Did Monty make the right picks

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 30, 2010, 6:20 pm

Did Colin Montgomerie make the right picks for the Ryder Cup? Senior writer Rex Hoggard and editorial director Jay Coffin offer their takes.


In the history of captain’s picks no skipper has ever had so many round pegs to fill so few holes, but that only partially explains how Colin Montgomerie got it wrong on Sunday.

Many a “Monday morning quarterback” will lament the selection of Edoardo Molinari, far too easily dismissing his birdie-birdie-birdie finish at Gleneagles, his second victory in Scotland in just over a month, and a natural pairing with brother Francesco.

The bigger concern is with Monty’s selection of Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald.

Harrington is a European staple with plenty of Ryder Cup experience, although his 0-7-2 record likely doesn’t strike fear in any American. But if we learned anything from Paul Azinger’s Valhalla masterpiece it is take the hot hand, not the resume.

This is the Ryder Cup, not an all-star game, and since April Harrington has just two top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour and he hasn’t won a sanctioned event since 2008. Ditto for Donald, who has just a single top 10 in his last seven Tour starts.

Paul Casey, ninth in the World Ranking and a match play machine, and Justin Rose, a two-time Tour winner this year who paired superbly with Ian Poulter in ’08, are in better form, and would have been better picks.


Simply, yes. Not because I believe he selected the three best players, but because there were five players, all equally deserving and the arithmetic says two were going to be disappointed. In this case it was Englishmen Justin Rose and Paul Casey left on the outside looking in.

Edoardo Molinari sealed the deal with three consecutive birdies to win the Johnnie Walker and the pairing with brother Francesco is a natural fit. You want hot players on a Ryder Cup team and this qualifies. Padraig Harrington is, well, Padraig Harrington and is the ultimate teammate. For those saying Harrington isn’t in top form, he’s not in his typical form, but he has recorded seven top-10 finishes since March, a record that is much more impressive than Casey’s.

Rose is the one who has the biggest argument for not being on the squad. But although he has two victories on the PGA Tour he also only played in two major championships this year and missed the cut in both. Donald has eight top-10s this year, a victory at the Madrid Masters and a third-place finish at the Wales Open, which was played at Celtic Manor, host of the Ryder Cup.

It’s not often I agree with Montgomerie but in this case I do. Any combination of the five players would have been justified. For those unhappy, blame the system, not the captain.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.