: PGA Cup scoreboard | Morin proves there's no "I" in team | Photos

Uresti and Dougherty saved their best for the final three holes, finishing birdie-birdie-eagle to steal a half point from GB&I's Gareth Fox and David Dixon.

Uresti put an exclamation point on the halve when he holed an unlikely 15-footer for eagle from just off the back of the par-5 18th green.

You can see it here:


Watch Omar Uresti nail this eagle putt from off the green to snag a crucial halve for the U.S. in morning Fourballs. #PGACup

Posted by on Saturday, September 19, 2015


"I love it when he starts walking," Dougherty said of Uresti on No. 18, "because you know it's going in. I bet I've seen it seven times this week and that's when it's a good 6-7 feet from the hole too and it goes straight in the middle. My man is gritty."

Uresti kept the match alive when he made a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 16. Dougherty made a birdie from 5 feet on No. 17 to move the match to 18 where the magic happened.

"I knew I had to get it there and I hit it right where I wanted," Uresti said. "I felt like I hit it right where I needed to and it went in, so I was very happy. I haven't gotten that excited over hitting a putt in a long time."

Interestingly, Uresti says his putting has improved this week after a lesson with putting guru Dave Stockton -- a two-time PGA Champion and 1991 winning U.S. Ryder Cup Captain -- who visited the U.S. PGA Cup team on Tuesday.

"We just changed the way I walked into the ball," Uresti said. "It wasn't anything major with the stroke or anything, it was just the way that I approached the putt and set up walking into it. It was a minor adjustment, but it has helped a lot and I thank him for it. But it was minor. If you watched me putt before and you watched me putt now, you probably wouldn't be able to tell much difference."

Back in June at the PGA Professional Championship when Uresti was told he was still on the bubble for the U.S. PGA Cup team, his response was, "That's great! What's the PGA Cup?"

When it was explained to Uresti that the PGA Cup is the club professional version of the Ryder Cup, U.S. Captain Allen Wronowski said Uresti was the first call he received from any player on the team expressing his excitement to be heading to CordeValle.

Since then, Wronowski said Uresti -- a former long-time PGA Tour player -- has been a star amongst his teammates.

"This is just awesome," Uresti said. "I love being part of a team. This game is typically for individuals, but playing as a team makes it very special." 

September 19, 2015 - 5:58pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Alan Morin
Montana Pritchard/PGA of America
Alan Morin was scheduled to play in Saturday's Foursomes session until he convinced U.S. Captain Allen Wronowski to pull him from the line up in favor of a longer hitter.


SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- Sometimes the biggest contribution an individual can make to a team is admitting they probably can't make a contribution.

Huh? Follow me for a minute.

Alan Morin, representing the U.S. in his second PGA Cup, was paired with Grant Sturgeon on Saturday morning in the Fourballs session. U.S. Captain Allen Wronowski also had that same duo penciled in to play together again in the afternoon alternate-shot session.

But that's when Morin put his team ahead of himself.

RELATED: PGA Cup scoreboard | Saturday's photos | Saturday's Foursomes pairings

Ever the grinder and a tremendous player in his own right, Morin wasn't too proud to speak up and admit to Wronowski and Sturgeon that he probably wasn't the greatest fit for alternate shot.

The reason? The length of CordeValle's par 4s. Morin felt he'd be a burden to the much longer Sturgeon on the holes where Morin was to tee off for the team.

"It was incredibly unselfish of him to tell me that," Wronowski said. "What a team guy."

"I thought about it," Morin said. "I talked to Grant about it. Trust me, I want to be out there. I'm as competitive as any of the guys here and I want to be out there right now. But, after seeing the place for a couple of days and giving it a lot of thought, I told Allen on No. 8 during the morning session, 'Think about having someone else play with Grant in the alternate shot. I'm interested in winning this Cup. There is no 'I' in this team. I understand you want me out there, but there are several holes out here where length is a requirement off the tee and I don't have that. I can't give that to Grant in an alternate shot format.'"

And don't be mistaken, folks. Morin was no ball and chain before making this decision for Wronowski. He and Sturgeon snagged the lone full point for the U.S. team Saturday morning, defeating GB&I's Michael Watson and Paul Hendriksen, 4&2.

Taking Morin's spot on Saturday afternoon was Sean Dougherty. Dougherty and Omar Uresti rallied back from a 3-down deficit to pull out a halve in Fourballs action thanks to a 20-foot eagle putt Uresti holed from just off the back of the 18th green.

The Foursomes matches began Saturday afternoon with the two sides tied at 6-6.

After a quick lunch, Morin planned to jump in a cart and bounce from hole to hole to cheer on his teammates.

"This is more important than me playing right now," he said. "The prize at the end of the road is winning the Cup. If I have to sit out to get us a point, then I'll gladly sit out. It's not a problem."