Twelve Captains Picks Nah - COPIED

By Brian HewittOctober 9, 2008, 4:00 pm
The Comebacker this week, quite naturally, is all about Americas smashing 16-11 Ryder Cup victory over the Euros last week.
Without further ado:
Harry writes: Why do there have to be any automatic selections? Why cant it be all captains choices, putting together a squad much like they do in Olympic basketball now? I would love to see the captain have total control to pair players whose games complement each other, those that are singles specialists, etc. What do you think?
The Comebacker
Interesting thought. But part of the fascination with the build-up to the Ryder Cup is following the point standings, week-to-week, especially as the date for the Ryder Cup nears. Unlike Wall St., the more volatility the better.


Ernest writes: As an avid golf follower, who appreciates the contributions of Corey Pavin, (Im) sorry he has to wait. Everyone in sports understands the chemistry of a team is invaluable and it starts at the top. All you have to do is look at the other sports to see the consistency ' whether its manager, head coach, or in this case the captain ' that he brings to the table. Azinger made the bold decisions to changing the system, did his homework, and even without the best player in the world brought home a victory. He deserves the right to defend if he wants to. Besides, anyone who beats cancer is too tough for me to say he cant do it.
The Comebacker
It says here we havent seen the last of Paul Azinger as a U.S. Ryder Cup captain. And, yes, thats an educated guess.


Bryce writes: In my view, captain Azinger has reverted back to the win at all costs attitude and I was not impressed by his conduct or that of Anthony Kim on Sunday. It looked more like a tailgating party at a football game than a golf match. The lack of etiquette and poor sportsmanship by Anthony Kim was particularly striking and goes against the grain of the Ryder Cup. Perhaps Kim, who is either too young to remember or too brash to care, should be forced to watch the tape of Jack Nicklaus giving Tony Jacklin his putt on the 18th hole and see what a true sportsman looks and acts like.
The Comebacker
Perhaps Bryce should be forced to watch the on-course antics of Sergio Garcia in recent Ryder Cups. Maybe then he will realize there is a difference between enthusiasm and egotism.


David writes:Has there ever been talk of another cup to have the Europeans vs. the Internationals? I would love to see a three-year rotation to accommodate this. It would give all teams two years on, one year off rotation.
The Comebacker
Actually, theres been a lot of talk about this concept. I have no use for the talk. The Ryder Cup is too good. The PGA of America would be foolish to change it.


Ken writes:I think our team played with a lot of heart, intensity and cool. But my hat is off to the Euros also. It is a real pleasure to watch the level of sportsmanship displayed by all of the players and the captains of both teams. It makes me proud to say that I, too, am a golfer.
The Comebacker
Well stated.


Jim writes: I was born and raised in England and left that country over 55 years ago and my heart will always have a place for that country. The reason for that statement is to make a comment regarding Lee Westwood. I was really disappointed in his statements during the tournament, about (Boo) Weekley and the fans. I also was surprised with his comments after the Europeans lost. His whining was one of the sore notes in this years entertainment. It is easy when you are winning, but not so easy when the shoe is on the other foot.
The Comebacker
More than a few e-mails came in bashing Westwood. The Comebacker doesnt think Westwood was the problem for the Euros.


Lauri writes: Congratulations to (the) U.S. team. What is with you freakin news people? Why are you putting the teams (through) this Spanish Inquisition? WHO CARES? It will not change anything. I can't believe the ignorant questions asked! All you want is some sound bite to put them (all) in a bad light. Nick Faldo did the job the way he felt it should be done. You didn't like it? Get someone else next time. THIS TIME IS DONE! Golf is a game of time and conditions, every day is different. GOT THAT? No day will ever be the same. So everyone plays differently. Some days you're ON, and some days you're OFF. Azinger was, as usual, BEING IN CONTROL, acting like a 10-year old.
The Comebacker
I wish, just once, wed hear from somebody with an opinion.Oh, and by the way, Lauri, I think your Caps Lock key is busted.


Dave writes:As I revel in seeing the Cup come back home, two thoughts bother me. First, are Lee Westwood's comments reasonable or at all appropriate from a professional even if true? Second, and perhaps most troubling ' are we seeing the start of the end of Phil's career? I've been a fan ever since his days of winning a pro event as an amateur. His magic seems to be gone, and the fire in his eyes that he used to have wasn't there at all this week, even though he said it was.'
The Comebacker
Phil needs to figure out a way to keep his juices flowing late in the season.


Dan writes: What an effort! Sunday was great. My girlfriend hates golf but she didnt stop watching until the U.S. Ryder Cup team won. Golf just received another fan.
The Comebacker
You know youre on to something when the girlfriends start buying in to a sporting event.


Kevin writes: Please bring up that golf without Tiger (Woods) does exist. I am a huge Tiger fan and always will be and will continue to cheer him on to a win every time he tees it up. However, I think this Ryder Cup just showed the world that there are a lot of other great golfers. Without him in the field it was fun to watch the media have to report on all the golfers involved in this years Ryder Cup and not dwell on Tiger's matches. This may have been a great thing for the PGA Tour and golf worldwide to see that there are some great talents out there even though they do get overshadowed, rightfully so, by Tigers accomplishments. Once again the stage of the Ryder Cup showed what a great game golf is and how great these players truly are.
The Comebacker
Somebody needed to say this.


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

    Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:

    The Monday morning headline will be …

    REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.

    RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.

    MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.

    JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.

    Who or what will be the biggest surprise?

    HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.

    LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.

    BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.

    COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.

    Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?

    HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.

    LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.

    BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.

    COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.

    What will be the winning score?

    HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.

    LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.

    BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.

    COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.

    @kharms27 on Instagram

    Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 3:16 pm

    Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.

    Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.

    This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):

    While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:

    Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.

    Getty Images

    McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

    Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

    “It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”

    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

    “Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

    He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.  

    @radiosarks on Twitter

    Height of irony: Phil putts in front of 'rules' sign

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 1:36 pm

    A picture is worth 1,000 words and potentially two strokes for playing a moving ball under Rule 14-5 but not Rule 1-2.

    Phil Mickelson has been having some fun during his Open prep at Carnoustie hitting flop shots over human beings, but the irony of this photo below is too obvious to go over anyone's head.

    Mickelson also tried tapping down fescue two weeks ago at The Greenbrier, incurring another two-shot penalty.

    And so we're left to wonder about what Phil asked himself back at Shinnecock Hills: "The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’”