Tag: Ryder Cup

REVEALED- The Secret Ryder Cup Selection Meetings (SHHHHH)!

Image result for us ryder cup team photos

The 2006 US Ryder Cup Team photo. Majestic in its earth-tones (photo property of Alamy).

As everyone takes a collective breath from the thrilling conclusion that was the final round of the 100th USPGA Championship at Bellerive, the next major event in the golf calendar is the Ryder Cup from September 28-30 in France (no disrespect to the FedEx Cup Playoffs, but the Ryder Cup is something else entirely different).  The US will be looking to win on foreign soil in a Ryder Cup for the first time since 1993 while Europe will want to reclaim the trophy away from the US team.

With qualifying for Ryder Cup spots completed, this means that 8 of the 12 spots on the US team are filled, leaving Jim Furyk in charge of picking the last 4 spots in early September.  The players who have qualified so far are as follows: Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, and Webb Simpson.

Players being considered for the last 4 spots are (in order of ranking) Bryson Dechambeau, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar, Kevin Kisner, Tony Finau, Kyle Stanley, Bryan Harman, Kevin Na, Gary Woodland and Zach Johnson.  Jimmy Walker (#24) and JB Holmes (#31) are also rumored to being considered.

In order to make the best decision possible, Jim Furyk with his assistant captain Steve Stricker conducted interviews with each player.  They were supposed to be private, but SGIC spies were successful in planting a wireless microphone and obtained tapes of those conversations; the transcriptions appear below.  And lordy, there are tapes.

Jim Furyk (JF): Well, Steve, we really have a tough job ahead of us today.  We have 14 world-class professionals to talk to for only 4 spots.  Any thoughts?

Steve Stricker (SS): Yeah. Just do what I did last year.  Take the best players.  Why are you overthinking this?  Didn’t Alan Shipnuck say we were in an era of US dominance?  I mean, he’s smart, right?

JF: Seriously?  That International Team was awful.  Hal Sutton could have put his cowboy hat back on and captained our boys to a win.  The Europeans are a lot better so we have to be stronger from 1-12.  Speaking of which, how do you think I’d look in a cowboy hat.

SS: Ridiculous.

JF: I disagree.

SS: Well, let’s talk to these guys and see what they have to say.

JF: Sounds good.  Bryson, come on in.

Bryson Dechambeau comes in wearing his trademark Hogan cap, a lab coat and carrying several scientific instruments.

JF: Bryson, why do you think you should be a captain’s pick for the 2018 Ryder Cup team?

Bryson Dechambeau: Well, I won the Memorial Tournament this year, and I won a US Amateur before turning professional and my calculations show that my chakra will come into peak bloom in late September.  My strokes gained average is up nearly a stroke over last year.

JF: And then what happened?

BD: Things went okay, I guess.  I mean, I finished 9th in the standings behind Webb Simpson!

SS: Minus your temper tantrum.  Finishing behind Webb isn’t really a selling point.

There’s a door exploding as Tiger Woods kicks the door in holding two cans of Monster energy drink…he drinks one of the cans in one large chug and throws the empty at Bryson’s head.

Tiger Woods (TW): Oh, that’s nice nerd boy. You won a US Amateur.  I have 3 of those.  In a row.  You won the Memorial?  Isn’t that nice.  I’ve won it 5 times.

BD: You’re also a lot older than me.

TW: And better.

JF: Tiger, if you can just wait your turn, we’ll get to everyone.

TW: (grabs other can of Monster, chugs it in one move) Jim, you will put me on the team. NOW.

JF: I don’t know.  Steve, what do you think?

SS: Tiger, how does your back feel?  Can you hold up for all 3 days?

TW: I don’t know (loud noise as he turns his hat around, chugs a 4th can and proceeds to bench press an 800 pound anvil that just happened to be in the room).  Pretty good I suppose.

JF: Tiger, I’m concerned because you’ve only been a part of one winning Ryder Cup team.

