I actually have no problem with what hes saying, were the words chosen by USGA executive director David Fay. He wants to put himself in the best position to get a spot on the Ryder Cup team..I think he made a well-calculated decision.
Fay said he also would not second guess Irishman Darren Clarkes decision to skip the European qualifying for the U.S. Open. Clarke is playing in the Austrian Open this week and said he didnt think hed be able to get to Torrey Pines in time to shake off the jet lag and properly prepare.
Meanwhile Pat Perez, who worked at Torrey Pines as a teenager and has played Torrey Pines South, by his own estimation, approximately 250 times, has emerged as a kind of anti-Perry. Perez was recently quoted as saying hed rather MAKE the U.S. Open than win at Memorial. And he got his wish Monday when he qualified out of the Columbus, Ohio sectional.
Asked about Perrys decision, Perez said Perry should have been granted a special exemption for winning Memorial and being ranked No. 27 in the world. Perez blamed the system for Perrys absence and said it was a joke and an embarrassment that Perry wont be at Torrey Pines next week.
For his part, Fay makes no apologies for the selection system. But he did inform GOLF CHANNEL there will be renewed USGA discussion about qualification standards later this year.
OLLIE ON THE RADAR:
Then theres Ollie Schniederjans who wasnt even born when Perez was picking the range at Torrey Pines. Schniederjans is the 14-year-old high school freshman from Powder Spring, Ga. who fell 14 shots short of advancing out of his sectional Monday in Roswell, Ga. He impressed everybody who watched him.
Schniederjans finished third in the recent Georgia state high school championship. Hes mature beyond his years, says Lance Bailey, the pro at Bentwater Golf Club in Acworth, Ga., where Schniederjans family belongs.
And hes spooky calm on the golf course, adds Mark Anderson, the pro who taught Schniederjans how to play and still works with him.
Bailey said he played regularly with Schniederjans last summer and was amazed at how regularly Schniederjans would hit his 5-iron inside Baileys 8-iron on certain par-4s. Now this year, Bailey says, Im still hitting 8-iron on those holes and Ollies hitting sand wedge.
Bailey says the strength of Schniederjans game is with the scoring clubs, especially around the greens. And, yes, there were college coaches watching Schniederjans at Mondays sectional.
Jason Bohn, the medalist at Roswell, played in the same pairing as Schniederjans and afterward told reporters Schniederjans had the golf maturity of a 25-year TOUR veteran. Not a 25-year-old, but a 25-year TOUR veteran. Schniederjans scores were 76-72.
To put Schniederjans age in perspective, hes four years younger than Michelle Wie. (Doesnt it seem like she was 14 just a few weeks ago?)
MICHELLE WIE WATCH:
Wie will attempt to qualify for the U.S. Womens Open Monday at the Woodmont sectional in Maryland where she will have 36 holes to show her sixth-place finish at last weekends womens German Open was no fluke.
And already there is yet another mini-controversy surrounding Wie. She will be grouped at Woodmont with Connecticut teaching pro Sue Ginter who, when she found out shed be playing with Wie, told the Hartford Courant she was not happy with her draw because of all the commotion that will be surrounding Wie.
Wie will be one of approximately 120, including a large contingent of LPGA players, competing for roughly 35 spots.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt