Punch Shot: Love as '16 RC captain - good or bad call?

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 17, 2015, 1:37 am

Davis Love III will be named the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reported Monday. Love was the losing 2012 U.S. captain and was selected by the U.S. Ryder Cup task force to lead the team next year at Hazeltine. Is this a good call or bad call? GolfChannel.com writers weigh in.


Davis Love III is the right choice as the American Ryder Cup captain if Fred Couples and Paul Azinger don’t want the job.

That doesn’t sound like it’s the case, though.

The real story here isn’t Love getting the job. It’s why he’s getting the job. It’s why he’s better qualified for whatever new vision the Ryder Cup task force is laying out for the future of the captaincy than are Couples and Azinger, who have both proven themselves formidably as winners in international team events.

If you’re seeking an answer to the American Ryder Cup woes, you start with Couples and Azinger. You have to dismiss them before moving on. There’s no getting around that. From the outside, it’s staggering that their proven methods, as wildly different as they are, weren’t deemed good enough. They’ve already figured out something nobody on that task force has figured out – how to captain a winning international team – and it’s curious how they’re deemed less suited to the Ryder Cup task than Love.

This new American Ryder Cup leadership model Love fits better than Couples and Azinger is the real story here, if the task force is actually constructing one. If there isn’t, “task force” was a colossal misnomer. If the “task force” isn’t creating a new team construct, then it was nothing more than a glorified selection committee.

To be clear, Love isn’t a bad choice here. He was a very good captain who put his team in position to win at Medinah in 2012. The question is why he’s better suited than two proven winners with proven methods.


The issue is not that the PGA of America selected Davis Love III for the 2016 captaincy. He’s wildly popular among the players, he put his team in position to win at Medinah, and he would have been hailed as a savior if not for Europe’s historic final-day rally.

The issue is how the PGA arrived at this decision.

Let’s start with the basic premise that the task force was overkill and a drastic overreaction to what happened at Gleneagles. For months we’ve heard from players and PGA officials that this 11-man group is a necessary step to ensure a bright future for this event. They talked this thing to death, looked from all angles at why the Americans have lost six of seven cups, and decided to recycle not just a past captain, but one who lost.

Fred Couples and Paul Azinger were the favorites for the job, but they declined invitations to the task force. That must have rubbed the group the wrong way, because Love had a prime seat at the table and was involved in the decision-making that led to him being named captain. Conflict of interest, no?

The 2016 Ryder Cup is still 19 months away, but it is clear that the overhyped task force already has a credibility issue.  


The definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result, so a retread captain like Davis Love III will receive plenty of critique. But while Love came up short at Medinah, his selection to lead the Americans at Hazeltine has plenty of merit.

If nothing else, Love’s selection eliminates what was reportedly one of the biggest issues among the 2014 Ryder Cup squad – the rapport between the captain and his 12 players. Love is held in high esteem among his PGA Tour colleagues, and the roster will certainly be motivated to atone for 2012, when he seemingly had one hand on the trophy.

The much-discussed task force didn’t exactly strike out into uncharted territory with this pick, but it did begin to turn the tide from the low reached last fall under Tom Watson’s watch. And just think, if any one in a series of events had broken in the Americans’ favor on that final day at Medinah, Love might have been viewed as a consensus choice without the need for a selection committee.

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Next up for Koepka: Buddies and a bachelor party

By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 7:46 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Coming off a successful title defense at the U.S. Open, Brooks Koepka arrived at the Travelers Championship in need of a nap. It appears he won’t be getting one anytime soon.

Koepka normally wakes up by 6 a.m. without using an alarm, but without much down time since his victory at Shinnecock Hills he slept in until 8:20 a.m. Sunday morning, prior to his 10:40 a.m. tee time. Any impact to his pre-round routine appeared negligible, as Koepka fired a 5-under 65 that included seven birdies over his first 13 holes.

“I felt like today was kind of the first day I got everything back,” Koepka said. “I was definitely running behind, but it was nice to catch up on some sleep.”

Koepka became the first U.S. Open winner to play the week after since Justin Rose in 2013, and he finished the Travelers at 9 under with four straight sub-par rounds. While he’s got some free time in the coming days, it won’t exactly be restful.

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“We’ve got 11 guys that I’m pretty close with, so I’m looking forward to hanging out with them in Boston for a few days and then [getting] back down to West Palm for a night, and then we’re off to my best friend’s bachelor party,” Koepka said. “I was really hoping to get some rest, but I don’t know how much that will happen.”

Last year, Koepka took a month off following his U.S. Open win at Erin Hills, only touched a club once, and still finished T-6 at The Open at Royal Birkdale. While this will be his final competitive start before Carnoustie, he expects to make a strong run toward a third major title next month in Scotland.

“I’m shutting it down for a while. I don’t feel like I need to play,” Koepka said. “I feel like my game’s in a good spot, played really well this week. Just some stupid mistakes and mental errors. That’s all it was, lack of focus and low energy. To be honest with you, I’m not surprised. I did play well though, I putted well, and I’m somewhat pleased.”

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Spieth ends busy stretch without top-10 finish

By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 7:39 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – There were no final-round heroics this time around for Jordan Spieth at the Travelers Championship.

After taking the title last year with perhaps the most memorable shot of the year, Spieth appeared poised to make a robust defense of his title after an opening-round 63 gave him a share of the lead. But that proved to be as good as it would get, as he played the next three rounds in a combined 3 over to drop outside the top 40 on the final leaderboard.

It marked the end of a pedestrian run of six events in seven weeks for Spieth, during which his best finish was a tie for 21st at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

“A lot of cut-line golf, which is somewhat unusual historically for me, fortunately,” Spieth said after closing with a 1-under 69. “Kind of a grind, but I made actually a lot of progress where I needed to within the last few weeks.”

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Spieth has struggled to get on track on the greens this year, but he has started to turn a corner in recent weeks, specifically during a missed cut at the Memorial Tournament, and he picked up more than three shots on the field this week in strokes gained: putting.

“My putting’s right on point where it needs to be. It’s getting better every single week,” Spieth said. “It’s the best it’s been in a couple years.”

Unfortunately for Spieth, a slight uptick in putting has coincided with some regression from his normally reliable ball-striking. Of the 74 players who made the cut at TPC River Highlands, he ranked 61st in strokes gained: tee-to-green.

“I’ve just got to kind of get my alignment back in order on the full swing. It’s tough when you swing and you think you hit a good shot, and you look up and the ball’s, it could be 15 yards right or 15 yards left, and it’s all because of alignment,” Spieth said. “It’s literally the same thing I went through with the putting. I’ve just got to find a way to get it back on track with the full swing.”

Having concluded a busy stretch, Spieth noted that he now has “a few weeks off.” But still in search of his first quality chance to contend heading into a final round this year, he didn’t rule out the notion of adding a start before defending his title at Carnoustie next month.

Spieth is not in the field for next week’s Quicken Loans National, but he won the John Deere Classic in both 2013 and 2015, which will be played the week before The Open.

“As far as leading into The Open, we’ll see,” Spieth said. “Last year I went in after three weeks off and it didn’t hurt me. So I believe I can get the work in whether I’m playing or not, to get the repetitions.”

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Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.

Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

"If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

"Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

"In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

"I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

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Wallace holds off charges to win BMW International

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''

Full-field scores from the BMW International Open

Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.