No Captains Picks No Monty

By Brian HewittAugust 22, 2008, 4:00 pm
The Comebacker is getting a lot of feedback on the Ryder Cup as the matches approach. In my mind, Ryder Cup theater is every bit as compelling as youll find in major championships.
Without further ado:
Robert writes: The more the back and forth about Ryder Cup selections the more I wish the top 12 in points would make it. The choices bring into it: Who knows when a player will start playing well or STOP playing well? Age or youth? Experience really an advantage when the experienced player hasn't really beaten anybody in a long time? Horses for courses? Take the top 12 and play them proportionately to their team ranking based on Ryder Cup points.
The Comebacker So Paul Azinger shouldnt pick a player not already on the team if that player wins a couple of FedExCup playoff events? Of course he should. The Playoffs are a boon to Azinger because nobody is playing especially well right now. But chances are somebody will get hot (or at least warm) in the Playoffs.

Terry writes: Great insight on Pettersson! With the Ryder Cup being played on a PGA TOUR setup at Valhalla he would be a great choice. Two of his wins have come on very difficult courses and he typically plays very well on tough set-ups. I'm sure he would team up well with one of the other Swedes on the team. Or maybe he can get a quick citizenship change and play for the U.S. Either way he should be participating next month!
The Comebacker Its a longshot. But if Pettersson stays hot for The Playoffs, Euro captain Nick Faldo cant ignore him as a pick. If he stays really hot, Pettersson can still play himself onto the Euro team by making the top 5 on the World Points list. Hes currently at No. 13 on that list.

WD writes: Regarding Phil and Bones, I heard a very interesting comment from Phil's mother. She stated that Phil is a free thinker and will do whatever he wants whenever he wants. When he was young they would ask him to turn right and he would go left; ask him to stop and he would go faster; ask him not to do something and he would do it. All I'm saying is Phil is a type of guy who is going to do whatever he wants on the golf course no matter who his caddie is. Bones is irreplaceable in my opinion. Who else would stay in that position with that type of boss? Change Phil's mind ' I think not!
The Comebacker Maybe what Bones should do is suggest Phil hit driver when he wants him to hit 3-wood and suggest Phil hit 3-wood when he wants him to hit driver. This strategy works for a lot of parents I know.

Derek writes: Where is all this hype regarding Monty coming from? The guy has had a dreadful year by anybody's standards and yet some people are still saying that Faldo should pick him. I suspect a lot of those people are Americans hoping to introduce a weakness to the European team. Apart from his game, Monty has had a torrid time in recent months in respect of his attitude and temper on the course and this would be brilliant for the American crowd as they have always been able to bring out the worst in Monty.(Which he tends to deserve.) Judging by some of the current comments being made, we will have calls being made for a captain's pick for Monty for the 2040 Ryder Cup ' assuming he isn't at the top of the Order of Merit.
The Comebacker If Faldo passes over Monty, he will be passing over the greatest European Ryder Cup player (Faldo and Ballesteros included) of all time.

Jerry writes: Finally, golf is enjoyable to watch again. There is some suspense each week about who is going to emerge, and we are getting to see the talent and character of some other players. I am tired of all Tiger all the time, and actually am watching tournament golf more!!!!
The Comebacker The ratings would argue that you are in the minority. The fans of good theater would agree with most of your opinion.

Dave writes: There was the usual giant amount of focus on whether or not Sergio (Garcia) would finally win a major (at the PGA). As nice as that would be for him, it still wouldn't do much for the Tour. What made the old Tour exciting was having four or five guys who had a legitimate shot to win each major, and who actually pulled it off more than once in a blue moon. Tiger is the new Jack, but Phil is not really the new Arnie, and there's no Gary or Lee or even Billy to really push the excitement and rooting interest to where it used to be. The Tiger /Phil rivalry was fun for about three years but is becoming a fast fading memory. Padraig (Harrington) is the first to step up to the plate in quite a while. If he can grab even one or two majors more in the next year or two, fan interest will definitely increase. As for Sergio, it's beginning to look like he will assume his role as the new Monty.
The Comebacker Am thinking Sergio probably wouldnt feel flattered in any way shape or form by being called the new Monty. Thats just a guess on my part.

Mark writes: There has been talk about putting golf in the Olympics. We already see golf every weekend, as well as baseball and basketball. Olympics should be about the things we never get a chance to see otherwise: discus, javelin, running, etc. We already have tournaments that determine the best athletes in the major sports ' professional as well as amateur. Leave the Olympics to the swimmers and gymnasts.
The Comebacker You forgot to mention the kayakers and the synchronized swimmers.

Michael writes: Padraig Harrington is a great golfer, a fine fellow, a great competitor and I hate to question his achievements in the last month, but when it comes to POY (Player of the Year) talk, there appears to be a large white elephant in the corner of the room that everyone prefers to ignore. Without wins in either of the recent majors Padraig Harrington is not even a remote candidate for POY. Up to this point in the season, his only claim to POY is the result of his back-to-back major wins. Were Padraig not to distinguish himself further for the rest of the season, there SHOULD be a problem making him POY for 2008.
The Comebacker Strangely mixed metaphor there, Michael ' white elephant in the corner of the room. But the fact remains that two majors trumps one. End of discussion. Am thinking Tiger might even cast his ballot for Harrington when the time comes.
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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.

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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.