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.
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Here, then, are this week's best:
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!