Faldo Zinger Chess Game

By Brian HewittAugust 13, 2008, 4:00 pm
The behind the scenes Ryder Cup chess game might be about to get more interesting than it already is.
 
Highly-placed sources on the European side say captain Nick Faldo might ask for a one-day extension at the end of the month to name his two captains picks for the 12-man squad that will face the Americans in Kentucky next month.
 
And, they say, if he does request extra time, that request will be granted.
 
As it stands now, Faldo is scheduled to announce his two picks at Gleneagles the same day ' Sunday, Aug. 31 ' that the top 10 points earners are finalized at the end of the Johnnie Walker Championship.
 
Where it gets tricky is that the U.S. event that week ' the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston ' doesnt end until Monday, Sept. 1 because of Labor Day weekend.
 
If, say, Englands Paul Casey, currently not a qualifier on points but a player most observers believe belongs on the team, wins in Boston or finishes high enough to impress Faldo sufficiently, Faldo might want to use one of his picks on Casey. Hence, the need for the one-day extension.
 
The philosophy on our side of the pond, one Euro higher-up said, has always been, Support the captain.
 
It is no accident, by the way, that American captain Paul Azinger will name his four discretionary picks on Tuesday, Sept. 2.
 
BOOK IT
 
Meanwhile the worlds highest ranked Euro, Padraig Harrington, in case you hadnt noticed, is not full of himself off the golf course. And heres yet more proof:
 
Approached last year about a biography, Harrington declined. Then he got the idea that a book could produce monies toward research for cancer, the disease that felled his father.
 
So Harrington agreed but only if the bulk of the profits would go to that cause. Rather than choose the publishers own ghost writer, Harrington insisted that six Irish sportswriters, all of whom have followed his career, share the writing duties. and he convinced them all to work for free on the project.
 
Later, at a publishers launch event, Harrington presented each of the six scribes with a $500 Cartier pen engraved with his autograph and thanks.
 
It is, said longtime Irish sportswriter Dermot Gilleece of the pen, 'one of my prized possessions.'
 
The name of the book, by the way, is Padraig Harringtons Journey to the Open.
 
PADDYS COUCH
 
Speaking of Harrington and Gilleece, the latter recalls a conversation with the recently-crowned PGA Championship winner in which Harrington admitted that he uses press conferences to sort out his thoughts.
 
And he told me this, Gilleece said. Hes engaging us in the press room to clear his own head. He tells us what he wants to sort out his own head.
 
And the fact of the matter is that Harrington is a terrific analytical quote. So whats good for us (the media) in the press tent is good for him.
 
Wish that they were all that way.
 
Gilleece also tells about the time he asked Harrington how his father was doing while the elder Harrington was battling cancer.
 
Why dont you go see him, Harrington replied.
 
With Padraigs help, Gilleece was set up with an appointment to visit Harringtons father. At the meeting the elder Harrington served up tea and stories.
 
It lasted about three hours, Gilleece said. During that time Harrington senior told Gilleece the quality that served his son best in the competitive world of golf was his extraordinary equilibrium.
 
And dont, he said, attribute that to me. The son got that quality on his own, the father said proudly.
 
CASEYS AT BATS
 
Paul Casey, by the way, wont be playing later this month at Gleneagles in Scotland at the Johnnie Walker Championship where he has won twice. And he has a good reason.
 
Because of the complicated European qualification system for its Ryder Cup squad, Casey has determined he has a better chance making the squad off the world points list than he does off the European points list. Captain Nick Faldo will get five players off of each list before (as referenced earlier in this piece) he makes his captains picks.
 
Even if I was to win at Gleneagles, thats still not enough points to put me on the team, Casey told PGATOUR.com. So all I can do is play over here (the U.S.) and play great golf and try to win over here and hopefully make my way in on the world points list.
 
It is believed that Faldo would much rather have Casey, who is 3-1-2 in two Ryder Cup appearances, on his team than either Oliver Wilson or Soren Hansen, both of whom would make the squad if the points race ended tomorrow.
 
Ive played some really good golf in the last month or so, Casey said. I played disappointing golf at the beginning of the year which is why Im not straight on that Ryder Cup team as I would like to have been right now.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Wyndham Championship
  • Getty Images

    McIlroy (65) one back in Abu Dhabi

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 1:09 pm

    Rory McIlroy moved into position to send a powerful message in his first start of the new year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Closing out with back-to-back birdies Saturday, McIlroy posted a 7-under-par 65, leaving him poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion after a winless year in 2017.

    McIlroy heads into Sunday just a single shot behind the leaders, Thomas Pieters (67) and Ross Fisher (65), who are at 17-under overall at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

    Making his first start after taking three-and-a-half months off to regroup from an injury-riddled year, McIlroy is looking sharp in his bid to win for the first time in 16 months. He chipped in for birdie from 50 feet at the 17th on Saturday and two-putted from 60 feet for another birdie to finish his round.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy took 50 holes before making a bogey in Abu Dhabi. He pushed his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the 15th, where he left a delicate play in the bunker, then barely blasted his third out before holing a 15-footer for bogey.

    McIlroy notably opened the tournament playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who started the new year winning the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in an eight-shot rout just two weeks ago. McIlroy was grouped in the first two rounds with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Player of the Year last season. McIlroy sits ahead of both of them going into the final round, with Johnson (68) tied for 12th, four shots back, and Fleetwood (67) tied for fourth, two shots back.

    Those first two rounds left McIlroy feeling good about his off season work.

    “That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent health,” he said going into Saturday. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

    Getty Images

    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

    Getty Images

    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

    Getty Images

    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation.