See See Ryder A Primer

By Brian HewittSeptember 18, 2006, 4:00 pm
A few final thoughts you might not have considered before the energy and the madness of the one-of-a-kind Ryder Cup descends upon us. Its the closest thing golf has to a Super Bowl Week:
  • The hottest player in the world this summer has been Tiger Woods, who also happens to be the best player in the world by approximately the length of the equator. But the hottest player of the moment is Euro Ryder Cupper Paul Casey who broke all kinds of records this weekend at the HSBC Match Play in London while dismantling a powerhouse field that included Woods.
  • Dont believe all that dissension stuff coming out of the European camp. Their team is far superior to the Americans in the art of psychological warfare. It wouldnt surprise me if the Ian Woosnam-Thomas Bjorn dust-up was a plot. If so, you can only hope the fine Bjorn is reported to have been assessed goes to buying their side better shirts.
  • Remember the Chicago Bulls teams that won all those NBA titles with Phil Jackson coaching from the bench and Michael Jordan coaching on the floor? The Americans will regain the Cup next weekend if Tom Lehman plays the Phil Jackson role and Woods plays Jordan.
  • Looking for a surprise star at the K Club? Try TCUs J.J. Henry. Henry grew up excelling in team sports. Hes gregarious. Hes unafraid. Hes long off the tee. And, as a rookie, has no bad memories of U.S. Ryder Cup defeats in his competitive hard drive.
  • The single most impressive stat going into the matches is the fact that Sergio Garcia has played in a foursomes match Friday and a foursomes match Saturday in all three of his Ryder Cups. He and his partner have won all six of those matches. Finding a partner in alternate shot for El Nino will be easy. Luke Donald is 2-0 in foursomes.
  • Everybody, including myself, was speculating that the best substitute for Scott Verplank, if Verplanks injury problems prevented him from playing in Ireland, would be Shaun Micheel. Micheel beat Tiger Woods at Wentworth last week and advanced all the way to the finals of the HSBC. But how about Steve Stricker? Hes a wonderful putter and procured his fourth straight top 10 Sunday at the 84 Lumber. This is the same Stricker who once won the Accenture Match Play.
  • Ever wonder why Colin Montgomeries lifetime record in the Ryder Cup is 19-8-5 including a sparkling 5-0-2 mark in singles despite the fact that Montgomerie never won a major or a PGA TOUR event? How about the fact that Monty, not always terribly popular among his fellow European Tour regulars, gets a built-in set of teammates for a week. Think of it as kind of a temporary security blanket. The team room, the theory goes, serves as a kind of golfing womb for Montgomerie. And it helps bring out his best golf.
  • The Ryder Cup is the most charged week in golf: People lucky enough to have tickets charge jackets. They charge rain suits. They charge hats. They charge another round of Guinness. This week in Ireland they will charge anything with a Ryder Cup logo or a shamrock on it. Exchange rate be damned.
    Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
    Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 36th 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

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.