Faldo Zinger Chess Game


The behind the scenes Ryder Cup chess game might be about to get more interesting than it already is.
Highly-placed sources on the European side say captain Nick Faldo might ask for a one-day extension at the end of the month to name his two captains picks for the 12-man squad that will face the Americans in Kentucky next month.
And, they say, if he does request extra time, that request will be granted.
As it stands now, Faldo is scheduled to announce his two picks at Gleneagles the same day ' Sunday, Aug. 31 ' that the top 10 points earners are finalized at the end of the Johnnie Walker Championship.
Where it gets tricky is that the U.S. event that week ' the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston ' doesnt end until Monday, Sept. 1 because of Labor Day weekend.
If, say, Englands Paul Casey, currently not a qualifier on points but a player most observers believe belongs on the team, wins in Boston or finishes high enough to impress Faldo sufficiently, Faldo might want to use one of his picks on Casey. Hence, the need for the one-day extension.
The philosophy on our side of the pond, one Euro higher-up said, has always been, Support the captain.
It is no accident, by the way, that American captain Paul Azinger will name his four discretionary picks on Tuesday, Sept. 2.
Meanwhile the worlds highest ranked Euro, Padraig Harrington, in case you hadnt noticed, is not full of himself off the golf course. And heres yet more proof:
Approached last year about a biography, Harrington declined. Then he got the idea that a book could produce monies toward research for cancer, the disease that felled his father.
So Harrington agreed but only if the bulk of the profits would go to that cause. Rather than choose the publishers own ghost writer, Harrington insisted that six Irish sportswriters, all of whom have followed his career, share the writing duties. and he convinced them all to work for free on the project.
Later, at a publishers launch event, Harrington presented each of the six scribes with a $500 Cartier pen engraved with his autograph and thanks.
It is, said longtime Irish sportswriter Dermot Gilleece of the pen, 'one of my prized possessions.'
The name of the book, by the way, is Padraig Harringtons Journey to the Open.
Speaking of Harrington and Gilleece, the latter recalls a conversation with the recently-crowned PGA Championship winner in which Harrington admitted that he uses press conferences to sort out his thoughts.
And he told me this, Gilleece said. Hes engaging us in the press room to clear his own head. He tells us what he wants to sort out his own head.
And the fact of the matter is that Harrington is a terrific analytical quote. So whats good for us (the media) in the press tent is good for him.
Wish that they were all that way.
Gilleece also tells about the time he asked Harrington how his father was doing while the elder Harrington was battling cancer.
Why dont you go see him, Harrington replied.
With Padraigs help, Gilleece was set up with an appointment to visit Harringtons father. At the meeting the elder Harrington served up tea and stories.
It lasted about three hours, Gilleece said. During that time Harrington senior told Gilleece the quality that served his son best in the competitive world of golf was his extraordinary equilibrium.
And dont, he said, attribute that to me. The son got that quality on his own, the father said proudly.
Paul Casey, by the way, wont be playing later this month at Gleneagles in Scotland at the Johnnie Walker Championship where he has won twice. And he has a good reason.
Because of the complicated European qualification system for its Ryder Cup squad, Casey has determined he has a better chance making the squad off the world points list than he does off the European points list. Captain Nick Faldo will get five players off of each list before (as referenced earlier in this piece) he makes his captains picks.
Even if I was to win at Gleneagles, thats still not enough points to put me on the team, Casey told PGATOUR.com. So all I can do is play over here (the U.S.) and play great golf and try to win over here and hopefully make my way in on the world points list.
It is believed that Faldo would much rather have Casey, who is 3-1-2 in two Ryder Cup appearances, on his team than either Oliver Wilson or Soren Hansen, both of whom would make the squad if the points race ended tomorrow.
Ive played some really good golf in the last month or so, Casey said. I played disappointing golf at the beginning of the year which is why Im not straight on that Ryder Cup team as I would like to have been right now.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Wyndham Championship