Sort This Thing Out

By John HawkinsAugust 4, 2010, 5:04 am

As landmark events go, the 2008 Ryder Cup doesn’t register as more than a blip on the outer edge of most radar screens. Boo Weekley’s antics are what I remember most – the mock horse he rode off the first tee Sunday highlighted a week that was improbably fun and wildly successful for the United States. Seeing how he’s 46th in the current Ryder Cup standings, Boo needs to saddle up and get that pony into full gallop immediately, if not sooner.

Every good team can use a comedian. Woody Austin took on the role in 2007, when Jack Nicklaus’ final Presidents Cup squad smashed the Internationals in the first of three consecutive room-to-spare wins for the U.S. It was the ’08 victory, however, that altered the landscape. The Ryder Cup is still a lot bigger and a lot more intense, and in recent years, Europe has been the much tougher foe, although the gap between the Yanks and Euros has never been greater than it is now.

In that context, the U.S. victory at Valhalla two years ago was a big deal. Forced into the ultra-rare role of home underdog, Paul Azinger piloted the Americans past Europe without Tiger Woods. As the series shifts to Wales, however, the visitors look even weaker – with or without Woods – and would seem to have little chance of holding onto the chalice unless we see an American leaderboard invasion in the next two weeks.

Don’t get me wrong. Jeff Overton is a nice player, having piled up three second-place finishes and two thirds since late April, but he’s also fourth in the U.S. standings – fourth and winless, no less – which scares me. Right behind Overton is Anthony Kim, who hasn’t played in 2 ½ months. How can a guy miss that much time in the heart of the season and return to action with a spot all but locked up?

Good question. With Tiger Woods fighting through his issues and Phil Mickelson in the midst of another half-speed summer, the U.S. simply hasn’t had much presence on big-tournament leader boards. The British Open was frightening – not a single American within eight strokes of the lead entering the final round. Overton has made a ton of money, much of it in weak-field events such as last week’s gathering at the Greenbrier, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, and for the most part, Overton has gotten it done.

A fair number of veterans, meanwhile, aren’t making things easy for U.S. skipper Corey Pavin, who will likely to use at least two of his four picks on guys with multi-Ryder Cup experience. Stewart Cink is 13th, Zach Johnson 20th, Kenny Perry 23rd, Scott Verplank 24th, Chad Campbell 29th. Of that bunch, Johnson would seem the closest to must-pick status, but a victory at Colonial remains his only top 10 in 18 starts all year.

John Hawkins appears on Golf Central every Tuesday at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and on the Grey Goose 19th Hole every Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.

Then there are the tweeners: Ricky Barnes, J.B. Holmes, Sean O’Hair. It’s easy to see Pavin choosing one of the three, but a lot depends on whether the Dude in the Red Shirt qualifies. Woods is currently ninth, one spot away from an automatic berth, and though logic tells us Tiger could win at Firestone and Whistling Straits, he could also continue his lackluster play, at which point Pavin would have to burn a pick. Either way, Woods is in if wants to be on the team.

So Pavin may have some tough decisions to make, although the U.S. situation isn’t nearly as convoluted as it is in Europe, where Padraig Harrington, Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson are among those on the outside looking in. Garcia wouldn’t warrant a second thought if he didn’t own such a spectacular record (14-6-4) and the best point percentage in Euro Ryder Cup history. With Luke Donald and at least one of the Molinari brothers in good position to make the roster, skipper Colin Montgomerie has his own issues to deal with.

Does he use a pick on Harrington, a three-time major champion and positive influence who hasn’t contended anywhere since March? What about Martin Kaymer, who can look like the best player in the world one week, then vanish for months on end? At some point, both captains must weigh a man’s past accomplishments with his present value. How seriously, for instance, does Pavin consider Cink, the 2009 British Open champion but largely invisible for all of ’10?

In prior Ryder Cup summers, things had a tendency to shake themselves out. This year, both captains may have little choice but to shake things up.

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


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

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.