Sutton to Consider Daly for Ryder Cup
Hes definitely going to get consideration, Sutton told me Sunday night. But not necessarily because Daly can light the kind of primal fan fire that swept across Brookline five years ago, carrying the Stars and Stripes to the greatest comeback ever on one of the greatest Sundays in American golf history.
Maybe, I dont know, Sutton pondered when asked if Dalys hold on galleries would be a factor in his decision. I would hope we can light a fire with the way we play, more so than who we bring to the table.
Sutton emphasized that he wont overly complicate the process. Im looking for the guy whos playing the best at the time, he said. And hes certainly playing well right now.
So, too, are Scott Verplank, who is 12th on the points list, and Stewart Cink, 13th.
Theres a guy playing pretty good right there, Sutton remarked when Cinks name came up. In his last three starts, Cinks finished fifth at the Buick Open, T14 at the British Open, and T8 at the John Deere Classic.
Verplanks also been steady, with a T10 at Buick, T11 in Milwaukee and T7 at the British Open. Its no secret that Suttons a Verplank ally. They partnered at The Belfry and Verplank plays a Sutton kind of game. Hes second in driving accuracy, 25th in greens hit and sixth in scoring. Sutton would love Verplank to make the top 10 so he doesnt have to spend a captains pick on him, but if not, Verplanks a near lock to be chosen.
Which means that if theres no change at the PGA Championship (a big if), then Daly, 20th in the standings, will have to make a more compelling case than Cink, No. 11 Jeff Maggert and Jay Haas, who is 14th in points.
Cinks strength is his putting. Hes No. 1 on tour in putting average. He also makes birdies. He went 1-2 in his first Ryder Cup in 2002, but was 4-0 at The Presidents Cup in 2000.
Jeff Maggert is even more experienced with a 6-5 record in three Ryder Cup appearances. Maggert, as accuracte as they come, and strong in alternate shot, was third at the U.S. Open but will not play the PGA Championship because his wife is expecting in the middle of the month
As for Haas, his no fault, no frills game is well suited to difficult venues. Remember, he unfurled that mind boggling 71 on the final day at Shinnecock when the field struggled to break 80. Statistically, nothing really jumps out except the most important category of all. Haas is ninth on tour in scoring average.
So then, putting aside the obvious impact long John would have on the crowds, heres the statistical case for Daly.
Hes third in putting average, fifth in birdie average, first in all-around, 21st in greens in regulation and interestingly, first in bounce back.
Having earned a reputation as a guy who would simply quit mentally when things went badly, Dalys shown a legitimate toughness this year. The bounce back stat measures the percentage of time a player is over par on a hole and then under par on the next hole. Ernie Els is second in that category, Phil Mickelson third and Vijay Singh fourth. Yeah, Dalys first in bounce back.
Thats the hard evidence. Its the soft hands that Sutton likes.
One thing he has going for him, Sutton said, is that he has a great short game and at Oakland Hills thats important.
Two question marks will dog Daly: can he hit fairways in alternate shot and will he keep it together emotionally on the eve of such a pressure packed moment?
Sutton has plenty to think about. But if he selects Daly, he would stamp himself as a leader not afraid of risk.
The U.S. team has been great on paper. It hasnt always been great when all is said and done. The U.S., with enough steady and dependable types like Furyk, Toms, and Campbell, could use a little more grease in the frying pan just to add some flavor to a mix that at times has been a bit bland. Daly can do that. And he can play.
Whoever he picks, Daly said diplomatically, really theyre going to play good. And I think weve got a really good shot at winning this year.
Notice he said we. Daly wants the Ryder Cup. Hes never played, not even when he won majors in 1991 and 1995. He wants it. The fans want it.
Cant you picture Daly breaking out his guitar to cut the tension on Saturday night in the team room? How about Daly and Tiger teaming up for a best ball match?
Go ahead Captain. Light the fuse. Pick John Daly.
Email your thoughts to Rich Lerner
Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88
MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.
Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.
Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.
The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.
On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.
Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.
He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.
In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.
Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.
Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M
In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.
This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.
Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.
Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.
The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.
Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout
CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.
Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.
Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.
“Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”
Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.
“There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”
Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break
Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.
Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.
Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.
“Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”
Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.
“Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”
Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.