Europeans May Be Missing the Points
The European Tour has an interesting conundrum regarding their Ryder Cup team. Competitors for each team are selected based on points garnered on their team's home tour. Americans accumulate points based on top 10 finishes in PGA Tour events and majors, Europeans earn their points through prize money won an European Tour events and majors.
With the dramatic escalation of PGA Tour purses, an unavoidable problem has arisen. Top European stars and sure Ryder Cuppers can no longer afford to turn their backs on the huge riches available in the States in an effort to support their home tour. They must now earn almost all of their Ryder Cup points from the majors and World Golf Championships, because they only play a handful of European Tour events.
Under the European qualification system, points are earned based solely upon money earned in European Tour events, World Golf Championships and major championships. Money earned at PGA Tour events or any events on other tours around the world does not count towards Ryder Cup points. The final date for earning European Ryder Cup points is September 2nd, at the conclusion of the BMW International. The obvious intention is to reward those who play on the home tour and, in the process, keep the European Tour strong. But alas, the problem is a weakening of the European Ryder Cup team.
The money on the PGA Tour has become so disproportionate in comparison to the European Tour that top players such as Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal, Jesper Parnevik, Bernhard Langer and Nick Faldo have come to play in America almost exclusively. None of these players would qualify for the European team based on points earned. Almost all of these players have better World Rankings than the player in the 11th position, Paul McGinley (66). Luckily, Colin Montgomerie snapped his recent slump with a win last week in Ireland. He had been hovering around 12th place and would not have qualified for the team on points; he would have needed a discretionary pick.
If nothing changed between now and the end of the qualification period, European Captain Sam Torrance would find himself in the following position. Prior to his two discretionary picks, none of his players would be in the top 6 in world rankings and only 5 in the top 25. His highest ranked player would need a pick (Garcia 5). For his final pick, he would have to choose among four players in the top 55 (Parnevik 21, Langer 34, Miguel Angel Jimenez 44 and Olazabal 53). He would have to use four players ranked 50th or higher (Phillip Price 50, Andrew Coltart 70, Robert Karlsson 78 and Andrew Oldcorn 95). At the same time he wouldnt have the services of longtime Ryder Cup hero Nick Faldo, who seems to be getting his game back into shape. On the other side, the top 10 American qualifiers consist of 5 players ranked in the top 10 and 9 in the top 25 before Curtis Stranges two discretionary picks.
There are some big purses between now and the end of the BMW International. More importantly there are two majors and a World Golf Championship where the PGA Tour Imports can earn points, so things could change somewhat. It is improbable, though, that all of the top European golfers will be able to make this years Ryder Cup team through the combination of points and captains picks. There are simply too many European Tour players who have made the American Tour their priority.
Golf is a much more global game than it was only a decade ago. When Samuel Ryder underwrote the first matches in the 1920s, he sought to pit the best American golfers against the best British golfers. It had nothing to do with various tours and points: your best against our best. It would be nice to get back to that. Ease some of the heartache and stress in the life of Sam Torrance. Either increase the number of discretionary picks or use an independent standard like the World Rankings. Dont use a system that forces players to support a tour that cant support them.
Read Part 1 - 'The Quest to Play in the Ryder Cup'
Full Coverage of the 34th Ryder Cup Matches
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...
Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).
Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.
It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard
On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...
There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.
He sure looks like the real deal, though.
His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.
Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.
He picked up one more No. 2, too.
The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.
In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.
Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.
“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”
Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.
Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.
He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.
His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.
“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.
Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.
Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:
Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)
What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.
Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.
Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.
Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.
Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.
Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:
Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry