Task force: Love better fit for captain than Couples

By Jason SobelFebruary 17, 2015, 11:27 pm

LOS ANGELES – Longtime football coach Wade Phillips made headlines recently after being hired to run the Denver Broncos' defense. “I was a lousy head coach,” he told the Denver Post, “but I am a pretty good defensive coordinator.”

That self-realization was newsworthy because it served as an unabashed admission that in three separate stints as the man in charge of a team, he wasn’t the right one for the position. But the reaction underscores a bigger theme here: Being proficient at any job doesn't translate to being equally proficient on the next step of the corporate ladder.

This phenomenon is hardly unique to football. The leading go-getter in your company might struggle when graduating to a manager position in the corner office; conversely, the pencil-pusher stuck in a mundane cubicle could flourish in the more authoritative role.

When it was reported by Golf Channel that Davis Love III will be named the next U.S. Ryder Cup captain, much of the public response came in the form of one quizzical question: But what about Fred Couples?

The three-time Presidents Cup-winning captain was instantly labeled a snub, a logical choice bypassed for a man who already had his turn in the role and famously came up woefully short of victory.

That would be an inaccurate reaction to the news.

Couples has always appeared aloof in his leadership role. When choosing a lineup for each Presidents Cup session, he often deferred to an assistant -- usually Jay Haas -- for the final say. During daily interview sessions with the media, he was certainly cordial enough, but always seemed like he was daydreaming of being back in the team room instead, slapping backs with Michael Jordan after a doubles ping-pong match. And from his own words, he cared less about the team's much-talked-about attire than most couch potatoes watching from home.

Love won't confirm, deny becoming next Ryder captain

There's no mistaking the Ryder Cup for the Presidents Cup. Each session's lineups are finely picked apart for years, not minutes. The media obligations are doubled - or maybe tripled or quadrupled. The outfits are subject to national scrutiny.

The Ryder Cup is a different animal. Not only does every player insist there's greater pressure, that feeling has been compounded through years of frustrating losses. It's easy to connect some dots here: The team plays loose under Couples; it needs to play looser in the Ryder Cup; therefore, Couples should be the captain. But such simplistic theories fail to account for the multiple variables between the biennial cousins.

The reality is, for most of Couples' tenure as Presidents Cup captain, he simply had to ensure every player was present and accounted for before collecting another triumph over the inferior International squad.

And therein lies the hidden secret as to why Love is getting the nod this time instead.

In football terminology, Couples is better suited to be a defensive coordinator than head coach.

Or at least that's what the PGA of America's 11-man task force believes.

All of which means that Couples will likely own an important role on next year’s team without the headaches and hassles of being the man in charge.

Buddies with Love for decades now, each has served as an assistant when the other was in the role of captain. And while Love was mum on the impending appointment Tuesday, there’s no reason to believe that will change anytime soon. The selection of one man doesn’t ensure the omission of the other. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

Just as in 2012, Love won't rule with an iron fist; he won't employ Tom Watson's my-way-or-the-highway approach. Meanwhile, Couples will own a considerable role as his consigliere; he'll be able to help set the team's mood without all of the organizational rigors of the captaincy.

The head coach and the coordinator. Each in the role which suits him best.

While Love would neither confirm nor deny the report of his impending captaincy, he sounded Tuesday like a man already strategizing for a second chance.

“The best thing I’ve taken out of this task force process is I learned a lot,” he told Golf Channel at Riviera Country Club, site of this week’s Northern Trust Open. “I learned that I made some mistakes. There are some things that I could have done better. I could have shared more information with former captains and former players. So we’ve learned a lot from the whole thing and I think going forward, we can help future captains, because we’ve had a lot of great discussions about it.”

It’s this kind of forward thinking that won Love the gig, but it shouldn’t be said that Couples lost it. He’ll hold a pre-tournament news conference on Wednesday at Riviera, where he’ll undoubtedly be asked about this turn of events.

There’s a good chance the three-time Presidents Cup-winning captain won’t echo Wade Phillips during his answers, but there’s an even better chance that he’ll be satisfied with his upcoming role.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

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

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

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.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.