One Year Should be Plenty for US Cuppers

By George WhiteNovember 4, 2004, 5:00 pm
Now that the PGA of America has shocked us all by naming Tom Lehman captain of the Ryder Cup team, they ought to stun us again with another change. Isnt it about time we do away with this business of selecting the U.S. Ryder Cuppers over a two-year period?
The two-year qualification might have had some justification in the past when you wanted to reward someone for excellence over a longer period. But we have the Presidents Cup now, which is played in the Ryder Cups off-year. That means that every year players have a chance to qualify for some kind of international play. A hot player next year will most likely make the Presidents team. After the Presidents Cup, under this scenario players would qualify all over again for the Ryder Cup.
I know, I know the Ryder Cup addresses this issue, in part, by making the Ryder Cup year the bigger year in points. Points carry twice as much weight if they are accumulated the year of the Ryder. But even though the non-Ryder years count only half as much as Ryder years, why have them at all?
This wouldnt have made a scintilla of difference this year, agreed. The Europeans won by a whopping nine-point margin, and I dont care if you had 30 people who qualified to play their 12 ' the Europeans still would have won. It was as if the PGA Tour were playing the Hooters Tour. But the question remains, why have the two-year qualifying period at all?
Would it make much difference in the team personnel? Only marginally ' this year it might have meant Kenny Perry or Fred Funk gave up his place for, say, Todd Hamilton. Im not going back through all the results of this year, but the fact remains that it wouldnt have been a major change. But in many years, one player could sway the result by two or three points. And a two-or three-point swing usually means the difference in winning and losing.
Paul Azinger said it Wednesday: 'In the end, what America needs to do is not get the right captain but get the right point system to get the hottest players; not the best, because they're all great, but the hottest players.'
I know the argument that some have advanced ' why cut it off at a year? If you want the hottest golfer, why not make it six months? One month? Heck, the hottest golfer of the moment would probably be the one who shoots the best score this day.
But you obviously have to have a cut-off point, and one year seems reasonable. And every year everyone would start out with zero points, even-steven, if the Presidents Cup would change their requirements also.
The Presidents Cup, of course, carries on with this two-year silliness, too. But its ranking this year is for 2004 only, and the list of those in the top 10 raises a few eyebrows. John Daly is No. 10. Zach Johnson is No. 8, Steve Flesch is seventh. And way up in the fifth spot is Hamilton.
That is what the Ryder Cup rankings might have looked like for this year. Absent from the top 10 are Funk, Jim Furyk, Chris Riley and David Toms. Those guys would still be eligible for a captains selection, of course, if the captain felt they could make a difference.
Of course, it wont make any difference if the United States doesnt have the best golfers ' and I mean the golfers who can meld together as a team. Hal Sutton was criticized unmercifully for this years debacle, but maybe we were expecting too much. Lets face it ' Hal might have had an inferior team ' period. If that was really the reason, then Lehman is doomed to a similar fate, and it wont matter a whit how great a captain he is.
But consider this year an anomaly ' and if youre a U.S. fan, you better pray that it is. If the next Ryder Cup is normal, it will be decided by a couple of points. And a couple of points might well be provided by the hot golfer.
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Three of world's top 5 MC; not 60-year-old Langer

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 7:04 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three of the top five players in the world missed the cut at The Open.

Bernhard Langer did not.

The 60-year-old, who is in the field via his victory in last year’s Senior Open Championship, shot even-par 71 on Friday. At 2 over through 36 holes, he safely made it under the plus-3 cut line.

"You know, I've played the Masters [this year], made the cut. I'm here and made the cut. I think it is an accomplishment," he said. "There's a lot of great players in the field, and I've beaten a lot of very good players that are a lot younger than me."

Langer had three birdies and three bogeys in the second round and said afterwards that he was “fighting myself” with his swing. He’s spent the last few days on the phone with his swing coach, Willy Hoffman, trying to find some comfort.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Despite his score, and his made cut, Langer the perfectionist wasn’t satisfied with the way he went about achieving his results.

"I wasn't happy with my ball-striking. My putting was good, but I was unlucky. I had like four lip-outs, no lip-ins. That part was good. But the ball-striking, I wasn't really comfortable with my swing," he said. "Just, it's always tough trying stuff in the middle of a round."

Langer, a two-time Masters champion, has never won The Open. He does, however, have six top-3 finishes in 30 prior starts.

As for finishing higher than some of the top-ranked players in the world, the World Golf Hall of Famer is taking it in stride.

"I'm not going to look and say, 'Oh, I beat Justin Rose or beat whatever.' But it just shows it's not easy. When some of the top 10 or top 20 in the world don't make the cut, it just shows that the setup is not easy," Langer said. "So I got the better half of the draw maybe, too, right? It wasn't much fun playing in the rain, I guess, this morning for five hours. I had to practice in the rain, but I think once I teed off, we never used umbrellas. So that was a blessing."

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Kisner doubles 18, defends not laying up

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 6:42 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It was only fitting that Jean Van de Velde was there working as an on-course reporter on Friday as Kevin Kisner struggled his way up Carnoustie’s 18th fairway.

Rolling along with a two-stroke lead, Kisner’s 8-iron approach shot from an awkward lie in the rough from 160 yards squirted right and bounced into Barry Burn, the winding creek where Van de Velde’s title chances at the 1999 Open Championship began to erode.

Unlike Van de Velde, who made a triple bogey-7 and lost The Open in a playoff, Kisner’s double bogey only cost him the solo lead and he still has 36 holes to make his closing miscue a distant memory. That’s probably why the 34-year-old seemed at ease with his plight.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“It just came out like a high flop shot to the right. It was weird. I don't know if it caught something or what happened,” said Kisner, who was tied with Zach Johnson and Zander Lombard at 6 under par. “You never know out of that grass. It was in a different grass than usual. It was wet, green grass instead of the brown grass. So I hadn't really played from that too much.”

Like most in this week’s field Kisner also understands that rounds on what is widely considered the most difficult major championship venue can quickly unravel even with the most innocent of mistakes.

“To play 35 holes without a double I thought was pretty good,” he said. “I've kept the ball in play, done everything I wanted to do all the way up into that hole. Just one of those things that came out completely different than we expected. I'll live with that more than chipping out and laying up from 20 feet.”

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Wind, not rain more a weekend factor at Open

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:39 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – After a half-day of rain in Round 2 of the 147th Open Championship, the weekend offers a much drier forecast.

Saturday at Carnoustie is projected to be mostly cloudy with a high of 62 degrees and only a 20 percent chance of rain.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Sunday calls for much warmer conditions, with temperatures rising upwards of 73 degrees under mostly cloudy skies.

Wind might be the only element the players have to factor in over the final 36 holes. While the winds will be relatively calm on Saturday, expected around 10-15 mph, they could increase to 25 mph in the final round.

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Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

“I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”