NORTON, Mass. – In what promises to stretch the limitations of the nation’s 4G network, to say nothing of the patience of some dozen Ryder Cup hopefuls, Corey Pavin is officially on the clock and Captain America’s smart phone is sure to see plenty of action Monday night.
Pavin texted all his potential picks to ask for their travel schedules and Tuesday availability, but there’s little chance anything will be left unsaid before the announcement. The voicemails likely started piling up before the last putt dropped at TPC Boston.
Beep: Hi Corey, it’s Benny. Know I’ve been slow getting on your radar . . . slow, get it? Any-who. Just wanted to let you know I’m available if you need me and I’m playing pretty well. And, let’s be honest, pace of play’s really not a problem at the Ryder Cup. I mean there’s only 24 guys. Well, that’s it. See ya.
Caller ID (Ben Crane): Slow play punch lines and an empty cup cupboard aside, he’s been sneaky consistent since his victory earlier this year at Torrey Pines – including three consecutive top-7 finishes to begin the summer.
Beep: Corey, it’s Paul, the eighth-ranked player in the world. I know, technically I was born in England, but I’ve been stateside for a stone’s age . . .uh, for a long time. I left Monty a message a couple weeks back but he never got back to me. Did I mention I’m the eighth-ranked player in the world? Ok then, cheers . . . er, later.
Caller ID (Paul Casey): He’s No. 8 in the world and will be watching the matches from his home – in Arizona. The immigration process can’t be that difficult, can it?
Beep: Hey, it’s Stewart. I Tweeted this a couple days ago, but maybe you missed it. I was thinking that ever since I beat Tom, that’s Tom Watson, at the Open, you know the 2009 British Open Championship, I’m probably the most popular American over there and, let’s face it, we could use some love. Twitter is probably the best way to get me so let me know.
Caller ID (Stewart Cink): He’s come alive in the run up to the picks and his experience makes him tough to pass up. He hasn’t missed a cup of any kind since 2004, has a combined 6-5-1 record in Ryder and Presidents Cup foursomes play and has advanced to the Sweet 16 at the last four WGC-Match Play Championships.
Beep: Yo, it’s go time. That’s my thing, ‘go time.’ I think Phil called you for me, but I just wanted to let you know I’m a team guy. Played on two Walker Cups. I mean I still wear OSU orange, and that stuff is awful. Hit me back, gotta catch my boy Bubba for some paintball and Tweeting. Peace.
Caller ID (Rickie Fowler): Climbed to 21st on the U.S. points list on, essentially, his 2010 performances alone. He leads all Tour rookies with five top 10s, but he hasn’t finished better than 33rd (Bridgestone) in nearly two months. He did star on two Walker Cups (7-1), enjoys the enthusiastic support of Phil Mickelson and Pavin seems enamored with him.
Beep: Howdy hos, it’s G-Love. Not sure what you’re thinking but if you need an outside linebacker I’m your man. If not, that’s cool. Think Clemson is home that weekend anyway.
Caller ID (Lucas Glover): After Phil Mickelson and Cink, who is likely to land a captain’s pick, he is the only other American major winner in the last Ryder Cup cycle and he was solid at the 2007 Presidents Cup (2-3-0). But his consistency has been off this season and his tie for 65th in Boston likely didn’t help his case.
Beep: Oh snap, thought I was calling Planet Pizza. Got a lot of folks here to feed for my victory party. But listen since I’ve got you if you need someone to put some California cool in that thing of yours, I’m your man. Give me a shout. A little busy tonight, but I’ll call you back in the a.m. West Coast representing.
Caller ID (Charley Hoffman): Largely a non-story in the Ryder Cup conversation, but four top 10s in last six starts, including Monday’s clinic at the Deutsche Bank Championship, are at least worth an honorable mention.
Beep: Hey Corey, I heard they were moving the Ryder Cup to TPC Scottsdale. Oh man, how sweet would that be? Seriously though, I don’t know if you know this but I hit the ball a long way. Like crazy long. Heard you weren’t too long back in the day, but I am a freak and you know what they say, them Euros hate the long ball, ha. OK, we’ll see ya.
