Too Early to Panic

By John FeinsteinApril 19, 2011, 11:30 pm

Matteo Manessero moved up to No. 33 in the world ranking after his victory in Malaysia on Sunday – which came two days prior to his 18th birthday.

Let’s put aside for a second how precocious a talent Manassero is and consider that he is now the 13th highest ranked European in the world. If the 2012 Ryder Cup team were selected today based on the rankings, Manassero wouldn’t make the team.

That’s a little bit scary if you are U.S. captain Davis Love III. Even scarier: By the time The Ryder Cup rolls around 18 months from now you can almost bet that Manassero will be on Jose Maria Olazabal’s team. In all likelihood so will six of the current top-8 in the world. And most of them should be on an upward curve since many are not yet 30.

“We’re going to have the home court advantage at Medinah,” Love said recently. “And we’re going to need every last bit of it.”

Even if one looks at the rankings as flawed, they do present a decent barometer of where the power has swung in world golf. It is NOT in the direction of the United States. Oh sure, nine of the world’s top 30 are still Americans but three of them – Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk – have passed their 40th birthday and one of them, Tiger Woods, is an old 35 based on all that has happened in his life.

Among the 13 Euros in the top 33 only one – Miguel Angel Jimenez is over 40 and if he is on the next Ryder Cup team it will probably be because Olazabal wants one wise old head among all the youngsters. Most of the Euros are in their 20s and early 30s. About the only ones not likely to be better players at the end of 2012 than they are right now are Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington.

That’s not to say the U.S. isn’t without gifted young players. Dustin Johnson, Nick Watney, Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler have great potential and none of them are 30. But the Euros can answer with Martin Kaymer (who has already won a major and been ranked No. 1) Rory McIlroy, Alvaro Quiros, Francesco Molinari, Martin Laird and Manassero – none of who are close to 30. That doesn’t count recently turned 30 types like U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, Paul Casey, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter and Eduardo Molinari.

What this represents is a sea change in the way we look at the Ryder Cup. For years, the Americans strength was depth: the feeling most years was that if the U.S. could get to Sunday singles within hailing distance of Europe, it would win. The notable exception to this rule was 1995 at Oak Hill when Europe came from behind to win on Sunday. More often than not though, U.S. victories have hinged on singles play, most notably in 1999 when Europe led 10-6 going into the singles and Ben Crenshaw’s team staged its rally to come from way behind and win. Love still remembers that weekend vividly.

“I remember walking into our team room on Saturday night and Ben was on the TV screen pointing his finger at the media and saying, ‘I have a feeling about this team,’” Love said, laughing. “I turned to someone and said, ‘Did he just say he thinks we’re going to win?’”

Crenshaw said it and his players backed it up the next day but Love knows his team had better not dig too deep a hole because there aren’t likely to be a lot of singles matches in which a U.S. player is an overwhelming favorite to win. Even in 2010, the U.S. won the singles matches 7-5. Europe’s victory was built during the rain-delayed final session of foursomes and four-balls when it built a 9 ½ - 6 ½ lead that the U.S. couldn’t overcome.

Four veteran players have been the heart of recent U.S. teams: Woods, Mickelson, Furyk and Stricker. All have had mixed results which is probably why Europe is 6-2 since Mickelson played his first Ryder Cup in 1995. Woods and Furyk followed two years later. Woods has only played on one winning team (1999) since he missed the matches in 2008 following his knee surgery.

It isn’t unfair to say those four are going to need considerable help from the younger U.S. players if Love’s team is going to win. What has to make Love nervous is seeing one young European player after another coming along who appears to be on a path to real stardom. As a golf fan, Love appreciates just how talented the kiddie corps are and what their potential is to do good for the game.

As the U.S. Ryder Cup captain seeing them up close right now may be costing him a fair amount of sleep.

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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.

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


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


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

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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