Mahan learns tough lesson on Ryder Cup comments

By Associated PressAugust 5, 2008, 4:00 pm
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2008 US Open 81x90BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' He complained about the money, control, time and extravagance at the Ryder Cup, some of the same issues that David Duval raised nine years ago without ever having played in one.
 
At least Hunter Mahan did not call it an exhibition.
 
The 26-year-old American has a lot on his plate at Oakland Hills this week. Mahan is trying to validate his potential by winning the final major of the year. He is No. 10 in the Ryder Cup standings and needs a strong week to qualify. And he is busy making the rounds with PGA of America officials, apologizing for critical comments about an event he has never played.
 
Hunter Mahan
Hunter Mahan is two spots from earning an automatic berth onto the U.S. Ryder Cup team. (Getty Images)
They took it personally, and I dont blame them, Mahan said after meeting with PGA president Brian Whitcomb and CEO Joe Steranka. I deserve what I get. I take full responsibility for what I said.
 
Mahan brought the wrong kind of attention to himself with an interview in Golf magazine in which he was asked to explain why the Americans keep losing the Ryder Cup. Among other things, he said the PGA of America could care less about winning because they decide where it is played based on where it can make the most money.
 
And from what Ive heard, the whole week is extremely long, Mahan said in the interview. Youve got dinners every night ' not little dinners, but huge, massive dinners. I know as players, thats the last thing we want to do. We want to prepare ourselves. Thats part of the whole thing: Youre just a slave that week.
 
Mahan thought the interview, which took place in late spring, was going to be about his love for cars, especially with the PGA Championship coming to Motor City. Only when he read the interview did he realize there might be a problem.
 
Then my dad called and said he heard it on the GOLF CHANNEL, Mahan said. I guess they hammered me pretty good, and it kind of erupted from there.
 
Give him credit in one respect. In an age when athletes routinely blame the messenger, Mahan never said he was misquoted or taken out of context. He immediately called U.S. captain Paul Azinger to apologize. Whether it hurts his chances of being a captains pick if he doesnt qualify remains to be seen, although Azinger said he wasnt losing sleep over the interview.
 
I want guys playing good, he said. Im not going to hold a grudge over that.
 
Next up came Mahans meeting with the PGA of America brass, which accepted the apology but still sent a message.
 
It was a chance to enlighten him about the Ryder Cup and PGA of America activities, Whitcomb said Tuesday morning. We saw a talented young man who would like to play in the Ryder Cup and knew he had made a mistake, and was looking to amend those mistakes. I appreciated that.
 
Steranka felt like he had been through this before.
 
Those comments sounded like they were 9 years old, he said. Because they are not relevant to what the Ryder Cup is today.
 
Mahan knows what Ryder Cup competition is all about.
 
He was in the gallery at Brookline in 1999 after being invited to play in the Junior Ryder Cup. Oddly enough, that was the year Duval and Tiger Woods led a mini-revolt over Ryder Cup income that led to each player being allotted $200,000 for charity.
 
It was intense, Mahan said. The crowd, you could hear it a mile away. We had to sit at one hole and wait for people to come through, and it was just crazy. You could see the energy on everybodys faces.
 
Perhaps thats why he was so disappointed to hear chatter that the Ryder Cup wasnt what it appeared to be for all the players.
 
From what Ive heard, the Ryder Cup just isnt fun, Mahan said in the magazine interview. The fun is sucked right out of it. Thats the word I hear a lot.
 
Thats what should have stung the PGA of America the most.
 
Some of the most significant words in his interview might have been, From what Ive heard. Mahan, who hasnt caused any problems in his five years on tour, didnt come up with stuff on his own. He developed these Ryder Cup opinions by listening to those who have played in them, and one can only assume this gripe session took place in the team room at the Presidents Cup.
 
The question was, `Why has the U.S. lost?' ' Mahan said. Just from the Presidents Cup, having such a good time it was disappointing to hear about the Ryder Cup, that it wasnt as much fun. I was disappointed to hear that about an event I had looked up to as a kid.
 
Mahan was wrong to say what he did in the interview, and he knows it.
 
But that doesnt mean the issue will go away for the PGA of America, for its clear that some U.S. players still feel that the Ryder Cup is overcooked. And even though Mahan had no business asking, its a fair question. Of all the great courses in America, why is the Ryder Cup going to Valhalla, a course the PGA of America owns?
 
Then again, most criticism tends to be directed away from the real problem.
 
Even if players had to attend a gala dinner every night instead of just Wednesday, even if the Ryder Cup generated twice as much income, would it not be more fun for the Americans if they were winning?
 
Europeans wear tuxedos, too.
 
I should have said in the article how much I want to change the culture of the Ryder Cup and start winning, Mahan said.
 
No one would criticize that.
 
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    Weather continues to plague Valderrama Masters

    By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 7:55 pm

    SOTOGRANDE, Spain  -- Marc Warren helped his chances of retaining his European Tour card by moving into a tie for second place behind Englishman Ashley Chesters at the rain-hit Andalucia Valderrama Masters on Friday.

    Bad weather interrupted play for a second straight day at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain before darkness caused the second round to be suspended until Saturday, with overnight Chesters still ahead at 5-under.

    Weather delays on Thursday, including a threat of lightning, had kept 60 golfers from finishing their opening round. They included Scottish player Warren, who went out on Friday and finished his first round with a 2-under 69.

    He then made three birdies to go with one bogey on the first nine holes of the second round before play was halted. He joined Frenchman Gregory Bourdy one shot behind Chesters.


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    ''I'm hitting the ball as well as I have in a long time,'' Warren said. ''Hitting fairways and greens is the most important thing around here, so hopefully I wake up tomorrow with the same swing.''

