#AskLav: Ryder Cup redux

By Ryan LavnerOctober 4, 2012, 4:30 pm

So ... anything happen last week?

Guess there is no better time to start a new Thursday staple than the week after the worst home collapse in Ryder Cup history.

Welcome to the #AskLav Twitter mailbag. Powered by you, the reader, this is intended to be fun, breezy, informative, entertaining, thoughtful. It is your forum, so join the discussion each week by submitting a question to my Twitter account (@RyanLavnerGC) or using the hashtag #AskLav in a post. I will answer the best submissions here, each Thursday. You can disagree with those answers. It’s allowed. Write in.

Here, then, are this week's best:


Ask Lav

Well, it was poor timing, to be sure. In five singles matches last Sunday, the U.S. either led or was all square heading to the 17th tee. Europe won four of those matches. The fifth match, between Tiger Woods and Francesco Molinari, was halved only after the cup was already decided.

The 18th hole isn’t all that challenging – a 445-yard par 4 that doglegs left and features a set of fairway bunkers along the right. But the U.S. was the home team, and the enormity of a collapse was building, and when Europe is playing to win and the U.S. is playing merely to hold on and scratch out a half point and stay alive … well, you get what happened last Sunday.


Ask Lav

Never too early to look ahead, I suppose. The best guess is 2020 or 2024 – a home Ryder Cup, at least.

There’s little reason to believe that Woods won’t remain competitive into his early- to mid-40s, even with his battered body. And if David Toms is the favorite to land the gig in 2014, then there is no shortage of candidates remaining: Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, maybe even Steve Stricker. Tiger, then, would fall sometime after those guys.

The biggest question: Will he enjoy more success as a Ryder Cup captain or as a player?


Ask Lav

Who should become the next Ryder Cup captain and who will become the next skipper are two wildly different things, of course. Personally, I’d take Freddie Couples, even if it is highly unlikely, given his ties to the Presidents Cup

Think about it: Everybody on the team would want to play well for the coolest gray-haired cat in the game. He’s more competitive than he seems. And if the Ryder Cup is truly about growing the game and bringing more people to the sport, who would be a better ambassador than Couples? 


Ask Lav

Let’s be clear: What Bubba Watson (and Ian Poulter) did on the first tee at Medinah was awesome, even if none of their tee shots ever found the fairway. It was a surreal sight. Standing at the top of the grandstand one day, the platform under my feet was shaking. But you can’t have that at more tournaments. First of all, the sustained, raucous cheers at a normal PGA Tour event would be distracting for other players on the course. Plus, it loses its effect over time, like the tedium of a popular song on the radio. But playing amid loud cheers on the first tee at the Ryder Cup? Absolutely loved it.


Ask Lav

Separate the Americans’ recent Ryder Cup funk into two eras: pre- and post-2008. For all of the kvetching about the FedEx Cup system, it’s undeniable that the playoffs have helped the U.S. in the Ryder Cup since they were established in 2007. It keeps the American players fresh and playing together at a time of year when they used to shelve the clubs. Since 2008, the U.S. has won big at home, lost in the final match in 2010 and this year lost in historic fashion at home but, again, by a single point. This competition has never been more evenly matched.


Ask Lav

It was just an intimidating hole. From the tee box, it looked like the Saturday hole location was tucked on the water’s edge. The only thing you can do is stand up there and hit a precise shot, like Tiger and Luke and Poults all did. That hole, perhaps more than any other, rewarded good golf shots, no matter the team colors.


Ask Lav

Come on, don’t be that guy! The qualification process is fine. When Davis Love made his four captain’s picks, they were the right selections at the time: Steve Stricker, an ideal partner for Woods (or so we thought); Jim Furyk, a prototypical grinder who earned his spot; Brandt Snedeker, the game’s best putter and eventual FedEx Cup champ; and Dustin Johnson, a long hitter who was playing well. They were the right choices, even with the benefit of hindsight. Remember, had the U.S. merely earned 4 ½ points on Sunday, we’d be applauding Love for the job he did scouting and at Medinah.


Ask Lav

I’m no Butch Harmon, but you rarely see a good golfer with his hands behind the clubhead. Don’t overdo it, though – you’ll shank it like Webb Simpson!


Ask Lav

First of all, gold star for two interesting questions. To answer your question, The ideal captain would be passionate and spirited, kind and thoughtful, easygoing and intense. He’d be a players’ captain, but also a guy who has a strong opinion and stands by it. He’d be smart and calculating, but also a guy who goes with the hot hand and trusts his heart. Gee, maybe I should apply!

Getty Images

McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

Getty Images

Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

 

 

Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.