South America should join the Ryder Cup fray
The Americas, of course, is North, Central, and South America and collectively it has a population that is estimated at roughly 910,000,000 people. As varied in ethnicity, cultural diversity, religions and history as any continent on earth, including, Europe.
Europe has a population of roughly 860,000,000 people, conveniently close to that of the Americas. In a certain biannual competition the United States with a population of 308,000,000 goes up against the whole of Europe which outnumbers the U.S. almost 3-to-1.
Now is this a fair fight? From a numerical standpoint, of course not, but let’s take a look at the results to further underscore the obscenity of this lopsided event. In the last 13 times Europe has squared off in this event against the U.S. in the Ryder Cup it has won nine times and six of the last eight. Some of those were by laughably wide margins. It wasn’t that long ago that the red, white and blue enjoyed the same advantages and success in this longstanding competition.
In 1977, Tom Weiskopf famously passed on an opportunity to play for the U.S. in the Ryder Cup because he had a big game hunting trip planned, and was widely criticized even though he shouldn’t have been. It was a lot harder to kill lions and tigers and bears than it was to beat the opposing side of Great Britain and Ireland, as it was back them.
The first year of the Ryder Cup was 1927 and through 1975, a year in which Weiskopf went 4-0 in the Ryder Cup, GB&I had won just three of the 21 competitions. It was not a competition, it was an exhibition and Weiskopf would rather hunt than do what he saw was essentially a waste of time. He had a point.
In 1967, after GB&I captain Dai Rees went through the lengthy list of accomplishments of each one of his players for that year’s Ryder Cup, Ben Hogan, the captain for the U.S. simply stood up, made a wide arc with his arm that encompassed his 12 players and said, “ladies and gentlemen, the 12 best players in the world.” And that team didn’t even include Jack Nicklaus. Hogan was right and his team won 23 ½ to 8 ½, the widest margin of victory in the history of the cup.
The U.S. won 12 ½ to 7 ½ in 1977 without Weiskopf, but what he did by merely going hunting did more to help this competition than anything else in its history. It brought attention to the wart on the nose that no one wanted to talk about. So, in 1979, all of continental Europe was included and then, slowly, this biannual gathering began to turn into a jingoistic, not-to-be-missed brawl. Lately, though, it is the United States that needs help, unless Luke Donald decided to plan a trip to look at art in Paris next fall. It is to that end that I suggest, without my tongue hitting any part of my cheek, that we elicit the help of our neighbors, to the north and to the south, to include all of the Americas, on “our” side to make this a more even competition, numerically speaking, to say nothing of the spirit of the contest.
There are no more ardent sports fans than the Canadians, and of course, the national pride of the various countries of Central and South America are legendary when it comes to fallowing their soccer teams. The recent successes of Camilo Villeagas in Columbia, Jhonattan Vegas in Venezuela and Angel Cabrera in Argentina would be a big draw.
With the Olympics going to Brazil in 2016 and the inclusion of golf in those Olympics, golf has potential to grow as never before. Just imagine what including all of the Americas in the Ryder Cup would do for the event and for the game. At the very least, we would hear a better variety of songs from the gallery. If I hear the same incessant chant of “USA, USA, USA” again I’m going to pull my hair out, and then, Charlie Rymer, and so many others wouldn’t have near as much to tease me about.
The Ryder Cup needs to be changed to the Americas vs. Europe. Then, for that week, let all the commentators say with absolute accuracy that so-and-so is from “America.”
Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son
ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.
Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.
''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''
They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.
''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''
Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.
''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''
Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.
Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.
Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.
Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.
Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. 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.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.