Azinger to Captain Again

By Brian HewittSeptember 24, 2008, 4:00 pm
The movement to draft Paul Azinger to repeat as U.S. Ryder Cup captain has been gaining momentum all week in the wake of Americas pulsating 16-11 point rout of the Europeans Sunday in Louisville.
 
Two captaincies in a row for Azinger is a longshot.
 
But, Kenny Perry said Wednesday, Paul Azinger needs to be made a captain again.
 
In the past we have said there are not enough Ryder Cups to provide the experience of being captain for all the great U.S. players who are deserving, PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka told GOLF CHANNEL. Invariably someone is left out.
 
But longshots and Kentucky victories have a history together. A horse named Donerail won the 1913 Kentucky Derby after going to the post at almost 100-1.
 
And upon closer examination, the odds on Azinger reprising his role in 2010 in Wales at the next Ryder Cup, arent so long after all.
 
Meanwhile, GOLF CHANNEL has learned that Azinger has told a close associate that he is intrigued with the possibility of captaining the U.S. side at the 2012 matches scheduled for Medinah, near Chicago.
 
Due to changes in the system, the job might not represent as much of a time commitment as it used to. For starters, under the new system, the only Ryder Cup points earned in 2009 will be at the four majors. That means the PGA of America can safely wait, if it wishes, to name its next captain. The PGA of America announced Azingers captaincy in November of 2006. But it could effectively shorten the time Azinger needs to prepare for 2010 by delaying his appointment.
 
For that matter, the PGA of America, if it wanted, could hire a full time staffer to do a lot of the nuts and bolts stuff Azinger had to do in advance of Valhalla.
 
Asked if there was a policy, written or unwritten, against having a captain serve two Ryder Cups in a row, Steranka replied, No, there is no policy.
 
At the Sunday night victory press conference, Azinger said, Im not going to think about it, when asked about captaining the U.S. in 2010.
 
Zinger in 10, Justin Leonard said in response to Azingers answer.
 
Zinger in 10, chimed in Phil Mickelson.
 
Stay tuned.
 

THE EURO SIDE
 
Meanwhile there is quite another movement afoot in Europe to crown Welshman Ian Woosnam as Europes next Ryder Cup captain. Much of the push is coming from Wales where the matches will take place.
 
Woosnam successfully captained the Euros to a smashing 18-9 win over the Americans in Ireland two years ago.
 
The early favorite to captain the Euros next time out has been two-time Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal, who served as Nick Faldos vice-captain at Valhalla.
 
Olazabal has been ill much of 2008 with an undiagnosed illness. Doctors have done repeated and exhaustive tests and found nothing. The whole process has left Olazabal drained.
 
If Woosnam gets the nod in 2010, look for Olazabal to captain the Euros at Medinah near Chicago in 2012 and Scot Colin Montgomerie to get the post at Gleneagles in Scotland in 2014.
 
Montgomerie has said Scot Sandy Lyle should get the nod in 2012. But Lyle, although likable, is said to be somewhat out of touch with the younger players. He is an unlikely choice.
 

POINTS OF CONTENTION
 
One of the hot topics at commissioner Tim Finchems press conference at the TOUR Championship in Atlanta this week was the FedExCup point system.
 
FedEx isnt real happy seeing headlines like, FedExCup Fails To Deliver, one highly-placed source told GOLF CHANNEL.
 
The source was referring to the fact that Vijay Singh already has clinched the $10 million first prize before the players tee off Thursday at East Lake.
 
GOLF CHANNEL has learned that the TOUR has not ruled out the possibility of a radical change in the points system ' one that would make a sizable amount of the $10 million pot still up for grabs when the players arrive in Atlanta even if first place in the points standings has been clinched.
 

CAMILO UPDATE
 
Word out of Atlanta is that Colombian Camilo Villegas, who was unhappy with remarks made by network announcers during the final round of his victory at the recent BMW Championship, met with TV officials and cleared the air at East Lake.
 
What disturbed Villegas were remarks made on the air that Villegas interpreted to mean that he feared kidnapping every time he returned to his home country.
 

PERRYS FUTURE
 
Kenny Perry, barbecued in many media outlets this year for playing in just one major championship because he wanted to make the Ryder Cup team, said Wednesday he wont tailor his schedule to make the team in 2010.
 
Perry will be 50 years old when those matches take place in Wales. But Perry, who has never won a major, did say he will play in all four in 2009. I think I may have one left in me, he said.
 

Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related Links:
  • U.S. Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • European Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • Full Coverage - 37th Ryder Cup
  • Getty Images

    Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
    Getty Images

    Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

    Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

    Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

    Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

    Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

    20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

    40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

    50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

    80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

    100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

    Getty Images

    Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

    If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

    Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

    Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


    Updated Official World Golf Ranking


    There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

    There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

    John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

    Getty Images

    Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

    Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

    Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

    Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

    “I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

    But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

    “I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”