TW: I’m not. Jim, the only reason you have two Ryder Cup wins to my one win is because I was injured in 2008 after I won the US Open on a broken leg.  You know damn well I’d have been on the team.

JF: I shot a 59 and a 58.

TW: 14 majors, not counting my 3 US Amateur wins.

JF: I won a US Open.  I mean, doesn’t everyone have a US Open win?

A loud “screw you both” is heard from outside the room in a voice that sounds very much like Phil Mickelson’s voice.

SS: Guys, come on. This isn’t working.  Bryson, how are you going to handle hostile crowds in France?  A European Ryder Cup crowd can be pretty daunting.

BD: Well, I did a statistical regression analysis on that and my analysis shows that their crowds are actually quite tame.

SS: Your stats are wrong.

JF: You’ll have to give up that stupid Hogan cap if selected.

BD: Wow…that’s a total buzzkill.  Wouldn’t the entire team look good wearing those?

TW: Only if we wear blade collars.

SS: No Hogan caps, no blade collars, and ixnay on the Miz-zay.

JF: Bryson, I’m really concerned that their fans are going to get under your skin.  Hopefully none of the players in contention for captains picks have done anything that’s garnered worldwide ridicule this summer…

(Noise coming from outside the room getting progressively louder playing “Ole, Ole Ole Ole, Ole, Ole”).  Phil Mickelson, wearing a bolero jacket, chaps, a KPMG cap and a dress shirt strolls in while dancing.  The dancing goes on for several minutes much to the annoyance of everyone in the room.

Phil Mickelson: Hey, everybody!  Who’s ready to defend our Ryder Cup win from 2016?

All: Phil, no. Just, no.

PM: Come on guys.  Jim, I called the Mizzen and Main guys to have some stuff worked up for this year.  You KNOW you want this.

TW: Does Mizzen and Main now do blade collars?  Let’s say I’m asking for a friend.

PM: I don’t know, Tiger.  Let me ask them (the audio sounds like he’s pulling out his cellphone); Siri, call Mizzen and Main.

JF: No, Phil, I don’t.  We already have uniforms.  Steve, was he like this last year?

SS: No; he was busy taking selfies after the 41st straight time Kuchar beat him in ping pong.  Honestly I just let Tiger do half the pairings; I couldn’t find him a pet squirrel.

TW: Steve’s good at taking suggestions.  Actually, Jim, I have an idea.  How about you just let me run things.

PM: Jim, I swear if you make us wear that godforsaken Chiliwear crap, my press conference after Sunday’s singles will make my 2014 rant look tame.

TW: Does Chiliwear offer a blade collar option?

JF: Not going to let that one die, are you.

TW: Not a chance, unless you decide to pick Club Pro Guy as an assistant captain.

JF: Okay, you three go sit in the room next door while I call in the next candidates.

Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar, Kevin Kisner and Tony Finau walk in.

JF: Who are you people?

Xander (XS): I won the Tour Championship last year.

Matt Kuchar (MK): I almost won the Open Championship last year and I’m the best ping pong player on tour.  Ask Phil.

Kevin Kisner (KK): I’m competitive every week.

Tony Finau (TF): I rolled my ankle at Augusta and still finished T10 and I’m usually on the first or second page of leaderboards. Perhaps you’d like a display of strength and agility…

JF: Please don’t.

MK: Lest we forget, Phil and I have done pretty well as partners since Keegan Bradley is only seen on the side of milk cartons these days.

XS: I’ve been competitive in all 4 majors.

KK: I tied for 2nd at the British Open.

JF: Let me think about it.  Who else is out there?

Kevin Na, Gary Woodland, Zach Johnson, JB Holmes and Jimmy Walker walk in.

JF: Hi fellas.  Why are you all here?

Zach Johnson (ZJ): Well, speaking as the only guy with multiple majors, we think you should consider one or more of us for those captain’s selections.  You need someone who’s won a major overseas.

JB Holmes (JB): And someone with Ryder Cup experience.

