Europeans May Be Missing the Points
The European Tour has an interesting conundrum regarding their Ryder Cup team. Competitors for each team are selected based on points garnered on their team's home tour. Americans accumulate points based on top 10 finishes in PGA Tour events and majors, Europeans earn their points through prize money won an European Tour events and majors.
With the dramatic escalation of PGA Tour purses, an unavoidable problem has arisen. Top European stars and sure Ryder Cuppers can no longer afford to turn their backs on the huge riches available in the States in an effort to support their home tour. They must now earn almost all of their Ryder Cup points from the majors and World Golf Championships, because they only play a handful of European Tour events.
Under the European qualification system, points are earned based solely upon money earned in European Tour events, World Golf Championships and major championships. Money earned at PGA Tour events or any events on other tours around the world does not count towards Ryder Cup points. The final date for earning European Ryder Cup points is September 2nd, at the conclusion of the BMW International. The obvious intention is to reward those who play on the home tour and, in the process, keep the European Tour strong. But alas, the problem is a weakening of the European Ryder Cup team.
The money on the PGA Tour has become so disproportionate in comparison to the European Tour that top players such as Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal, Jesper Parnevik, Bernhard Langer and Nick Faldo have come to play in America almost exclusively. None of these players would qualify for the European team based on points earned. Almost all of these players have better World Rankings than the player in the 11th position, Paul McGinley (66). Luckily, Colin Montgomerie snapped his recent slump with a win last week in Ireland. He had been hovering around 12th place and would not have qualified for the team on points; he would have needed a discretionary pick.
If nothing changed between now and the end of the qualification period, European Captain Sam Torrance would find himself in the following position. Prior to his two discretionary picks, none of his players would be in the top 6 in world rankings and only 5 in the top 25. His highest ranked player would need a pick (Garcia 5). For his final pick, he would have to choose among four players in the top 55 (Parnevik 21, Langer 34, Miguel Angel Jimenez 44 and Olazabal 53). He would have to use four players ranked 50th or higher (Phillip Price 50, Andrew Coltart 70, Robert Karlsson 78 and Andrew Oldcorn 95). At the same time he wouldnt have the services of longtime Ryder Cup hero Nick Faldo, who seems to be getting his game back into shape. On the other side, the top 10 American qualifiers consist of 5 players ranked in the top 10 and 9 in the top 25 before Curtis Stranges two discretionary picks.
There are some big purses between now and the end of the BMW International. More importantly there are two majors and a World Golf Championship where the PGA Tour Imports can earn points, so things could change somewhat. It is improbable, though, that all of the top European golfers will be able to make this years Ryder Cup team through the combination of points and captains picks. There are simply too many European Tour players who have made the American Tour their priority.
Golf is a much more global game than it was only a decade ago. When Samuel Ryder underwrote the first matches in the 1920s, he sought to pit the best American golfers against the best British golfers. It had nothing to do with various tours and points: your best against our best. It would be nice to get back to that. Ease some of the heartache and stress in the life of Sam Torrance. Either increase the number of discretionary picks or use an independent standard like the World Rankings. Dont use a system that forces players to support a tour that cant support them.
Read Part 1 - 'The Quest to Play in the Ryder Cup'
Full Coverage of the 34th Ryder Cup Matches
DEFCON Tiger: Athletes tweet while watching Tiger
Tiger Woods grabbed the Tour Championship lead and the sports world by the throat Saturday, making birdie on six of his first seven holes in his third round and sending social media into a frenzy.
Here's a sampling from athletes, journalists and celebrtiies, and we'll start with two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry.
.@TigerWoods I want whatever you had for breakfast this morning! This is insane— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) September 22, 2018
Tiggggeerrrrrrrr— Mark Ingram II (@MarkIngram22) September 22, 2018
Wow @TigerWoods is ready to go today!— Harry Kane (@HKane) September 22, 2018
Tiger just had his 6th birdie of the day on the 7th hole! pic.twitter.com/eqLFbpEbbG— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) September 22, 2018
Tv on Airplane. Oh boy !!!!— Ricky Barnes (@RealRickyBarnes) September 22, 2018
Tiger is going to win— Paige Spiranac (@PaigeSpiranac) September 22, 2018
Tiger on the loose let’s go! pic.twitter.com/AjMi5p7yym— Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) September 22, 2018
5 birdies in 6 holes. Only one player is within 6 shots of Tiger. This is outrageous. pic.twitter.com/Ws6A5Neayo— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) September 22, 2018
Make that 5 under thru his 1st 6. Live look at Tiger walking to 7th tee pic.twitter.com/W7T0Kei1rB— trey wingo (@wingoz) September 22, 2018
Feels like 12, 15 years ago, happily chained to my favorite chair watching the field chase Tiger in a big event on a Saturday afternoon...few things like it.— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) September 22, 2018
Lewis fires 61, two behind Herbert in Portugal
VILAMOURA, Portugal – Tom Lewis came within two shots of tying English countryman Oliver Fisher's European Tour record on another day of low scoring at the Portugal Masters on Saturday.
Lewis returned a 10-under 61 in the third round, just 24 hours after Fisher carded the first 59 on the circuit. Lewis moved to two strokes behind leader Lucas Herbert of Australia.
Lewis acknowledged the thought of another 59 crept into his mind: ''It's something I noticed with three holes to go. I wasn't that bothered at the end of the day.
''I'm pleased that I shot 10 under par. I can only continue to make birdies and see what happens tomorrow.''
Herbert, who is playing off invites this season as he looks to earn his full tour playing privileges, shot a 64 for a 19-under total of 194.
Fisher took 10 more strokes than he did on Friday and was in a group on 14-under 199.
Sergio Garcia of Spain, trying to find form ahead of next week's Ryder Cup, was on 204 after a 68.
Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship
After grinding out a 68 on Friday, Tiger Woods is trying to get the lead all to himself in Round 3 at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him.
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Highlights: Tiger birdies six of his first seven
Tiger Woods entered Saturday tied atop the board and wasted little time taking the outright lead at East Lake.
Woods moved clear of the field with this birdie at No. 1, whipping the Atlanta crowd into an early frenzy.
Following a 4-foot par save at the second, Woods moved ahead by two and reached 9 under par when he played this approach from 144 and sank this 8-footer for birdie at the third.
One hole later, Woods reached double digits at 10 under par when he poured in a bending 21-footer that just crept over the lip.
He made it four birdies in his first five holes when he bombed a 320-yard drive, wedged to 7 feet, and converted again.
He looked in danger of not capitalizing on his first crack at a par-5 after he came out of a fairway wood on his second shot, but a splash from the bunker and a make from 6 feet gave him his fifth circle in six holes.
He went Vintage Tiger at the seventh, playing this fairway bunker shot from 172 yards to 5 feet, setting up his sixth birdie in his first seven holes and advancing him to 13 under, five clear.
Looking to make the turn in 29, Woods instead missed the green at the par-3 ninth, failed to get up and down for par, and had to settle for 5-under 30.