Europes Next Leader
I first went to my home in London for 10 days of golf, eating, drinking and more golf, with a little Ryder Cup viewing thrown in for good measure. Then it was off to the Boulders resort in Carefree, Ariz., to host the ING Shotmakers Shootout, an hour-long skills challenge youll see later in the year on Golf Channel. Finally, I had my first foray into the world of live LPGA golf doing interviews at the Navistar in Prattville, Ala., where the weather was glorious and the tournament produced a marvelous finish. That all seems a while ago, though, as last week I was back in the host chair for Golf Central and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
This gets me to this: the search for a 2010 European Ryder Cup captain. At St. Andrews last week, the European Tour Tournament Committee was planning to discuss the matter. Instead, their attention was turned to debating a rise in the number of tournaments needed to retain European Tour membership. A decision was made to move this from 11 to 12, beginning with the new Race to Dubai in 2009.
This will make it slightly more difficult for players to play both the PGA and European tours, but it is hardly a significant difference and one that I personally cant see stopping players from featuring on both scenes. Anyway, the point is: the Ryder Cup decision will be discussed in a meeting in Abu Dhabi in January. Committee member and tour veteran Barry Lane said last week: Im sure it will be top of the agenda at the next meeting. But Thomas Bjorn has hinted it may take longer to decide such an important position.
So who are the contenders and who is going to get the nod?
Jose Maria Olazabal:
A lot of hype surrounds Olazabal, vice-captain to Nick Faldo at Valhalla and a veteran of seven Ryder Cup Matches. Ollie has now played through several generations of European Tour stars; the problem is he still nurtures ambitions of playing. He said after the defeat at Valhalla that he wouldnt give a commitment to any captaincy offer before years end. He still hopes to play a couple of tournaments in the final few months of 2008 with a view to returning to 100 percent fitness and potentially qualifying as a player in 10. Ollie will be 43 in February, so time is on his side; he could realistically play in another three Matches. But injury worries stack against him. Jose Maria has played just six times in the past 14 months, struggling with back and shoulder problems. Olazabal will not be picked yet; his turn should come in the U.S., where hes twice been a Masters champion. Put him on the list for 2012 or 2016.
The 1988 Masters champion and 1985 Open champion was an assistant to Ian Woosnam in 2006 at the K-Club and is in the prime-time of captaincy years. Just making his way onto the Senior circuit, Lyles chances of ever playing a Ryder Cup are finished, but he is still mad keen on the game and keeps an eye of whats going on. In March he told me that he considers himself at the top of the list for 2010 captaincy. I think not. My view would be wait for 2012. Like Olazabal, Lyle achieved a great deal of success in the U.S., winning the Players Championship and the Masters. He lives part of the year in Florida and plays the Champions Tour. Give Sandy his time in 12.
The winning captain in 2006, Woosnam proved to be a great choice and has been credited as master strategist and team leader for the Euros efforts in the record-equaling victory at the K-Club. Ian has now staked his claim on captaining in his native Wales at Celtic Manor in 2010. I give an endorsement to Woosie; hed be perfect for the captaincy once again, and it would be fitting to have him as leader when the Cup is played for in Wales for the first time. He is a little terrier, a battler someone Europe will need against what is sure to be a U.S. team buoyed by their win in Kentucky and possible Presidents Cup victory in San Francisco (in 2009). Woosnam would be my choice.
The Others category would contain: 1) Nick Faldo. Never the most popular of figures, Faldo has had his time and sadly couldnt get the win. I doubt whether he will ever feature again as either a captain or vice-captain. 2) Colin Montgomerie. He is too young and still holds desires of playing, Monty should captain at Gleneagles in 2014, when the Matches return to Scotland for the first time since Muirfield in 1973.
Any others wishing to apply should send a resume to the tournament committee before January. Thomas Bjorn is right; it might take a few meetings to come to a decision on Europes next captain.
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Watch: Gary Player tires people out with sit-ups
Well all know Gary Player is a fitness nut, and at 82 years young he is still in phenomenal shape.
That's why it was incredible to see two mere mortals like us try to keep up with him in a sit-up competition at the BMW International Open.
Watch the video below.