Jimmy Walker (JW): I’d say a PGA Championship win is what you need.

Kevin Na (KN): People will literally stab themselves in the eye to avoid playing with me.

JB: Me too!  Apparently people hate it when I take 4 minutes to lay up.

KN: Or become a weapons-grade head case on the tee.

JF: JB, just leave. Please. Now.

JB: C’mon…

TW from adjacent room: JB, I think you were asked to leave. I still have a few cans of Monster over here. I think it’s best you leave now.

(JB Holmes leaves room muttering to himself)

ZJ: Why do people throw Propecia at me?

TW: Beats me, but if you don’t want it I know someone who will take it off your hands.

Gary Woodland (GW): How about some feats of strength to decide this?

JF: I’ve made up my mind.

SS: Thanks for including me in your thought process.

JF: Thanks for being overly passive-aggressive.

SS: Whatever. Ask me what it’s like to captain a US side to victory.

JF: Okay, here’s how it goes.  Tiger, Phil, Kuchar, and Xander.  You guys are in.  Everyone else, thanks for coming.  Zach, I’d like to have you be an assistant captain.  Tony, you’re my 13th man so if anyone withdraws or gets hurt prior, you’re in the team.

BD: Seriously?

JF: Yes.  Everyone, thanks for showing up today. Let’s all remember that regardless of anything, we all want the US to win in Paris and bring the Ryder Cup back home.

SS: What we really need is someone we can all rally against.

JF: I agree.

SS: Someone who will really cause the team to work together.

JF: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

SS: I am.

JF:  Great. It’s good to know that with everything going on, we still have one person who we can call on who we know will get the team properly motivated to go out there motivated to show them.

SS: You want me to call or do you want to call?

JF:  Let’s do it together.  We’ll use my phone.

JF/SS together: “Hey, Brandel, we need your help!”

SONG OF THE DAY #1

Johnny Marr still has the heater.

SONG OF THE DAY #2

Australian Rugby League hasn’t always been the biggest bunch of geniuses on the planet, but this is some legendary stuff.  This is an OFFICIAL promotion. The 80s’ were weird, man.

Your 2018 Majors (and other) Predictions

Your faithful scribe, hard at work.

Now that 2017 is in the rear view mirror and everyone looks at the 2018 season, it’s time to make some (likely wrong) predictions.  First, let’s take a look at my 2017 majors predictions.

NOT Better Than Most.

 

Event My Prediction Actual Winner
Masters Phil Mickelson Sergio Garcia
US Open Rory McIlroy Brooks Koepka
Open Championship Shane Lowry Jordan Spieth
USPGA Championship Dustin Johnson Justin Thomas
ANA Inspiration Christina Kim Ryu So-Yeon
US Womens Open Brooke Henderson Sung Hyun Park
LPGA Championship A. Jutanugarn Danielle Kang
Womens Open Championship Gerina Piller In-Kyung (IK) Kim
Evian Championship Lydia Ko Anna Nordqvist

That’s pretty bad.  In fact, it’s downright terrible.  I wasn’t remotely close.  As much as I’d like to run from this, I can’t.  I could sit here and wallow in my failure and go crawl into a hole to cry softly, or I could knock back a few drinks and take another stab at things.  As with other things, I’m choosing the option involving drinking.  To borrow an old line, the use of these picks as the means for making a wager is, at best, foolhardy and at worst plain stupid.

Masters Tournament:

The “root for the story” pick: Either Rory McIlroy or Tiger.  McIlroy needs a green jacket to complete the career grand slam and Tiger in the hunt on Sunday would move the needle unlike anything we’ve seen in recent memory.  For the record, I don’t know what to think about Tiger’s latest comeback, because frankly we’ve heard this same stuff before.  As of this writing he hasn’t hit a ball in anger in 2018 yet so I’ve no clue about this comeback.

The thinking man’s pick: Dustin Johnson can overpower this course (or anywhere else, really) unlike anything we’ve seen.  If he’s healthy and his putter is working he’s the favorite.  What happened last year (getting injured and having to WD) was incredibly unlucky.  If Jason Day is healthy (and that’s a HUGE if) he’s got the game to win here.

