Weir Ames or Nobody for Canada

By Ian HutchinsonAugust 11, 2007, 4:00 pm
Over breakfast at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., a few years ago, Gary Player entertained a Canadian writer with tales of his frequent trips north of the border, recalling with fondness the people, places and golf courses that made his travels so memorable there.
Whether a trip to Canada next month is as special as those in the past for Player remains to be seen. A win by his International team against the United States in the Presidents Cup is the clincher and Player commences the journey towards that objective on Monday when he announces his two captain's picks.
The Black Knight already has a tough decision, one that is becoming more complex as the PGA Championship continues this weekend at Southern Hills in Tulsa.
If Player didn't already know from his own experiences that the host country would want a home boy on the International team, he has figured it out through incessant questions from the Canadian media as decision day approaches.
As he did two years ago, Player insisted that he will go with hot hands when making his captain's picks, but the flip side of that is will he risk losing home team advantage by not having a Canadian on the International team at Royal Montreal?
With Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh playing, it isn't likely the Presidents Cup will be hurting for attendance, but without a Canadian in the lineup, the International team doesn't have an identity with the home fans, who are just as likely to adopt the American team with all of its marquee names.
Mike Weir isn't helping Player out in this matter as he did two years ago when he surged into the top 10 and earned an automatic spot on points. This year, Weir was 20th going into the PGA Championship, where he missed the cut with a disastrous 9-over score.
That crash-and-burn came after Weir withdrew from the Bridgestone Invitational the previous week and tied for 37th at his own national Open the week before that.
The 2003 Masters champ hasn't won a tournament in over three years and about the only positive he has going for him is an 8-6 overall Presidents Cup record and some top-10 finishes in other majors.
The selection of Weir after that meltdown in the heat of Tulsa yesterday would appear to be a pity pick by Player just to keep Canadians happy.
Wait a minute. Does a Canadian pick necessarily have to be Weir? This is where it really gets complicated for Player.
Check out Stephen Ames tied for third after the second round at Southern Hills where he arrived one place ahead of Weir in Presidents Cup standings.
It is conceivable that Ames could still make the team on an automatic pick, which would take Player out of the equation, but he is also making a case for being a captain's pick from Canada should that be required. Ames would be a Presidents Cup rookie if Player chose him, but he has displayed an ability to hold it together in the heat of the moment, the most prominent instance being his convincing win at THE PLAYERS Championship last year.
Although he stated in 2004 that he wouldn't play in the Presidents Cup the following year because he didn't go in for team golf, Ames has said that being part of the 2007 event would be special with it being played in Canada, his adopted homeland.
Canadian fans, however, haven't taken to Ames with the same warmth as they have for Weir, who was born and raised in southwestern Ontario, just a good tee shot from the Michigan border, played through that province's amateur ranks and went on the Canadian Tour. Then, there's that memorable Masters win.
Ames, on the other hand, chose to live in Canada after meeting his wife Jodi on a flight. Not only does his family reside in Calgary, but Ames also has a couple of restaurants there and is actively involved in junior golf with an annual competition between Canada and Trinidad bearing his name.
While he isn't a native son, he chose to take out his citizenship and has definitely been a positive addition, but some fans in his adopted country still don't consider him a true Canadian in a land that prides itself on welcoming immigrants. Many also aren't sure how to take his controversial statements over the years.
In the eyes of Canadians, and most golf fans for that matter, Weir is Richie Cunningham, Ames is Bart Simpson. Do we have to bring up the whole Tiger Woods '9-and-8' affair last year?
Many of Ames' statements come with a smirk and a rolling of the eyes, but most have merit, even when they're ticking off people as it did last year when he hinted at THE PLAYERS Championship that he might not play in the Masters. What he meant was he would have to check with his family before committing.
That's Ames, but his unique personality aside, his performance to this point has illustrated that he should be the Canadian who plays in the Presidents Cup -- if any Canadian plays in the Presidents Cup. Player has several options to ponder as he watches the PGA Championship wind down this weekend.
Does he stick to his original plan and go with the hot hands, with no consideration given to each player's country?
Does he play politics and go with Canadian home boy Weir, who had a hand in getting the Presidents Cup to Canada, but hasn't proven he belongs this year?
If he does go with a Canadian, does he go with his hot hand plan and choose Ames?
Would Player go with both Canadians? Forget about it.
One thing is certain. You can bet that Player's breakfast isn't going down as easily this weekend as it was when he talked about Canada at the World Golf Village years ago.
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    Toronto Sun Editor's Note: Ian Hutchinson is golf columnist for the Toronto Sun and senior writer for Pro Shop Magazine, a Canadian golf trade publication, and Canadian Golfer Magazine. He is also a frequent contributor to Golf Scene and Golf Canada Magazine, the official magazine of the Royal Canadian Golf Association.
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    'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

    By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

    “The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

    Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

    Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

    A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

    "Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

    Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

    He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

    Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

    “It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

    "The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

    In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

    “I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

    The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.

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    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”

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    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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    Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

    “They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”

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    Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

    “The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”