Ryder Cup System Check

By Mercer BaggsAugust 10, 2006, 4:00 pm
Tom Lehman spent the first few months of this year talking about the possibility of being a player-captain at the 36th Ryder Cup. Hes spent the last few months discussing the merits of the reformed U.S. points system and the impact its having on his team.
 
At least he hasnt had to talk ad nausea about the butt-whipping the Europeans handed the Americans on their own soil two years ago ' at least not yet.
 
Tom Lehman
Tom Lehman can still qualify for his own U.S. Ryder Cup team despite no top-10s since February.
That will happen after his team is finalized, after the conclusion of next weeks PGA Championship. Then Lehman will have to talk until hes literally red, white and blue in the face about what he and his are going to do to avoid another embarrassment.
 
The thing is, though, Lehman doesnt yet know who will be his.' Of course, this is always the case leading up to the seasons final major, but usually there are only a couple of players on shaky ground.
 
At the moment, the final four spots are up for grabs. And it just so happens that all four spots are currently occupied by players who have neither Ryder Cup nor Presidents Cup experience.
 
To make matters more perplexing for Captain America, Nos. 11, 12 and 13 in the current standings have combined to compete in all of one team event ' Jerry Kelly in the 2003 Presidents Cup.
 
These are strange times under a strange system.
 
The points system was revised in the aftermath of the 2004 Ryder Cup, in which the U.S. lost at Oakland Hills outside of Detroit, 18 - 9 . The new system is supposed to better reward recent performance. And it does; though, a little too much so.
 
Before, players who finished in the top 10 were rewarded double points during a Ryder Cup year at regular tournaments. They now receive four times as many during a Ryder Cup year, and five times as many for a victory in said season.
 
Points awarded during major championships have also been increased exponentially, from 300 points for a victory in 2004 to 675 points this time around.
 
Now, a player can do squat for most of the year, have one great week, and earn a ticket to Dublin, Ireland in late September.
 
Take, for instance, Lehman. He could still qualify for his own team ' and he hasnt earned a single point since the Match Play in February.
 
Should he somehow win this weeks International, he would garner 375 points and could move from 29th to seventh in the standings.
 
That might seem like an unlikely scenario, but then again, John Rollins won the B.C. Open a few weeks ago and jumped from 29th to 10th.
 
The PGA of America altered the points scale in order to try and provide the U.S. with the hottest players leading up to the Ryder Cup, not the most consistent over a longer stretch of time. They wanted to make sure that they were stacked with players who were playing well at the moment; not players who had played exceptionally well in March and April, but were now struggling.
 
It was a move made to make the Yanks, who have won only one of these things since 93, more competitive. Something had to be done, and this was it. And its not all that bad. It just needs a little tweaking ' like possibly handing out points to the top 10 Americans each week as opposed to the top 10 finishers who may or may not be Statesmen. Or, perhaps not allotting quite as many points for a victory (Rollins shouldnt jump 19 spots by winning an event held opposite the British Open).
 
But having the likes of Vaughn Taylor, J.J. Henry, Zach Johnson, Brett Wetterich, or even Rollins on the team isnt all that bad either. They are all in their early 30s, and some stand a chance to be on more Cup teams to come.
 
The fact is, up to this point, veterans like Davis Love III, Fred Couples and Stewart Cink havent done enough to earn their way onto the team.
 
And, unfortunately, neither has anyone in their 20s.
 
Glover, at 26, is the only player under 30 in the top 35 on the current points list. That, in and of itself, should give Lehman serious pause to consider him as one of his two captains selections should he not move up the necessary three spots from 13th.
 
But with all the greenhorns likely to comprise his team, Lehman will likely use his discretion on experience ' on players like the aforementioned Cink and Love, who finished runner-up at this years Match Play. Or maybe Scott Verplank, who went 2-1-0 as a captains pick in 2002.
 
Glover will have a chance this week to take his name out of Lehmans hat and earn his way outright onto the team. Hes one of nine players from positions 7-20 who are in the field at Castle Pines: Henry (No. 8), Johnson (9), Rollins (11), Glover (13), Love (14), Couples (15), Tom Pernice (17), Arron Oberholser (19) and Cink (20).
 
Taylor (7), Wetterich (10), Kelly (12), Tim Herron (16) and Verplank (18) are apparently saving themselves for one final push next week at Medinah.
 
The PGA Championship will be the defining event for the U.S. Ryder Cup team (the European squad wont be finalized until three weeks thereafter). As previously mentioned, a victory will be worth 675 points. Thats a hefty load considering that Wetterich, the man currently on the bubble, has accrued 746 points over the last two years. A runner-up finish will net 360, almost as much as a victory at a regular event.
 
Does the new system work? Well find out in just over a month. Like most everything else in sports, if victory is achieved then everythings A-OK. If not, then its not.
 
The one thing that we do know: its not like the Americans ' whoever is on their team ' are going to be any worse off than they were two years ago.
 
Email your thoughts to Mercer Baggs
 
Related Links:
  • U.S. Points List
  • European Points List
  • Full Coverage - 36th Ryder Cup Matches
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.