My pick: Six first-time winners in the last seven years (which underlines how hard it is to win a major with so many very good players out there).  I think this continues in 2018 and Jon Rahm wins.  He has the length and I like his short game.  First timers often struggle.  This will be his second Masters.

US Open (Shinnecock):

The “root for the story” pick: Phil Mickelson. Another ‘should have’ from the last time they were here.  The USGA managed to cock up the course by being unable to read a weather forecast and turned the greens into concrete.  They have an entire year to properly set up a golf course for the national championship and manage to screw up more often than not.  If he’s in contention and wins this is THE story of 2018 unless Tiger wins Augusta by 10, and the other majors by 5+ strokes.  It completes the career grand slam for him and gives him the ultimate sendoff.

The thinking man’s pick: Jordan Spieth.  Wind won’t bother him and he’s already won a US Open on a similar course.

My pick:  Your previous winners at Shinnecock are Raymond Floyd, Corey Pavin and Retief Goosen.  Not bombers but guys who can think their way around a course.  I’m going to go out on a big ass limb and predict either Justin Thomas or Rickie Fowler (I think this is the year he finally wins a major).

Open Championship (Carnoustie):

The “root for the story” pick: Either Sergio (should have won in 2007), Tommy Fleetwood or Ian Poulter.

The thinking man’s pick: Justin Rose.  He’s got the game to win, and he was probably unlucky to have not won in Augusta last year.  Paul Casey seems to have found his game.

My pick: Your previous winners at Carnoustie are Padraig Harrington and Paul Lawrie, so the sample size is really difficult.  The weather is always a factor; bad weather on the first two days can easily knock out half the field so it’s really a bit of a lottery.  Having said that, the R&A don’t get worked up about protecting par.  If the winning score is 17 under then fine; if the wind blows and it’s 5 over, then that’s okay as well.  A lot of first-time winners of recent memory and a lot of Americans winning, but not at Carnoustie.  I think this continues.  I think it’ll be a non-US first-timer that wins.  Rafa Cabrera Bello has the length, he played well last year at Birkdale.

US PGA Championship (Bellrieve):

The root for the story pick: Jordan Spieth needs a US PGA Championship to complete the career grand slam.

The thinking man’s pick: Rickie Fowler is way overdue.  Patrick Reed fits the profile of a young American first-time winner and I think he’ll contend.

My pick: First-time major winners galore.  This will be the last US PGA Championship held in August (thankfully); and of course they’re going into the St. Louis area (so expect horrible heat, humidity and likely thunderstorms).  I’ve advocated that the PGA get the hell out of middle America and look West, but they don’t seem to be able to do this.  I’m going with Charley Hoffman who will come out of a competitive and muddled pack to eke out a win.

RYDER CUP:

Unlike a certain writer who thinks we’re into some gilded age of American dominance, I’m not ready to hang the bunting just yet.  The ugly truth is that it’s been 25 years since an US team won in Europe.  I think Europe wins a very closely contested Ryder Cup.

 

 

Ryder Cup Prediction You Didn’t Ask For

Photo courtesy Johnnie Walker

Accept no substitutes. The breakfast of champions. Or lunch. Or Dinner

I put this on Twitter last night after consulting with my good friend Johnnie Walker, but I’ll put it on the blog.

I think it’s a repeat of Medinah 2012 score-wise, with Europe winning 14.5-13.5.  I think it’s a lot closer (no big Sunday comeback).

I thought Gleneagles would be closer with Europe winning.  So not exactly brimming with confidence.

Let’s hope we have great golf and that the golf is what people remember.  So Bubba and Ted Scott going streaking during the Sunday singles…not so much.

Enjoy the Ryder Cup.

