Last Chance for Overlooked Presidents Cup

By Associated PressAugust 7, 2007, 4:00 pm
PGA ChampionshipTULSA, Okla. -- Tiger Woods did one commercial in which he talked to a portrait of Bobby Jones looking for an omen. He didn't have to speak at all in another commercial, only whistle 'Eye of the Tiger' while lacing up his golf shoes.
The PGA TOUR has persuaded just about everyone to talk about the cup this year.
But only one cup runneth over.
'It's all about the FedExCup this year,' Woods said in a tone of voice that did not suggest overwhelming support.
Woods is not a huge fan of any cup except one where he might hide petty cash. But even he found it peculiar that the Presidents Cup has been all but ignored this year. The PGA TOUR is pouring every ounce of its promotional support -- and that's a lot coming from the folks in Ponte Vedra Beach -- into a cup that players have not fully embraced, if they even understand it.
The TOUR can tell you mathematical odds of the players who stand the best chance of winning the $10 million prize.
But there has barely been a peep about Hunter Mahan or Lucas Glover trying to make the Presidents Cup team for the first time, or about Steve Stricker getting back for the first time in 11 years, or even the possibility that Mike Weir might miss out on what figures to be the biggest golf event in Canada's history.
'I guess there's only room for one cup a year,' Scott Verplank deadpanned Tuesday.
What a waste of momentum.
The Presidents Cup will never measure up to the Ryder Cup, but it was coming into its own after two spectacular events.
There was that infamous tie in South Africa in 2003, when Woods and Ernie Els faced a sudden-death playoff with the Presidents Cup riding on the outcome. Both said it was the most pressure they ever felt on a golf course, and everyone was relieved when it was called a draw because of darkness.
The score was settled two years later, and it was equally riveting. It came down to the final hole of the final match, when Chris DiMarco hit an amazing shot from the bunker to 15 feet and made the putt, then ran into the arms of captain Jack Nicklaus.
Both scenes would make for a great commercial, certainly better than Woods whistling 'Eye of the Tiger,' Trevor Immelman in a restroom using his hairbrush as a microphone or Zach Johnson and Dean Wilson reciting poetry.
Then again, the PGA TOUR doesn't have a financial obligation to the Presidents Cup the way it does to a shipping company in Memphis, Tenn., that shelled out $40 million for a competition that might lose interest after a few years, if not sooner.
What a shame.
NBC is televising the Presidents Cup, which will be played Sept. 27-30 at Royal Montreal, the oldest golf club in North America. The tour could have done the network a small favor by at least mentioning that the matches will be held this year, but it was too busy force-feeding the FedExCup on its other television partners.
NBC still has time to do that on its own, particularly since it will televise the last three FedExCup events.
'It gives us a platform we didn't have before,' NBC spokesman Brian Walker said.
Since the PGA TOUR doesn't appear willing to talk about the Presidents Cup, let us take this opportunity to explain what's at stake going into the final major, and final qualifying event of the season.
Andres Romero, the sensational 26-year-old from Argentina, has shot up from No. 35 to No. 10 in the international standings (based on world rankings) over the last three weeks and figures to be a lock for the team. Even if he gets bumped this week, it would be prudent for captain Gary Player to have another Argentine on a team with U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera.
The real wild card is Weir, who is No. 20 in the standings.
Player took Immelman at No. 22 last time, and it would be a huge mistake for him not to pick Weir. The Presidents Cup is a sellout, but the sure way to deflate some of the excitement is to leave Canada's biggest star inside the ropes. Weir is making strides, and he has the fifth-best cumulative score in the majors this year.
Plus, does anyone really think taking Weir over Stuart Appleby is going to keep the international team from having a chance?
Barring a bizarre set of circumstances, everyone through Stricker at No. 8 appears to be set on the U.S. team, which is determined by PGA TOUR earnings with double dollars in 2007. Glover is No. 10 and about $44,000 ahead of John Rollins.
The bigger question is whom Nicklaus will take for his captain's picks. Few players are hotter than Mahan (No. 14), but everyone else between Nos. 11 and 15 has been sliding. Jerry Kelly (No. 16) is among 13 players to have made the cut in all three majors this year, and he pulled out a clutch victory in South Africa in Sunday singles against Tim Clark.
DiMarco tied for fourth at Firestone -- his first top 10 in more than a year -- to move up to No. 25, and he somehow believes that's worthy of Nicklaus taking a serious look. After all, he made the winning putt last time around.
'I'm hoping he remembers that really well,' DiMarco said. 'I'm hoping he's thinking about that every night.'
It's hard to imagine Nicklaus wide awake at night thinking about the Presidents Cup.
But if did, even for one night, that might be more attention that the PGA TOUR is paying to an event that deserves better.
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    Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

    By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

    After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

     There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

    It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

    It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

    “The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

    In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

    Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

    Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

    “You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

    Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

    Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

    If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

    For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

    Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

    Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

    While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

    When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

    Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

    After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

    The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

    That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

    The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

    While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

    Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

    Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

    “We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

    The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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    Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

    John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

    That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

    Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

    Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

    Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

    Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

    Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

    The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

    Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

    "I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

    Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

    Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

    Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.