“Cut Line” was going to dub this week’s edition “Corey’s calamity,” but in fairness to the U.S. skipper it’s best to let the matches play out before dropping that hammer.
Still, there’s no denying the U.S. side’s slow start or escaping the PR nightmare that is waterproof-gate. But it all makes one wonder, was giving Paul Azinger a second crack at the captain’s chair really that far fetched?
Bubba Watson. The Florida Panhandle native is being compared to Boo Weekley, who charmed and clowned his way into American hearts at the 2008 Ryder Cup, but Watson has been more Casey Stengel this week than Weekley.
Among Watson’s gems:
“I just see it as a competition and hopefully by the end of the week, we have won more matches than the other team. I don’t look at the history of it. No big deal to me.”
“(Major Dan Rooney) said that he wanted to play golf in the Ryder Cup and we all said we wanted to fly planes.”
“Tiger's game is different than mine. Jim Furyk's is different than mine, Phil Mickelson’s – well, his is pretty close to mine, we both miss fairways a lot of time. Maybe I should talk to Phil.”
“Well, sure, I cried (when he listened to Rooney’s speech) – probably cry again if I'm not careful. So – I love you guys.”
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
U.K. press. At last year’s Presidents Cup U.S. captain Fred Couples gave Michael Jordan an assistant captain’s golf cart and the run of Harding Park, an experiment that was largely applauded for its team building.
This week Pavin trots out U.S. Air Force Major Dan Rooney to motivate his team and is savaged by the U.K. press for dredging up “War on the Shore” type tactics. Lost in translation is that along with being a decorated F-16 pilot Rooney is also a PGA of America professional and the creator of Patriot Golf Day.
Truth be told, Rooney has spent more time in tournament press centers this year promoting Patriot Golf Day than many of the U.K. scribes and his speech to the U.S. team was probably more fair and balanced than what some have written this week.
Rory McIlroy. Love the kid, but why poke the bear? Stephen Ames did it at the 2006 WGC-Match Play Championship and was last seen on La Costa Resort’s 10th hole with Buick tracks running down his back.
In McIlroy’s defense when he said he would, “fancy” his chances against Woods at the Ryder Cup given the state of the world No. 1’s game Woods had just finished at 18 over par at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
But Woods lives for slights, real or perceived, and as innocent, and spot on, as McIlroy’s assessment may have been it was needless bulletin board fodder for a man fueled by the unintended backhand.
Asked this week what he made of McIlroy’s desire to play him Woods said only, “me too.” Translation: see you on Sunday.
Tweet of the Week: @PaulAzinger “I’ve arrived (at Celtic Manor)! But I’m unable to access the press room. What a difference a couple of years makes.” Funny, if given the choice most scribes would ban Corey Pavin from the press center and give ’Zinger a lifetime pass.
Celtic Manor. Enough ink has been wasted this week in regard to the Twenty Ten layout, site of this week’s matches, and Friday’s deluge did little to enamor the Welsh gem to the masses.
Every four years the world schleps to Europe to play Samuel Ryder’s intense member-member on a distinctly American-style golf course instead of one of the old world’s classic links layouts.
Not sure the Europeans would have a distinct advantage if they were playing this week’s matches up the coast at say, Royal Liverpool; but it would be a much better atmosphere and, given the drainage qualities of links courses, we wouldn’t be looking at a Monday finish.
PGA Tour. In the 12 months since Doug Barron became the first player to run afoul of the circuit’s anti-doping policy much has changed – the 40-year-old journeyman has lost 10 pounds, Tiger Woods is no longer the invincible goliath the media once made him out to be and the treatment that got Barron bounced from the Tour is now legal.
Or is it the fine print in the circuit’s anti-doping policy that has changed? Either way, the same anabolic steroid testosterone treatment that led to Barron’s one-year suspension is now acceptable thanks to a therapeutic-use exemption that had been denied at least once in the past.
Only the lawyers and doctors know for sure, but we know an “example” when we see one.
Corey Pavin. European skipper Colin Montgomerie joked after Pavin forgot to introduce Stewart Cink at Thursday’s opening ceremony that the home team was already 1 up in the matches.
But as a muddy morning turned to thoughts of a Monday finish in Wales Captain America’s gaffes seemed to pile up to the point the Europeans were beginning to look dormie.
Let the record show the Americans flew to Wales . . . on a British Airways charter, inexplicably were issued rain gear that didn’t work – an understandable snafu since the chance of rain in Wales is so low in October – and the U.S. captain whiffed his team introductions.
Like football coaches, Ryder Cup captains are given too much credit when a team wins and too much blame when they lose. They must, however, be on top of the small details and from the first tee shot Pavin looks like a man in need of a few mulligans.