 

When Mom and Dad Fight It Makes Me Sad (Ryder Cup Version)

Amid everything else that was going on yesterday, during Golf Channel’s “Live At The Ryder Cup” coverage, Brandel Chamblee and David Duval got into a heated debate over the failings of the US Ryder Cup team over the last 20+ years (wins in 1999 and 2008, losses in 1995, 1997, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2014).  Let’s go to the tape, shall we?

There’s a lot to break down.  First off, while I know that Brandel Chamblee can irritate people, he makes some salient points (more on that in a bit).  So does David Duval (in all honesty I like both because they weren’t giving us the over-the-top patriotic orgy that is forthcoming).

Let’s start with Tiger Woods.  Woods’ overall record is 13-14-2 (and yes, 29 matches is more than sufficient sample size).  He has a losing record in both foursomes (alternate shot) and four-balls (think 2-man best ball), but is 4-1-1 in singles.  He’s been a part of one (1) winning team  (despite this there were far too many people suggesting he be that 12th player picked despite not having played a single shot this year and having a world ranking below 500th).  16 of the 28 points come from foursomes and four-balls.  At best, Woods would only be able to contribute 1 point through a singles win.  Duval points out that your leaders aren’t necessarily your highest ranked players.  Which is fine, except how exactly are the teams picked?  The first 8-9 slots go off of rankings, which, if my math is correct, is 2/3rds to 3/4ths of your team.  Until the PGA of America says “screw it, the captain picks all 12 players rankings be damned” rankings are going to matter.  What those automatic picks do is going to largely impact if you’re successful or not.

Let’s take a look at Phil Mickelson…hi Phil!  His overall record is 16-19-7 (and 42 matches more than shows us a decent sample size).  Breaking it down, Mickelson is 5-5-1 in singles, but 4-6-4 in foursomes (alternate shot), and 7-8-2 in four-balls.  If you’re scoring at home, he’s even money in singles and has a losing record in foursomes and four-balls (where he has won 11 of 31 matches).  I like Phil because he is, if nothing else, worth the price of admission.  But his Fri/Sat record is not good.  Period.

Chamblee points out that the most important matches are the first one on Friday and the last one on Saturday.  I’m not sure if this is necessarily predictive of a result, but if it is, then it would make sense to load up accordingly.  If I were running the PGA of America (hint, hint), the captain would have detailed statistical breakdowns on each player (based on expected results, variations for weather, time of year, format, etc.).  I would not pair guys up who play completely different balls for the alternate shot matches (or if I did, they’d be practicing together with the same ball for months prior), which is something Mickelson pointed out during his press conference.  To not do that is, effectively, gifting points to the other side (I’ve already pointed out the absolute stupidity in naming Ryan Moore less than week prior to the start of the event).

Chamblee, who admittedly can be a bit grating, is at least asking the right question.  Why did the US team lose a 4-point lead in 2012 and why did the European team lose a similar lead in 1999?  Was it momentum, was it simply a case of statistical regression to the mean, or was it something else (if Europe wins 4 coin flips in a row, are they lucky or this skill)?  Duval, who again, I like, talks about inflammatory remarks and “a feeling” in 1999.  I’d argue that it was simply regression to the mean on the European team (and terrible team selection by Mark James in not playing 1/4 of his team until the Sunday singles).  The idea of it being luck is, frankly, ignoring statistical variance and expected results/actual results.  If Davis Love III doesn’t honestly know where the 14.5 points he’s going to need are coming from, then what exactly has he been doing the last 18 months?  It’s a fair question.

If they don’t come out tonight in giant boxing gloves and headgear I’ll be very displeased.

An Open Letter to Davis Love III

Dear Davis (hope you don’t mind if I call you that),

Hope you’re doing well.  As you are by now aware, you’re close to making your captain’s picks for the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine (what is with the PGA of America and this course, by the way?).  The courses’ only claim to fame (other than a universally-panned US Open where Tony Jacklin won) is the late Payne Stewart winning a US Open and being the first major when Tiger Woods coughed up a 54-hole lead.  I mean, the USGA could screw up a wet dream, but now the PGA of America is getting in on the fun (my guess is that Ted Bishop picked this course, because this seems like the kind of thing he’d do).