The guy in blue makes the smart decision and bows out about halfway through. But give the other guy an "A" for effort, he stuck with Player for about 60 sit-ups, and then the nine-time major champion just starts taunting him.
Japan teen Hataoka rolls to NW Ark. win
ROGERS, Ark. - Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka ran away with the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her first LPGA title
The 19-year-old Hataoka won by six strokes, closing with an 8-under 63 at Pinnacle Country Club for a tournament-record 21-under 192 total. She broke the mark of 18 under set last year by So Yeon Ryu.
Hataoka won twice late last year on the Japan LPGA and has finished in the top 10 in five of her last six U.S. LPGA starts, including a playof loss last month in the Kingsmill Championship.
Hataoka began the round tied with Minjee Lee for the lead.
Austin Ernst shot a 65 to finish second.
Lee and third-ranked Lexi Thompson topped the group at 13 under.
Tour investigating DeChambeau's use of compass
CROMWELL, Conn. – Bryson DeChambeau’s reliance on science to craft his play on the course is well known, but he took things to a new level this week at the Travelers Championship when television cameras caught him wielding a compass while looking at his yardage book during the third round.
According to DeChambeau, it’s old news. He’s been using a compass regularly to aid in his preparation for nearly two years, dating back to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October 2016.
“I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau said. “The pin locations are just a little bit off every once in a while, and so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot. And that’s it.”
But social media took notice this weekend, as did PGA Tour officials. DeChambeau explained that he was approached on the range Saturday and informed that the Tour plans to launch an investigation into whether or not the device is allowable in competition, with a decision expected in the next week.
It’s not the first time the 24-year-old has gone head-to-head with Tour brass, having also had a brief run with side-saddled putting earlier in his career.
“They said, ‘Hey, we just want to let you know that we’re investigating the device and seeing if it’s allowable,’” DeChambeau said. “I understand. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.”
DeChambeau won earlier this month at the Memorial Tournament, and the Tour’s ruling would not have any retroactive impact on his results earlier this year. Playing alongside tournament winner Bubba Watson in the final round at TPC River Highlands, DeChambeau shot a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for ninth.
“It’s a compass. It’s been used for a long, long time. Sailors use it,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just funny that people take notice when I start putting and playing well.”
Bubba fires 63 to win his third Travelers title
Bubba Watson fired a final-round 63 to storm from six back and steal the Travelers Championship. Here’s how Bubba came from behind once again at TPC River Highlands.
Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-17), Stewart Cink (-14), Beau Hossler (-14), J.B. Holmes (-14), Paul Casey (-14)
What it means: This is Watson’s 12th PGA Tour win, his third of the season, and his third Travelers title. Watson picked up his first Tour victory at this event in 2010 – when he also came from six back – and won again in 2015 in a playoff victory over – guess who – Casey. Thinking he might need a round of 60 to scare the leader, Watson made eight birdies, the last of which came on the 72nd hole, giving him the outright lead by one. A short while later, Casey would bogey the 16th and 17th to end the drama and allow Bubba to breathe easy. With the win, Watson becomes the only Tour player to win three times this season. He moves to third in the FedExCup points race, behind two-time winners Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.
Round of the day: Cink’s round was a stroke better, but Bubba earns this title for winning the title. The left-hander made the turn in 2-under 33 and then ripped off five birdies on his back nine to take the clubhouse lead, which he wouldn’t relinquish.
Best of the rest: Cink looked as though he was going to record the second sub-60 round at the Travelers in the last three years. The 2009 champion golfer of the year played his first 10 holes in 7 under par on the par-70 layout. Cink added three more birdies but also added two bogeys to settle for 8-under 62, tying the round of the week. The 45-year-old has finished T-4 and T-2 in his last two starts.
Biggest disappointment: Casey (2-over 72) began the day up four and couldn’t close. Even par on his round through 15 holes, he missed a 4-footer for par on 16 and found the water off the tee at 17, ending his chances. The Englishman, who ended a nine-year Tour winless drought earlier this season at the Valspar, is now 1 for 4 with a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour.
Shot of the day: Watson’s wedge from 77 yards at the 72nd hole, setting up his eighth and final birdie of the day.
Quote of the day: “That’s the best shot you ever hit.” – caddie Ted Scott to Bubba Watson on his approach at 18