This Years Ryder Cup Cant Have Next Years Face

By George WhiteSeptember 24, 2001, 4:00 pm
In a perfect world, time would virtually stand still and the 2001 Ryder Cup would proceed in 2002 as if a year hadnt really passed. Starting with No. 1 Tiger Woods and ending with No. 10 Stewart Cink, Americas top golfers would remain exactly the same as they are today. None of the young guys would proceed at the accelerated pace expected of them. None of the old guys would show signs of age further creeping up on them. We would have the event exactly as it would have been back in 2001, and the world could then get back to the more important business at hand.
 
That is what has been decreed. Ryder Cup 2001 will be played in 2002, and every thing is the same as it would have been this year - same coach, same players, same uniforms.
 
The reality one year from now, unfortunately, will be quite different. Woods will still be No. 1, but after him, there really isn't much telling. The Ryder Cup will go on, though, exactly as it would have had it been held this year. That is the way Curtis Strange, Sam Torrance and PGA head Jim Awtrey wants it, and its a fitting tribute to the mind-numbing events of Sept. 11.
 
The reality of the situation, however, is that professional golf could be quite different a year from now.
 
The deal cut was the best way, perhaps, to get through a very bad situation. The captain ' Strange ' had been chosen two years ago. He had put in countless hours preparing for the event. To deny him the chance to coach a Ryder Cup team would have been unthinkable. He could have slid to 2003, admittedly, but that would have left Paul Azinger, Hal Sutton, Corey Pavin, Fred Couples, Tom Lehman, Davis Love, Mark OMeara, etc., as the odd man out in the race to be captain. The PGA doesnt normally pick captains who are over 50, so that already leaves a couple of those 40-somethings on the outside looking in. To expect Curtis to hang on for two more years, after he has already been captain for two years, is too much to ask.
 
To cancel the event entirely seemed almost unthinkable, considering the millions (billions?) of dollars that it generates, both on this side and the other of the Atlantic Ocean. So ' cancel the Ryder Cup until 2003? I hardly think so.
 
But this grand scheme isnt very workable, either. At the very least, two or three very deserving men are going to have to go fishing come next September. It is too much to expect for our gents in their 40s to continue the good years.
 
Scott Hoch will be 46 when the 2001 Ryder Cup finally gets around to being played near the end of the 2002 season. Mark Calcavecchia, Sutton and Azinger will all be 42. Scott Verplank will be a 39-year-old rookie. Davis Love III will be 38. The American team will definitely be long of tooth.
 
Its most unfortunate that there will be nothing for the other guys to play for next year. Next year was supposed to be the Presidents Cup, but it, too, has been put back a year. Charles Howell is likely to have big year. Or Bryce Molder or David Gossett, two other young guys. Too bad - they will just have to take their putters and go sit in the corner while we finish 2001s business.
 
Chris DiMarco? Justin Leonard? Lehman? Nope. They, too, wont have a chance until 2003, when they might make the Presidents Cup team. Lehman almost assuredly wont have another chance at a Ryder Cup ' he will be 45 in 2004 when the next squad will be chosen.
 
Is there any way to make this Ryder Cup fair for everyone? No, certainly not. But maybe there is a better way. Make this qualifying period last three years instead of two. Leave the points as they are. And allow Strange two new picks when next season rolls around.
 
If a Howell or a DiMarco can make the team, so be it. If a Lehman or a Leonard can regain the old magic, dont they deserve the honor? But if this years team can tread water another 12 months and make the squad as it stands in 2002, then more power to them. And they would have a definite edge since they have already qualified for the 2001 team, which would be two-thirds of the way there.
 
Ryder Cup 2001 will never be perfect, except in the 2001 season. It might be okay at the beginning of 2002, but at the end of 2002? Hardly.
 
To merely postpone this years matches until 2002 presumes something enormous. There is no right way to do it. There is, however, something of a fair way. Give the 2002 matches a 2002 face. The year 2001 is gone. Dont do something inequitable by merely brushing on a little makeup and pretending an entire year isnt going to happen.
 
Full Coverage of the 34th Ryder Cup Matches
Getty Images

Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

Getty Images

Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

Getty Images

Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

Getty Images

Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.