Big announcement Europe to select Ryder Cup captain
Two months ago, before appointing Corey Pavin to lead the U.S. team in Wales, PGA of America chief executive Joe Steranka was cool to the idea of Paul Azinger returning as Captain America because he said there were not enough Ryder Cups for all the candidates.
But if the PGA didnt want Azinger again, Pavin was the only serious candidate.
Davis Love III took himself out of the running because he wants to play on the next team. David Toms and Jim Furyk are too young. Larry Nelson is too old. Given the U.S. model for selecting captains ' a former major champion in his late 40s with Ryder Cup passion and experience ' try to find anyone else other than Pavin even remotely qualified.
Mark Calcavecchia? Lee Janzen?
Picking a captain used to be quite simple for Europe, which had only two captains from 1983 to 1995 ' Tony Jacklin and Bernard Gallacher ' while seizing control of the biennial exhibition.
Now, the players who helped Europe capture the Ryder Cup eight times in 11 matches are lining up to be captain. And that has created the kind of dilemma America used to have ' more captains than there were cups.
No one was a greater victim than Nelson, a Vietnam veteran who won three majors, nearly 75 percent of his Ryder Cup matches and is the only player to go 5-0 in a single Ryder Cup. Also left out was Mark OMeara, although his assertion that the Ryder Cup was all about revenue hurt his chances more than anything.
Sandy Lyle appears headed to a similar fate. The two-time major champion from Scotland officially is under consideration for 2010 captain, but Europe is leaning toward younger captains, and Lyle turns 51 next month.
Montgomerie lobbied for Lyle, a fellow Scot, until it became clear that the selection committee was more interested in him. Then, what looked like a logical choice suddenly turned cloudy last week when two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal ' among the most respected figures among European players ' changed his mind and said he would like to be captain.
Europe cannot go wrong either way.
Monty cant win a major, but he plays like a major champion when the Ryder Cup rolls around. He played on eight teams and compiled a 20-9-7 record, earning the second-most points in European history behind Nick Faldo. Olazabal, who actually has won majors, played on seven teams and forged an 18-8-5 record, a slightly better winning percentage.
Europe has been known to pick two captains at once, and it could be that Montgomerie is selected for Wales in 2010 and Olazabal for Chicago in 2012, since Olazabal is better equipped to handle an American crowd.
Just because the PGA of America didnt have two such candidates doesnt mean Pavin was the wrong choice. His captaincy, like so many others before him, will be judged largely on who goes home with the gold chalice.
And once the PGA of America gets through 2010, it will have plenty of options that Europe now enjoys.
Love is virtually a lock for 2012 (he will be 48), and other players sure to follow as candidates are Toms, Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard, Stewart Cink (if he wins a major) and eventually ' maybe ' Tiger Woods.
But by then, it could be that the burden of choice falls as much on the players as the PGA officials who choose them.
What made the PGAs selection so simple was that Fred Couples had already agreed to be captain of the Presidents Cup this year. What would have happened had Couples turned it down?
The general public, I think, would have a hard time with Fred not being Ryder Cup captain, Love said.
Couples, wildly popular with the golf public, might have rubbed the PGA of America the wrong way by making fun of the gala dinners and suggesting Michael Jordan and Robin Williams as his assistant captains (not that theres anything wrong with that).
Noteworthy about the PGA Tours selection of Couples is that it was the first time since the inaugural Presidents Cup in 1994 that the U.S. captain was under 50 (Hale Irwin was 49). If the Tour continues that trend, players might be forced to choose.
The Ryder Cup, which prides itself on history and tradition, is likely to view a former Presidents Cup captain as damaged goods.
Love was asked a few weeks ago what he would do if the PGA Tour asked him in November to be the next Presidents Cup captain.
I would talk to the PGA of America first to make sure what their schedule was, he said. If they said, Look, you might as well go ahead and be Presidents Cup captain because we are not going to pick you, it will make it easy.
Someone like Toms or Leonard might find themselves in a position of accepting an offer to be Presidents Cup captain and ending their hopes of leading the Ryder Cup, or holding out for the Ryder Cup and being passed over entirely.
If thats the case, it wont be a matter of there being more candidates than cups to go around.
Its the candidates who will have too many cups.
Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open
IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.
Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.
Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.
Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.
Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.
Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way
Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.
Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.
And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.
“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.
Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.
Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.
Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.
Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.
“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.
Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.
A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.
It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.
There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.
Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.
The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.
Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.
“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”
Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why
In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.
Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.
With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.
"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.
So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.
"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.
Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away
Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.
On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.
And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship.
"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.
"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."
Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.
He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).
Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.
With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.
But he isn't celebrating just yet.
"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.
"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."