Caller ID (J.B. Holmes): Undefeated in the 2008 Ryder Cup (2-0-1) and solid since the spring with four top 15s and just one missed cut in his last dozen starts, but he hasn’t won since 2008, both his Tour titles came in Scottsdale and he won’t have the Valhalla crowds to back him up in Wales.
Beep: Corey it’s Zach Johnson from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Remember from the Masters a few years back? Ah, that never gets old. Look, last I checked the Ryder Cup was about putting and nerves of steel. Check and check. Come on coach, give me the ball.
Caller ID (Zach Johnson): He’s been solid in his last four starts (T-33 Bridgestone, T-3 PGA, T-21 Barclays, T-30 Deutsche Bank), has excelled in an overseas Ryder Cup (2008 in Ireland when he went 2-2-0) and can be paired with virtually anyone on the team.
Beep: Whaz up? It’s AK. Look, I know I blew off that BBQ at the PGA but Wu-Tang Clan was having a reunion and, well, you can’t miss that. Anyway, I know I’m not playing well and my thumb is killing me and . . . you know what? Just bag it. See you in 2012.
Caller ID (Anthony Kim): A hero of the 2008 Valhalla team and a combined 5-2-1 Presidents and Ryder Cup record, but he’s been on the DL since thumb surgery this spring and since his return he has four missed cuts and a T-76 (at the no-cut WGC-Bridgestone Invitational).
Beep: Hello, it’s Phil. I know I’m already on the team, but I just wanted to let you know that I really didn’t like that pro-am rule. Thanks.
Caller ID (Phil Mickelson): Has not been bashful in his support of Fowler as a captain’s pick.
Beep: I know you probably lost my number earlier this year. Dude, that was tough. But I can putt the lights out and if we do the team bags the right way the Euros might think you pulled ole Arnie from retirement. Just a thought. Go Cowboys.
Caller ID (Ryan Palmer): The three-time Tour winner struggled mightily for much of the summer, missing 10 of 11 cuts at one point, before coming alive in the fall with a T-24 (Canadian Open), runner-up (WGC-Bridgestone Invitational), T-33 (PGA) and T-5 (Barclays).
Beep: Hey, here’s the deal, I am a big, harry American top-10 machine. Seriously, if you’re not first . . . or in this case 12th, you’re last and you know what’s worse than last. Nothin’. It’s why they call me BVP. You know what I’m talkin’ about. Let me know, I’ll be around.
Caller ID (Bo Van Pelt): Another cup rookie, but he is arguably the most consistent American this season with just four missed cuts in 23 events, six top 10s (including at marquee stops at TPC Sawgrass, Quail Hollow, Colonial, Muirfield Village and Firestone). The rub with Van Pelt is he has just one victory, at the opposite-field U.S. Bank Championship in 2009, and his best finish in 14 majors is a T-17 (PGA Championship).
Beep: Hey, Mr. Pavin. It’s Rube, um, Nick . . . Watney. Nick Watney. Just wanted to make sure this was your number. You may not know me, but I play the PGA Tour and was wondering if you have any spots on the plane to Wales? It would be an honor sir. Really, my honor. OK, goodbye.
Caller ID (Nick Watney): He may be too quiet for his own good in this respect. Since the Memorial he’s carded back-to-back seventh-place finishes (AT&T National and Open Championship) and a Sunday pairing at Whistling Straits. Although he’d be a rookie, he did take down European standard bearer Lee Westwood in Round 2 at the WGC-Match Play Championship this year.
Beep: Hey, T-Dub here. Um, Steiny wanted me to call just to . . . well, you know. Anyway, for dietary purposes I wanted you to know I’m a vegetarian . . . nah, just kidding. But I do like to wear red on Sundays and prefer afternoon tee times.
I’m around so call me, my number is 407-843-8447. That’s right 407-THE-TIGR. How strong is that?
Caller ID (Tiger Woods): Take Woods’ embattled name out of the equation and he’s a no-brainer pick. Fourteen majors, 11 Ryder and Presidents Cup starts and a combined 7-3-1 singles record that is worth a stroke a side on Sunday.