Not A Bad Idea at All
Actually, the idea pits two 12-man teams divided equally with players in the 'over 40' category and the 'over 50' category. The United States vs. The World, as it's being billed, is taking place at the famed Ocean Course at Kiawah Island. Who cares if the wind blows and the scores soar, right?
As World Team competitor Des Smyth of Ireland put it, 'You look up and down the range and it's just awesome!'
With names like Palmer and Gary Player serving as 'playing captains' who will lead others like O'Meara and Faldo, Tom Watson and Bernhard Langer, Mark Calcavecchia and Ian Woosnam, Raymond Floyd and Isao Aoki, Curtis Strange and Sam Torrance, this cup has the chance to runneth over with excitement.
Watson himself said this is a great opportunity and a fantastic event in the making. 'Its kind of a nice replacement for the Ryder Cup this year. An unfortunate one. But this will be fun and definitely competitive.'
The resumes speak for themselves. More than 1000 tournament wins between the 24 competitors and 66 majors. Granted, 18 come from the now non-playing team member Jack Nicklaus, who had to withdraw from the event due to injury. He was replaced by Dana Quigley, who showed up on the putting green before Thursday's pro-am brimming with excitement. 'This is like a Christmas present!' he said.
What sets this competition apart from, say, the Ryder Cup or Solheim Cup, is that there's a purse at stake, and actually a pro-am taking place prior to Friday's opening matches. The winners will each take home $150,000 and those on the losing side will pocket $100,000 each. Not bad with the holidays drawing near.
U.S. team member Scott Hoch, a two-time PGA Tour winner in 2001, told me at a Wednesday night dinner that this event has great promise. 'I think its great,' he said, 'I'm really glad to be a part of it.'
What will make this event stand out - I hope - is the chance for competition going hand-in-hand with entertainment. I know it's tough to tell Hale Irwin and Raymond Floyd to smile and shake hands while contemplating shots in a 'four-ball' match, but if they can do it, and even shake a few hands along the fairway, this will be an event that could grow. It is scheduled for at least the next five years.
I'm certainly not advocating a rebirth of the 1991 Ryder Cup matches, which forever live as the 'War by the Shore.' In fact, I hope Bernhard Langer makes the putt at the 18th this time around. I hope Mark Calcavecchia makes his way to the clubhouse with a string of birdies instead of looking for a rope to hang himself.
I can't wait to walk the fairways with these stars, and my hunch is that those who come out or watch our coverage on The Golf Channel will have just as much fun. After all, don't we deserve some fun with the current state of affairs going on around us?
What a chance for fans to make their way to the island, see some of the games greatest and take a stroll on a course rich with tradition. Don't miss it!
Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish
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.
Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him
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.
Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter
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.
Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose
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.
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.