You “probably” don’t read No Laying Up or listen to their podcast, but if you don’t (and it says here you should…and would it kill you to pick up some of their pretty sharp-looking shirts?), you should at a minimum read their incredibly well-crafted case against giving Jim Furyk a captain’s pick.  He’s been on 2 winning and 7 losing Ryder Cup teams, and has a record that is terrible by any standard.  Go read their article.  Seriously; I’ll be here waiting.  You know us bloggers…in our mom’s basement eating pop-tarts or some strange thing with all kinds of time.  Not kidding- read the article and that they also cite Furyk’s stats…”44th in strokes gained, 65th tee to green, 62nd in putting” which doesn’t exactly scream “captain’s pick” unless you eat paint chips on a daily basis or something.

Jim Furyk's Ryder Cup record in one easy to understand picture

Jim Furyk’s Ryder Cup record in one easy to understand picture

Okay, you’re back.  You’re not stupid.  So we can agree that he’s a bad idea, right?  Davis, I’m not even kidding.  If Furyk hadn’t pissed down his leg against Dan Jenkins’ favourite golfer (Sergio…me Sergio!) Sergio Garcia, you win the damn trophy.   I won’t even mention the Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods records (even then-Maple Leafs Randy Carlyle thought you blew it, and that mouth-breathing dipshit blew a 4-1 lead in Game 7 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs because he is literally dumber than a god damn potato and yes I’m still bitter at this moron’s abject stupidity…what’s it to you?).  I mean, were you huffing glue or something?

Oh, and Tiger Woods is your tactician?  Does he own pictures of you dressed like the Duke basketball coach (I know you went to North Carolina and SWIRIC has educated me on ACC hatred) or something?  He hasn’t played in over a year, and his record on Ryder Cup teams is terrible.  TERRIBLE.  In the words of Charles Barkley, TURRIBULL.  He can’t even claim to be on the 2008 team (he wasn’t).  He’s been on one winning team (1999) which means he has been a part of as many winning teams as Anthony Kim.  One.  I’m just spit-balling here, but maybe this isn’t his bag.  Seriously, put the crack pipe down and pay attention.  Give Woods a squirrel and let him ride around in a golf cart.  Fly in some military guys and he can hang with them as their own Ryder Cup ambassador (he’d probably enjoy it).  Maybe pick people who, oh I don’t know…know how to win the damn thing?

Look, even though Ian Poulter won’t be playing (which is good because he all but owned your soul after Medinah 2012 along with his collection of fine automobiles) you’d do well to not sleep on Europe.   With that being said, this is a winnable Ryder Cup “if” you don’t act stupid or do something stupid like play Stricker and Woods together like you did 4 years ago even though they were a collective dumpster fire.

So we agree,  you’re not going to pick Jim Furyk and you’re not going to let Woods be your tactician.  Give them custom golf carts that they can race in or something.

While we’re at it, can we agree that Rickie Fowler, while patriotic as all get out (and someone who is borrowing from the Brian Bosworth school of hairstyles) and totally into the idea of being on the team, has a Ryder Cup record that…well, sucks.  Go back and take a gander at his 2014 record and I think we agree that he didn’t exactly get things going.   He wasn’t good enough to make the 2012 team, but you remembered that, right?  He was on the 2010 team where he played 3 matches (won 0, lost 1, halved 2).  His 2016 Olympic tournament…T37.  But he had a cool haircut and posed for a photo with Michael Phelps so ZOMG, right?  You can do better.

I know this is going to sound crazy, but take a look at Keegan Bradley.  His singles record isn’t that great, but him and Mickelson have been money in the bank during the foursomes/fourballs over the last 2 Ryder Cups.   If Poulter was healthy he’d be on the team…you know why?  BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT HE’S GOOD AT.  That’s Keegan.  If him and Mickelson can win 2 points in the foursomes or fourballs, you’re in good stead.  You know who else would pick people this way?  European Ryder Cup captains (you know, the ones that keep WINNING).

