Quest for the cup: Ryder Cup Q&A

By Jay CoffinSeptember 27, 2012, 2:43 pm

MEDINAH, Ill. – After months of hype and three days of practice rounds, the 39th Ryder Cup is nearly upon us. We gathered our team of experts on-site at Medinah to break down all the angles of this week’s matches.

Who will be the more effective captain?

COFFIN: Davis Love III has done nothing to make me believe he won’t be a great captain, but Jose Maria Olazabal gets the nod. Somehow, he’ll channel Seve Ballesteros and find a way to be masterful.

HOGGARD: Like coaches, captains receive too much credit when their team wins and too much grief for a loss. But if effort and emotion count for anything, the nod would have to go to Davis Love III. The road to his four picks was exhaustive, and he’s moved heaven and table-tennis tables this week in an effort to defuse golf’s most intense member-member.

MELL: Davis Love III brings a Ph.d in Ryder Cup Captainology. The man appears to have studied every move and every word of every American captain over the last two decades, but it all comes down to winning. Love has the two ingredients required to be the most effective skipper: great putters and home-field advantage.

LAVNER: Jose Maria Olazabal may be better able to inspire his team, evoking the memory of the late Seve Ballesteros, but Davis Love III is a better tactician. The U.S. team already has a few ready-made pairings (Tiger-Stricks, Phil-Keegan) and it’ll be Love’s unheralded groups – the ones he paired after much deliberation – that make the difference.


Which player on the U.S. side will have the worst record?

COFFIN: First instinct is to say Jim Furyk, since he hasn’t handled pressure well this summer and is the lowest-ranked player on the U.S. squad. But I’ll go with Jason Dufner. He seems calm, but this is a big stage for him.

HOGGARD: It won’t be from a lack of trying, but Jim Furyk will find the friendly confines of Medinah no more inviting than Celtic Manor was two years ago. Although he’s playing well and went 5-0 at last year’s Presidents Cup, a combination of bad timing and bad partners has produced this generation’s worst Ryder Cup record (8-15-4).

MELL: Sorry, Dustin Johnson, but you’re the pick here. You are loaded with talent, and you’ll win more than one major in your career, but your short game gets exposed this week.

LAVNER: As a whole, the U.S. team is much deeper, but it could be a player such as Matt Kuchar, if only because it may be difficult to find him a successful partner. He went 1-1-2 in 2010 at Celtic Manor, but was paired in team play with Stewart Cink, who did not qualify this year. His Presidents Cup record isn’t great, either: 2-4-3. Kooch has only one top 10 since early August, and that was a T-10 at last week’s 30-player Tour Championship.


Which player on the European side will have the worst record?

COFFIN: Martin Kaymer believes he’s found something with his game the past couple weeks that will help him play well this week. I’m not buying it. I think he’ll struggle.

HOGGARD: Per the captain’s agreement, each team will place a player in a sealed envelope on Saturday that will determine who will sit in the event a player on the other team is unable toplay Sunday singles, with each side earning a half point. For Europe, that player will be Martin Kaymer, who hasn’t finished better than 15th in a stroke-play event this year on the PGA Tour and has slipped to 32nd in the world ranking.

MELL: Martin Kaymer appears to be finding some form again, but Ryder Cup pressure will test any crack in his armor. The German’s battle with confidence this summer will be severely tested this week.

LAVNER: Despite his good form (win and T-6 in his past two Euro tour starts), Paul Lawrie has failed to play well in the States this season, and could struggle on a beefy layout such as Medinah. And unlike 1999, he wouldn’t be able to rely on Colin Montgomerie as a partner. (For the record, Kaymer won’t play well, either.)


Who will be the breakout star of the matches?

COFFIN: Brandt Snedeker putts lights-out and was just cool enough to win $10 million a week ago. He’s cool enough to keep that putting stroke going this week under extreme pressure.

HOGGARD: Brandt Snedeker has waited his entire golf life to make this team, and he won’t disappoint. The FedEx Cup champion may be the hottest player in golf right now, with a runner-up and a victory in his last four starts. More importantly, he’s the Tour’s best putter (No. 1 in strokes gained-putting).

MELL: Tiger Woods! What? He’s already a star, you say. Sure, but he hasn't distinguished himself in the Ryder Cup. That all changes with his best Ryder Cup ever.

LAVNER: It will be a big week for Keegan Bradley, who is bubbling with enthusiasm this week and is a player who will have a comfortable pairing with friend, mentor and frequent practice-round partner Phil Mickelson. On a team with many good putters, Keegan is one of the best.


Who will have a better overall record, Tiger or Rory?

COFFIN: Rory, but only because I think he’s more likely than Tiger to play all five matches. Rory and Graeme McDowell are stellar together, and they’ll shine. He’s good for at least 3 points.

HOGGARD: Rory because his supporting cast, Graeme McDowell, is playing better than Tiger's presumed partner, Steve Stricker. We fixate on Tiger’s relatively pedestrian Ryder Cup record (13-14-2), but most of those losses (nine) have been in team play and, as Woods is fond of pointing out, he can only control his game.

MELL: Tiger trumps Rory on a golf course that Woods practically owns.

LAVNER: They both will perform well at Medinah, but Rory has a slight edge, simply because he’s playing better at the moment, has a better partner in Graeme McDowell and figures to get five chances.


Who will be the Man of the Matches?

COFFIN: Sergio Garcia is miffed that he was on the sidelines two years ago and will take advantage of this opportunity. He pairs well with anyone and seems to bring out the best in each playing partner. He’ll play well for fellow Spaniard Olazabal.

HOGGARD: Rory McIlroy will have better statistics, but Tiger Woods will be the MVP because his play and, yes, even his leadership will ultimately decide the outcome (see below). Woods has played on just one winning Ryder Cup team, a confounding statistic that motivates him almost as much as Jack Nicklaus’ 18 majors.

MELL: In a year in which Tiger Woods has flashed returns to his best form, he puts all the pieces together this week.

LAVNER: Not to be ordinary, but Tiger Woods will be MVP of the U.S. victory. He has the potential to play all five matches, and his 13-14-2 record in these biennial matches is more a product of bad luck and bad partnerships, not some indictment of how he’s wired only for individual play. This will be his best Ryder Cup yet.


Who will win the Ryder Cup?

COFFIN: The Americans are deeper, but the Europeans have four of the top five ranked players in the world and three strong pairings that rarely lose. It’ll be close and come down to the last three matches on Sunday, but Europe will prevail,15-13.

HOGGARD: The U.S. wins in a Sunday shootout, 14 1/2 to 13 1/2, after the two sides play to a near-draw in team play on Friday and Saturday. Ryder Cups are won by good putting, and this time, the Americans have the best putters.

MELL: The Americans! They’re due. They have everything going for them this time: motivation, home turf, terrific putters. That’s the winning formula.

LAVNER: Last weekend, I believed this was one of the most evenly matched Ryder Cups in recent memory – so much so that it may even result in a draw (and Europe retaining the cup). Now, for various reasons, I’m not so convinced. The U.S. team is deeper, top to bottom. Tiger Woods and the rest of the veterans are inspired to play well. The late-season FedEx Cup playoffs have kept the Americans sharp. The home crowd is worth at least a point. The Euros’ camaraderie factor is overplayed. The result: U.S. 16, Europe 12.

Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.