    Chesters and Bourdy were among several golfers unable to play a single hole in the second round on Friday.

    Warren, a three-time European Tour winner, has struggled this season and needs a strong performance to keep his playing privileges for next year.

    Currently ranked 144th, Warren needs to break into the top 116 to keep his card.

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    Watch: Is this the up-and-down of the year?

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 3:30 pm

    Play away from the pin? Just because there's a tree in your way? Not Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. Watch him channel some Arnie (or, more appropriately, some Seve) with this shot in the Valderrama Masters:

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    Cut Line: Johnny's exit, Tiger's fatigue

    By Rex HoggardOctober 19, 2018, 2:06 pm

    In this week’s edition we bid farewell to the most outspoken and insightful analyst of his generation and examine a curious new interpretation that will require players to start paying attention to the small print.

    Made Cut

    Here’s Johnny. After nearly three decades Johnny Miller will hang up his microphone following next year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    Miller called his first tournament as NBC Sports/Golf Channel’s lead analyst in 1990 at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and he told Cut Line this week that at 71 years old he’s ready to relax and spend time with his 24 grandchildren.

    “I was the first guy with an open microphone,” Miller said. “That requires a lot of concentration. It’s not that I couldn’t do it but the handwriting was on the wall; it would be more of a challenge.”

    Miller will be missed for his insight as much as his often-blunt deliveries, but it’s the latter that made him one of a kind.

    A long ride to the right place. After nearly four years of legal wrangling a group of PGA Tour caddies dropped their class-action lawsuit against the circuit this week.

    The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in early 2015 in an attempt by the caddies to secure marketing rights for the bibs they wear during tournaments as a way to create better healthcare and retirement benefits.

    The district court largely ruled against the caddies and that ruling was upheld by an appeals court earlier this year, but better healthcare options may still be in the cards for the caddies.

    “I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the Association of Professional Tour Caddies.

    Sajtinac told Cut Line that the Tour has offered a potential increase to the longtime stipend they give caddies for healthcare and in a statement the circuit said talks are ongoing.

    “The PGA Tour looks forward to continuing to support the caddies in the important role they play in the success of our members,” the statement said.

    It’s rare when both sides of a lawsuit walk away feeling good about themselves, but this particular outcome appears to have ended with a favorable outcome for everybody involved.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    A long haul. Tiger Woods acknowledged what many had speculated about, telling a group this week at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach that his season-ending push and his first victory in five years took a physical toll at the Ryder Cup.

    “It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said on Tuesday. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

    Woods went 0-4 for the U.S. team in France and appeared particularly tired on Sunday following the European victory at Le Golf National.

    For Woods the result was worth the effort with his victory at the Tour Championship ending a five-year drought, but his play and concession that it impacted him at the Ryder Cup does create some interesting questions for U.S. captain Jim Furyk, who sent Woods out for both team sessions on Saturday.

    Tweet(s) of the week: @BobEstesPGA (Bob Estes) “I spoke to a past Ryder Cup captain yesterday. We both agreed that there should be a week off before the [Ryder Cup] to adequately rest and prepare.”

    Given Woods’ comments this week it seems likely he would agree that a break – which may become the norm with the Tour season ending three weeks earlier – would be helpful, but Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts had a slightly different take in response to Estes’ tweet. “I’m afraid a different schedule wasn’t gonna make the fairways wider. On that particular course with how we played, [the United States] had absolutely no chance. Hasn’t more than half the euros played playoffs too?” Colsaerts tweeted.

    It’s never too early to get a jump on the 2020 trash talking.


    Missed Cut

    By the book. The USGA and R&A’s most recent rulemaking hill involved the use of green-reading materials. On Monday the game’s rule-makers unveiled new interpretations on what will be allowed starting next year.

    Out will be the legal-sized reams of information that had become ubiquitous on Tour, replaced by pocket-sized books that will include a limited scale (3/8 inch to 5 yards).

    While the majority of those involved were in favor of a scaled-back approach to what to many seemed like information overload, it did seem like a curious line to draw.

    Both sides of the distance debate continue to await which way the rule-makers will go on this front and, at least in the United States, participation continues to be a challenge.

    Banning the oversized green-reading books may have been a positive step, but it was a micro issue that impacted a wildly small portion of the golf public. Maybe it’s time for the rule-makers to start looking at more macro issues.

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    S.Y. Kim leads Kang, A. Jutanugarn in Shanghai

    By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:24 am

    SHANGHAI  -- Sei Young Kim led the LPGA Shanghai by one stroke at the halfway point after shooting a 5-under-par 67 in the second round on Friday.

    Kim made six birdies, including four straight from the sixth hole, to move to a 10-under 134 total. Her only setback was a bogey on the par-4 15th.

    Kim struggled in the first half of the year, but is finishing it strong. She won her seventh career title in July at the Thornberry Creek Classic, was tied for fourth at the Women's British Open, and last month was runner-up at the Evian Championship.

    ''I made huge big par putts on 10, 11, 12,'' Kim said on Friday. ''I'm very happy with today's play.''

    Danielle Kang (68) and overnight leader Ariya Jutanugarn (69) were one shot back.


    Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos


    ''I like attention. I like being in the final group. I like having crowds,'' Kang said. ''It's fun. You work hard to be in the final groups and work hard to be in the hunt and be the leader and chasing the leaders. That's why we play.''

    She led into the last round at the Hana Bank Championship last week and finished tied for third.

    Brittany Altomare had six birdies in a bogey-free round of 66, and was tied for fourth with Bronte Law (68) and Brittany Lincicome (68).

    Angel Lin eagled the par-5 17th and finished with the day's lowest score of 65, which also included six birdies and a lone bogey.