From the Booth With Peter Oosterhuis

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 1, 2002, 5:00 pm
Peter Oosterhuis is no stranger to match-play golf, having competed for Great Britain, Ireland and the Europeans in six consecutive Ryder Cup competitions from 1971-81, and sharing the record for most wins in singles - six - with Nick Faldo.

Peter OosterhuisA former player on the European and PGA Tour, Oosterhuis garnered more than 20 victories worldwide. He was runner-up in the 1974 and 1982 British Opens, and led the European Tour Order of Merit for four consecutive years (1971-74) - a record that stood until Colin Montgomerie's fantastic stretch between 1993-97. Now recognized as one of golf's best commentators, serving as an analyst both for The Golf Channel and CBS Sports, Oosterhuis will again share the booth with Golf Channel host Grant Boone for the 2002 UBS Warburg Cup.
You were part of some memorable Ryder Cup matches for the European team. Do you look at team match play differently now that you are a television analyst?
Oosterhuis: Obviously as an analyst you are looking at things a little different. In fact, just covering the Ryder Cup at The Belfry, I think I just like to see a match played in the right spirit and a good match that it is entertaining for everybody. So, even though I played for Great Britain and Ireland and then the European team when it became Europe, I certainly enjoyed the matches and I think they are a good contrast from the week-to-week 72-hole stroke play.
Having served as lead analyst for The Golf Channels coverage of the UBS Warburg Cup, how do you think the returning players from both teams will approach this years competition?
I think maybe last year they were not skeptical but they obviously did not know exactly what the atmosphere was going to be. I think everybody had a great time. The atmosphere in the matches was tremendous, all of these guys are naturally competitive, they have not been successful in the game without being competitive, and I think they played their hearts out, but in the right spirit. The appropriate things were said and done during the matches, very competitive but in the right spirit.
Quite a few players are returning on both sides this year, but what do you expect from the rookie players who include Tom Lehman and Paul Azinger on the US side and Eduardo Romero and Rodger Davis for the Rest of the World side?
You have to say that Tom Lehman and Paul Azinger are two of the toughest competitors and they have shown their spirit playing in Ryder Cup teams for the United States. So again, they will be playing with their competitive spirit but maybe with a little less tension in the Warburg Cup than you would expect in the Ryder Cup. Romero is doing extremely well on the European Tour this year. Although he is getting close to 50 years old, he is right up there in the top handful of players on the Order of Merit. Rodger Davis is an exceptional player. He has been playing well on the U.S. Senior Tour and he has won tournaments all over the world. I think they are two great additions to the Rest of the World team.
Speaking of Paul Azinger, both he and Bernhard Langer played in this years Ryder Cup and again will be on opposing teams during the UBS Warburg Cup. Although Azinger is a rookie, Langer had played last year. How do you think these players will approach this competition?
I think you have seen the career character of Paul Azinger and of Bernhard Langer. I think they are just going to carry that through the Warburg Cup. They are going to play in whatever format they are assigned. They are going to play with their natural character. Azinger is always feisty and competitive and Bernhard Langer is all business but very competitive as well, just a quiet man but all business. His opponents know they are in trouble because he is never going to give up. Any match involving Langer you know you are in for a tough match.
Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, who were captains of their respective teams last year, return as captains again this year. They have seen it all in golf but how do you think they will approach this year?
I was at the dinner where Arnold and Gary spoke last year and it was tremendous the way they spoke about the matches. Their feelings for the game inspired a crowd that had maybe seen it all in golf. They were an experienced group being entertained by Gary and Arnold and there was a standing ovation at the end of their speeches. Now, I think you just expect them to carry on the way they had throughout their careers. Great competitors in the right spirit, never giving up. Of course, in the singles last year for Arnold to beat Gary, that was a surprise. Gary had played better over the first couple of days and Arnold had struggled a bit, but then he came through on the last day and inspired the U.S. team.
Do you think they really enjoyed this competition because, other than this, they wouldnt have had a chance to do this kind of thing?
I think they enjoy any kind of competition, but I think the fact that they were captains of the U.S. team and the Rest of the World team, they felt an extra responsibility to show their stuff - whether it is standing up in front of a crowd at a dinner or on the course. They are two people who have done so much for the game and they are just carrying it on in a different scenario.
And, Gary Player actually never got to play on a Ryder Cup team, did he? Or Presidents Cup for that matter?
Obviously the Ryder Cup was Great Britain and Ireland against the U.S., and then it was Europe against the U.S. So, South Africans, Australians and numerous other countries were kind of left out until the Presidents Cup was born.
How would you describe your experiences as our color commentator last year?
I enjoyed it very much because they were playing at a great venue at Kiawah. Everything Ive seen and heard about Sea Island suggests that it is going to be a great venue. It was fun to see these characters of the game, people who have achieved a great deal in the game, playing in a little different scenario at a great venue, and I expect to see more of the same this year.
Can you recall a favorite moment or anything that happened last year, a funny anecdote or your favorite moment of the tournament?
There were a lot of tight matches on the last day. I think a really significant shot for me was Mark Calccavechia, who in the Ryder Cup in 1991 had blown a lead against Colin Montgomerie and felt that he had cost the USA the match. Coming down the stretch in the Warburg Cup last year at the 17th, a very dangerous par 3 with the water in play, he hit a phenomenal iron shot close to the pin and defeated Ian Woosnam. I think that was, considering what had happened to him ten years previously, was a phenomenal shot. There were a number of things that happened like that, but that was maybe the most outstanding for me.
What do you think the Warburg Cup holds for the television viewer?
I think youd watch it because as I said, Gary Player has never had the chance to play in a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup. There are other players who you are seeing in a different time in their careers than when they did play the Ryder Cup, having another chance to show their competitive spirit. I think there are a lot of stroke events throughout the year and you have Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup matches and this is for the players over 40 and some of them are over 50. I think it is a great stage for some good players to show their competitive spirit and their game.
This is year no. 2 for the Warburg Cup and they are discussing what they are going to be doing with this event in the years ahead. In your opinion, what would you like to see happen with the Warburg Cup and then realistically what do you think the future holds for this event?
The UBS Warburg people really have to make that decision. I hope they got good value out of the event last year at Kiawah. I expect it to be an excellent match this year at Sea Island and I think it entertains the people who are not only at the event, but it entertains people on television, so I certainly hope that the event will continue.

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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.