The Cup Runneth Over

By Brian HewittSeptember 19, 2008, 4:00 pm
LOUISVILLE, Ky. ' The Comebacker is all about the Ryder Cup this week. Its his favorite event in golf. The anticipation is killing him. Lets tee it up. Right now.
 
Without further ado:
 
Scott writes: Nick Faldo is blessed with a stellar core of seasoned veterans along with the emotional maturing of Sergio Garcia. However, there are four rookies on Faldo's squad. While these men are professionals, there is always room for someone of Darren Clarke's experience. The U.S. needs a victory in the worst way. This is looking like the American Leagues dominance over the National League in the All-Star Game.
 
The Comebacker Actually 10 of the 24 players are rookies. That adds up to more than 40 percent of those in the event. Six on the American side, four on the Euro team. I call that a wash. And by the way, since not one American on Paul Azingers team has a career winning record in Ryder Cup play, I would hesitate to make comparisons to baseball All-Star games.
 

Gary writes: I disagree with you comments about crowd noise. Instead of an SEC football game, it will probably be more like the roar at Rupp Area during a Kentucky basketball game. Unbelievable noise.
 
The Comebacker We can only be hopeful the fans wont stand in the sight line of players and shake pom-poms while they putt. That might be OK in college hoops for free throws. But even in the heat of Ryder Cup, that would be a non-starter.
 

Mark writes: Regarding J.B. Holmes..I am a Lexington, Ky. native, and although I love J.B. and his game, he was not worthy of a selection. Not even close. One of the worst putters on TOUR and his GIR has been terrible of late, not to mention missing five of eight cuts. This was nothing more than a homer pick by Zinger and were it not being held at Valhalla, he would not be on the team.
 
The Comebacker
Apparently Mark doesnt love J.B. and his game all THAT much.
 

Jim writes: I keep saying it and no one listens: 'The USA will win this years Ryder Cup.' Nick Faldo has just confirmed that he has no idea of what makes a team jell. To leave Clarke out is a travesty, but the bigger travesty is not having Montgomerie in the team. In past times Monty has had average years, but always rose to the occasion when the Ryder contest was played. There is too much concentration on statistics by everyone, you included. If you remove three players, Harrington, Westwood, and Garcia the remainder are 7-9-7, that is a losing record. It also does not include four rookies in this years squad of Europeans. Mickelson, Furyk and Cink will have to handle the Euros top three, after that it is a crap shoot and I have to give our lot a better chance as they have fan support and are playing at home. They also have something to prove with Tiger being on the sidelinesOne other item: For years we have dodged a bullet in this contest. That bullet is the fact that no one has been injured in the early part of the contest and has been unable to play. We have had an illness at the end, this was just before the singles match and the other team sat one of their players and a half point was shared. What if that half point was critical? What if the injury happened on the first day? I have always believed that the teams should select an alternate just in case. I can hear the complaints right now, forget them, this is supposed to be about sportsmanship and the enjoyment of moment by the most important people to golf, THE FANS.
 
The Comebacker We dont usually reprint e-mails this long but Jims thoughts were compelling. Some compellingly wrong and some just plain compelling. An alternate would only be needed for the singles and the envelope policy, I think, adds a bit of intrigue to the event.
 

D.R. writes: Living in the Florida Panhandle, I have watched Joe, Boo, Heath and Bubba come along. This observation: Anyone who leaves BUBBA WATSON off of this team is insane; he is one of the best match-players that I've ever seen. If you're gong to open up the course down-range (as Azinger has done), then load up with bombers; you only play one-hole-at-a-time in match-play, then you re-begin on the next tee box. Leaving Watson off of the team is a HUGE mistake, regardless of TOUR standing..
 
The Comebacker
The designated bomber on Azingers team is the local guy, J.B. Holmes. Tough to argue with that.
 

Michelle writes: Thank you, thank you, thank you for calling out the 'you da man.' I don't know how Tiger can stand it! I sometimes have to mute my television because it drives me crazy!
 
The Comebacker
You da woman, Michelle.
 

 
Time writes: I still think that Faldo had a deal with Poulter beforehand, and I consider the decision to leave Clarke off the team a disaster. Super dumb!!
 
The Comebacker The opinion hear is that Europes loss ' no Clarke or Montgomerie on the Ryder Cup team ' is the USAs gain.
 

David writes: I'm looking forward to the first days pairings, especially the Americans. I know Zinger has made comments that sound like he might put Kenny Perry and J B Holmes in the first match out. I'd rather see him put Perry in the first group with a straight hitter (like Furyk) and Holmes in the second group with another straight hitter (like Curtis). I think what's really important is for the Americans to win the first days two sessions or at least have the overall lead after the first day. Anyway, it should be great theater.
 
The Comebacker The Ryder Cup is great theater even when its bad theater. And people conveniently forget that theres a good argument that to make that the afternoon pairings are more important than the morning pairings.
 

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Related Links:
  • U.S. Report Cards
  • European Report Cards
  • U.S. Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • European Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • Full Coverage - 37th Ryder Cup
  • Getty Images

    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

    Getty Images

    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.