Brooks Koepka found no reason to be intimidated by playing in the Ryder Cup because golf isn’t a contact sport.
But it became one under the worst circumstances. And it shook him up.
Koepka’s wild tee shot on the par-4 sixth hole struck a woman in the gallery and bloodied her head.
— Boomberg News (@BoombergNews2) September 28, 2018
He said he checked on her condition after his round and had not heard any update from Ryder Cup officials.
“It’s not a fun feeling. I probably do it way more than I should,” he said. “You feel terrible for them. You know exactly how they are feeling, especially when you’ve got to go over there and apologize because they are in pain, usually bleeding, and then to hit her in the face is not … you don’t want to hit anybody in the face, especially not a woman, and it’s not a good feeling.
“I just wanted to get out of there. We’ll get an update on her, but hopefully she’s doing good.”
Koepka says he yelled, “Fore!” but wasn’t sure it would have mattered. The wind was slightly into the players on the sixth hole, and Koepka tends to hit his driver upward of 300 yards when in mild temperatures.
“The problem is, you shout, ‘Fore,’ but from 300 yards, how are you supposed to hear it? How are you supposed to know?” Koepka said. “From 300 yards, even if none of us said, ‘Fore,’ she’s going to get hit. And that’s the unfortunate thing.”
A spark has been missing in Sergio Garcia’s game since he captured his first major at the Masters last year.
He rediscovered it at his beloved Ryder Cup.
After sitting out the morning fourballs, Garcia teamed with Alex Noren in a 5-and-4 rout of Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau that was fueled by a run of five birdies in seven holes on the front nine.
Not only will it boost Garcia’s confidence in a year when he missed the cut at all four majors, it went some way to justifying Thomas Bjorn’s decision to hand the Spaniard a captain’s pick despite other players being in better form.
“He had a tough year. When you play this game for a long time, sometimes when things are not going your way, you kind of write things off and then your goals change and what you want to do,” Bjorn said. “And I’ve felt all along with him that if I made that phone call to him, that he was going to be in this team, well then he would regroup his whole world.”
Garcia has won 23½ points at the Ryder Cup, the same as Colin Montgomerie. Two more points will take him past Nick Faldo (25) as the leading scorer from either team in the competition and he’ll get a shot at breaking the record at Le Golf National.
He is playing with Rory McIlroy against Koepka and Finau in the morning fourballs on Saturday.
Phil Mickelson made it official when he played a foursomes match by competing in 12 consecutive Ryder Cups, the most by any player. He also tied Faldo by playing in his 46th match.
But it’s not all good news for Lefty.
He and DeChambeau lost, 5 and 4, to Garcia and Noren. It was his 21st career loss, which broke the American record for most losses. One more loss and Mickelson would have the overall record for most losses. He is tied with Christy O’Connor and Neil Coles.
On this day, even Mickelson’s best golf might not have been enough. Garcia and Noren played a superb match of alternate shot, making five birdies against no bogeys on the front nine in the wind on a strong golf course with a premium on driving.
“Even if we had played really well, it would have been tough to hang with them,” Mickelson said. “They played incredibly well on the front?”
What was Mickelson doing in foursomes instead of fourballs? U.S. captain Jim Furyk said Le Golf National sets up for a lot of irons off the tee, and Mickelson is one of the better iron players.
“The golf course is tight,” Furyk said. “I realize you have to hit a lot of fairways. It’s also a place where you’re probably not hitting a lot of drivers if you’re Phil Mickelson and you’re hitting a lot of 3-woods and a lot of irons. Looking at his game, he’s a very good iron player, so I felt comfortable.”
RYDER CUP RECORDS
Sergio Garcia won another foursomes match, improving to 10-3-3. He also moved closer to the Ryder Cup record in foursomes. Garcia tied Faldo and Seve Ballesteros with his 10th victory, and is one short of Bernhard Langer, who won 11 such matches.
Throw in the three halves, and Garcia matched Langer’s record of contributing 11½ points.
Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed were all square with Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari on the 15th hole, and Woods had a decision to make. He missed the fairway to the left, and with water all around the green, he wasn’t sure the lie was good enough to carry the water.
So he decided to lay up and try to make par with his wedge.
“I didn’t want to leave him in the hole alone,” Woods said. “By dumping it in the water, he’s got to play the hole alone. I told him, ‘Hey, the worst score I’m going to make over here with my wedge game right now is probably par. I’ll hit up there inside 10 feet. I’ll make par and that should free you up to be a little more aggressive and make birdie.'”
It sounded like a good plan, except that Reed hit into the water. Woods hit his wedge to about 8 feet and never had a chance to make the par putt. Molinari also went in the water, but Fleetwood hit it 15 feet left on the fringe and made the putt.
Europe birdied the next two holes and won the match.
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