No Favors for Monty from Faldo

By Associated PressOctober 23, 2007, 4:00 pm
Nick Faldo pretended to have trouble understanding the question through a telephone line piped into a sound system at Valhalla Golf Club. Perhaps that was because the subject was his recent criticism of Colin Montgomerie.
 
On another occasion, however, he came through loud and clear, even though he didn't mention Monty by name.
 
'Match play, putting is unbelievably important,' Faldo said. 'It covers up a multitude of sins. You've got to be a good putter to play match play, and I think you get that from the psychology of match play. You're not worried about, or not thinking about, the next stroke. There's no lagging, or very rarely.'
 
It was another dose of insight from Faldo, whose credentials surpass any previous Ryder Cup captain for Europe.
 
Along with his six majors, he has participated in 11 Ryder Cups and won more points than anyone in its 80-year history. He also has spent time on just about every television channel as an analyst, which has enabled some of his contemporaries to finally get an idea what was going through his mind during all those years of winning.
 
Still, there might have been more to his comments Monday than how to putt.
 
Considering his history with Montgomerie, the most recent example coming two weeks ago when Faldo criticized him for skipping meetings at the Seve Trophy, there seemed to be an indirect message to the surly Scot.
 
Don't expect any favors.
 
Europe only last month began its Ryder Cup qualifying. Now is not the time for Montgomerie to panic, but he began the year at No. 17 in the world ranking and already has fallen to No. 53. His putting has been the weakest part of his game, as always, and for someone who will turn 45 next year, age certainly isn't going to help that.
 
Montgomerie has played in every Ryder Cup since 1991. His 23 1/2 points are second only to Faldo and Bernhard Langer. He has never lost a singles match, and one more singles victory would break the Ryder Cup record he shares with the likes of Faldo, Billy Casper, Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead.
 
Yet, that won't assure him a spot on the team, especially not with Faldo as the captain.
 
They were contemporaries, but rarely rivals. Montgomerie narrowly beat him to capture his first Order of Merit in 1993, but Faldo spent the rest of his decade focusing on the PGA TOUR, the toughest tour in golf, where Monty never won.
 
Their social relationship began to slide in 1999, two weeks before the Ryder Cup. Faldo was at the Canadian Open when he was asked why Montgomerie, who was on his way to a seventh consecutive Order of Merit, had never tried to spend a full season on the PGA TOUR.
 
'I'm surprised he hasn't thought of doing something different as a challenge,' Faldo said. 'But hell, I think he likes to earn his fat checks each week, which is no harm in that, I guess. If you're motivated by that. A few are. Most of us go for 10 claret jugs.'
 
Montgomerie was hurt. European captain Mark James was so outraged that when Faldo wrote the team a note wishing them well, James tore it up and tossed it in the trash.
 
Now that Faldo is captain, he will do things his way, take who he thinks are the best players and apologize for nothing.
 
As captain of the Seve Trophy -- matches between Britain and Ireland against continental Europe -- he left Paul McGinley off the team, meaning there would be no Irishman at a tournament in Ireland. It took an uglier turn when McGinley then resigned as Faldo's vice captain for the Ryder Cup, saying he wanted to concentrate on making the team.
 
That was merely a scene in the Ryder Cup soap opera, and many more are likely to play out over the next 11 months.
 
What really caused a stink was when Faldo criticized one of his players in the press, taboo for a captain.
 
'Monty's a tough one,' he told the Times of London. 'He was the only one whose emotions I had to deal with. He only came to two of the five team meetings, so that was disappointing. Then he had to be teased out onto the 18th green to support his team. The bottom line was that he hadn't won a point. That's why I sent him out first in singles. That's the place to get a point. And he did.'
 
Two past captains, Bernard Gallacher and Sam Torrance, quickly rose to Monty's defense. They said he was the consummate team player, Faldo was anything but that and Faldo would learn from his mistake.
 
'No fallout,' Faldo said tersely when the question about his critcism of Monty finally came through clearly.
 
Maybe he was being smart not to stir the pot again. Then again, it's hard to believe he made his comments to the Times without realizing the ramifications. All that can be certain is that Faldo will do things his way, just as he did when he became the world' No. 1 player.
 
'I'm me and I will do what I feel is best,' he said. 'I know what I can bring to the team.'
 
One of the most amazing transformations in golf was from Faldo, the prickly superstar with few words and even fewer friends, to Faldo, the golf analyst with a dry wit who can't stop talking.
 
Being a captain makes him competitive again.
 
'My days of winning majors have gone, and now this is the biggest project in my golf career right now,' he said. 'So yes, it's very important to me.'
 
There is an aura about Faldo that appeals to a younger generation -- Paul Casey, Nick Dougherty, Luke Donald -- who grew up with Faldo as the face of European golf. His contemporaries, such as Torrance and James, have experienced the selfish side of Nasty Nick.
 
But they won't be playing for him.
 
And if Montgomerie doesn't make the team on his own, he might not be, either.
 
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  • Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

    By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

    The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

    Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

    What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

    Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

    Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

    Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

    Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

    Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

    Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

    Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

    SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

    Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

    ''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

    But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

    In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

    ''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

    Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

    The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

    ''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

    NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

    Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

    Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

    Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

    "He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

    The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

    Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

    "I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

    Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

    "From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

    "And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

    "There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."