Webb on Watson captaincy: 'He would be amazing'

By Ryan LavnerDecember 12, 2012, 1:23 pm

Tom Watson may not have initially been viewed as the favorite to land the Ryder Cup captaincy, but his impending appointment might be just what the U.S. team needs to win on foreign soil for the first time in more than two decades.

“I’m really surprised about it, truthfully, but I think it’s OK,” 2008 captain Paul Azinger told Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” on Wednesday.

“I believe that there’s a philosophy the PGA of America has had in a place for a while that hasn’t really worked, that a contemporary needs to be out there, someone under the age of 50 who is with the players. Had we been winning Ryder Cups all along that would have been a great philosophy. But Watson is a good choice at this time.”

For the past few months – heck, even until about midday Tuesday – the belief was that David Toms was the logical choice to succeed Davis Love III. For one thing, Toms fit the mold of a prototypical Ryder Cup captain: a player between the ages of 45-50 who was still active on Tour, and knew the players, but was not so competitive as to challenge for a spot on the team. There also had been a groundswell of support for Larry Nelson, the 65-year-old three-time major winner who had been snubbed for the gig in the mid-1990s.

On Sunday, though, Watson made a seemingly innocuous remark to reporters in Sydney that he would accept the Ryder Cup captaincy if he were “tapped on the shoulder.”

Two days later, it was reported by multiple media outlets that he will be named the next Ryder Cup captain during Thursday’s “Today Show,” which would make him the first repeat captain since Jack Nicklaus in 1987. 

In a text message to Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis, Webb Simpson said: “I think he would be amazing. Such an amazing player and person and he demands respect just by the kind of player he’s been. He’s like a quiet lion. It would be an honor to play for him.”

The PGA may be deviating from the norm in choosing Watson, but not without reason. Watson, who will be 65 when the matches are played, last captained the Americans in 1993 at The Belfry, also the last time the U.S. won a road Ryder Cup. An eight-time major champion, Watson won four of his five Open Championship titles in Scotland, and the 2014 cup will be played at Gleneagles in Perthshire. He’s revered in those parts.

“Tom was just one of those guys who just believes and believes and believes,” said Lanny Wadkins, who played for Watson at the 1993 Ryder Cup. “He doesn’t go out there to have fun. He goes out there to kick butt and get the job done. That’s really what the PGA of America, in my estimation, is thinking that needs to happen.”

As Brandt Snedeker told Golf Channel: “I’m surprised. I knew (PGA president) Ted Bishop was thinking outside the box. But I’m excited. Tom is a good friend of mine, he’s one of the best players to ever play the game, and he’s going to instantly gain a lot of respect and instantly sway the home-field advantage for us in Scotland because of his success over there. It’s going to be a different feeling for us to have a guy who a lot of us young guys have grown up watching on TV and not spending a lot of time around him to be our captain.”

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Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

"My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.

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Playoff streaks in jeopardy for Garcia, Haas

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:12 pm

Since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007, only 13 players have managed to make the playoffs each and every year. But two of the PGA Tour's stalwarts head into the regular-season finale with work to do in order to remain a part of that select fraternity.

Sergio Garcia has rarely had to sweat the top-125 bubble, but the Spaniard enters this week's Wyndham Championship 131st in the current standings. Left with even more work to do is former FedExCup winner Bill Haas, who starts the week in Greensboro 150th.

Garcia got off to a strong start in the spring, sandwiching a pair of top-10 finishes in WGC events around a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship. But quality results largely dried up after Garcia missed the cut at the Masters; he has made only two cuts in 10 Tour starts since April, including early exits in all four majors.

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Garcia has some history at Sedgefield Country Club, having won this event in 2012 to break a lengthy U.S. victory drought. He also finished fourth in 2009 but hasn't played the Donald Ross layout since a T-29 finish as the defending champ in 2013.

It's been a difficult year for Haas both on and off the course, as the veteran was involved as a passenger in a car accident on the eve of the Genesis Open that killed the driver. He returned to action three weeks later in Tampa, and he tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage in April. But that remains his lone top-10 finish of the season. Haas has missed 11 cuts including three in a row.

While the bubble will be a fluid target this week at Sedgefield, Garcia likely needs at least a top-20 finish to move into the top 125 while Haas will likely need to finish inside the top 5.

One of the 13 playoff streaks is assured of ending next week, as Luke Donald has missed most of the year with a back injury. Other players to qualify for every Tour postseason include Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore.

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Airlines lose two sets of Olesen's clubs in 10 days

By Grill Room TeamAugust 15, 2018, 7:50 pm

Commercial airlines losing the golf clubs of a professional golfer is not exactly a groundbreaking story. It happens.

But European Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen is on quite the roll, losing two sets of clubs and five suitcases in the span of 10 days.

Olesen, the reigning Italian Open champ, claimed his primary set of golf clubs were lost last week. Having little faith they'd be found before this week's Nordea Masters, he decided to bring his backup set for the event in Sweden.

A veteran move by the 28-year-old, unless, of course, those clubs were lost too. And wouldn't you know it:

After pestering the airlines with some A+ GIFs, Olesen was reunited with at least one of his sets and was back in action on Wednesday.

He also still plans on giving his golf bag away to some lucky follower, provided it's not lost again in transit. Something he's no longer taking for granted.

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Podcast: Brandel compares Tiger and Hogan's comebacks

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 15, 2018, 6:48 pm

Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive recorded his seventh runner-up finish in a major and his first in nine years.

A favorite guest of the Golf Channel Podcast, Brandel Chamblee joins host Will Gray to compare and contrast Tiger's return to competitive golf with that of Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1950s.

Chamblee also discusses Brooks Koepka's major dominance, Bellerive as a major venue, Tiger and Phil as Ryder Cup locks, and who else might be in line to receive Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn's remaining captain's picks.

Finally, Brandel shares what it was it was like to qualify for the Senior Open Championship and compete for a major title on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Listen here: