This Years Ryder Cup Cant Have Next Years Face

By George WhiteSeptember 24, 2001, 4:00 pm
In a perfect world, time would virtually stand still and the 2001 Ryder Cup would proceed in 2002 as if a year hadnt really passed. Starting with No. 1 Tiger Woods and ending with No. 10 Stewart Cink, Americas top golfers would remain exactly the same as they are today. None of the young guys would proceed at the accelerated pace expected of them. None of the old guys would show signs of age further creeping up on them. We would have the event exactly as it would have been back in 2001, and the world could then get back to the more important business at hand.
That is what has been decreed. Ryder Cup 2001 will be played in 2002, and every thing is the same as it would have been this year - same coach, same players, same uniforms.
The reality one year from now, unfortunately, will be quite different. Woods will still be No. 1, but after him, there really isn't much telling. The Ryder Cup will go on, though, exactly as it would have had it been held this year. That is the way Curtis Strange, Sam Torrance and PGA head Jim Awtrey wants it, and its a fitting tribute to the mind-numbing events of Sept. 11.
The reality of the situation, however, is that professional golf could be quite different a year from now.
The deal cut was the best way, perhaps, to get through a very bad situation. The captain ' Strange ' had been chosen two years ago. He had put in countless hours preparing for the event. To deny him the chance to coach a Ryder Cup team would have been unthinkable. He could have slid to 2003, admittedly, but that would have left Paul Azinger, Hal Sutton, Corey Pavin, Fred Couples, Tom Lehman, Davis Love, Mark OMeara, etc., as the odd man out in the race to be captain. The PGA doesnt normally pick captains who are over 50, so that already leaves a couple of those 40-somethings on the outside looking in. To expect Curtis to hang on for two more years, after he has already been captain for two years, is too much to ask.
To cancel the event entirely seemed almost unthinkable, considering the millions (billions?) of dollars that it generates, both on this side and the other of the Atlantic Ocean. So ' cancel the Ryder Cup until 2003? I hardly think so.
But this grand scheme isnt very workable, either. At the very least, two or three very deserving men are going to have to go fishing come next September. It is too much to expect for our gents in their 40s to continue the good years.
Scott Hoch will be 46 when the 2001 Ryder Cup finally gets around to being played near the end of the 2002 season. Mark Calcavecchia, Sutton and Azinger will all be 42. Scott Verplank will be a 39-year-old rookie. Davis Love III will be 38. The American team will definitely be long of tooth.
Its most unfortunate that there will be nothing for the other guys to play for next year. Next year was supposed to be the Presidents Cup, but it, too, has been put back a year. Charles Howell is likely to have big year. Or Bryce Molder or David Gossett, two other young guys. Too bad - they will just have to take their putters and go sit in the corner while we finish 2001s business.
Chris DiMarco? Justin Leonard? Lehman? Nope. They, too, wont have a chance until 2003, when they might make the Presidents Cup team. Lehman almost assuredly wont have another chance at a Ryder Cup ' he will be 45 in 2004 when the next squad will be chosen.
Is there any way to make this Ryder Cup fair for everyone? No, certainly not. But maybe there is a better way. Make this qualifying period last three years instead of two. Leave the points as they are. And allow Strange two new picks when next season rolls around.
If a Howell or a DiMarco can make the team, so be it. If a Lehman or a Leonard can regain the old magic, dont they deserve the honor? But if this years team can tread water another 12 months and make the squad as it stands in 2002, then more power to them. And they would have a definite edge since they have already qualified for the 2001 team, which would be two-thirds of the way there.
Ryder Cup 2001 will never be perfect, except in the 2001 season. It might be okay at the beginning of 2002, but at the end of 2002? Hardly.
To merely postpone this years matches until 2002 presumes something enormous. There is no right way to do it. There is, however, something of a fair way. Give the 2002 matches a 2002 face. The year 2001 is gone. Dont do something inequitable by merely brushing on a little makeup and pretending an entire year isnt going to happen.
Full Coverage of the 34th Ryder Cup Matches
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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?''

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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.

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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. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.