If he doesn’t make it, take a look at Matt Kuchar if and when he takes that Bronze Medal he won off (seriously, does he think he’s Canadian or something- finishing 3rd is OUR thing, not what the Americans do).  His career points percentage  is .57 with a decent body of work.  You are, however, free to hit him with a tire iron if he makes any more of these commercials.

Dear god.  Make it stop.  You might as well pipe in the 877-KARS-4-KIDS song to that and I’ll admit to anything you want.

And others will also suggest this, but give Kevin Na a look and by look, I mean pick the crazy bastard.  If nothing else, he might well put the Euros off their game better than William H. Macy did in the movie ‘The Cooler’.   Can you imagine the reaction when he takes 12 practice swings and ducks out a 4th time?  I mean, the Euros are going to want to murder him after 8 holes and it’ll send Johnny Miller into a blind rage, which will be ratings gold.  Yes, it’s gamesmanship.  No shit.  You know who else practices this?  Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Colin Montgomerie, and Seve Ballesteros.  Go look at their Ryder Cup records (seriously….take your time).  Yes, they were all kinds of evil but they would flat destroy people come Ryder Cup time.  Make fun of Poulter all you want but he flat owned you 4 years ago.  Montgomerie endured crowds in 1999 that were reprehensible and still nearly carried Europe to a win (wasn’t his fault that Mark James completely mis-managed his rookie players).   They put all of that out of their mind.  Seve was Seve; a guy who feared nobody.   Sergio is a different player in the Ryder Cup.  He just was.  He’d do all kinds of stuff, but wow, he got results.

That’s where you come in.  You need to find your own Ryder Cup guys.   Guys who might be average during normal events but who get results (and points on the board) come Ryder Cup time (the ones who become giant-killers in a Ryder Cup shirt).  Ballesteros’ rankings wouldn’t matter- he was going to be on the side and he was going to get under your skin.  He could be ranked 5th or 500th…put a Team Europe shirt on him and he would become a completely different player.

You need to find your Seve, your Monty, and your Poulter.  People who the Euros will hate (and who will absolutely thrive on that hatred).  You’ve had 2 years to identify these players and so far, doesn’t appear you’ve found them.  Need I remind you that Europe has done pretty well in the U.S. over the last 30 years?  The American team can point to wins in 1991, 1999 and 2008 (let’s face it- Mark James was terrible and Nick Faldo not much better and 2 of the 3 wins were fueled by the US fans going full asshole), but astonishing losses in 1987, 1995, 2004, and 2012 (the U.S. is 3-4 at home in the last 30 years).  We won’t even mention the U.S. team’s record in Europe (a tie in 1989, a win in 1993, and losses in 1997, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 if you were wondering).  Or, you can pick off of rankings, lose again, and wonder why it is the US can’t win a Ryder Cup which means the same questions will come out in 2018.  And 2020.  Patrick Reed “might” be that person (a real asshole who the Europeans will hate but who will simply mock them and kick ass while doing it).

In short, if I were you, I’d take Bradley, Kuchar and Na with my 3 captain’s picks, and hold off with that last one (but again, just say NO to Furyk and Fowler) and go with whoever’s hot at the time and will get under the skin of the European team.   Maybe Bubba Watson if he doesn’t qualify automatically.  Understand that it’s pretty rare for someone to get a second chance at captaining a Ryder Cup side.  It went badly the last time (2014), so try not to screw this up too badly.

Sincerely,

 

Your Friends at singlegolferincart.com

 

 

Revealed – The Post Ryder Cup Task Force Meeting

Once again, Sean McIdoe who runs the beyond-fantastic hockey website downgoesbrown.com and has written a fantastic book and if that’s not enough is a frequent contributor to Grantland has generously loaned his infamous “spies” to me as I try to uncover what happened at the super-secret PGA of America Task Force meeting.

Seriously, Sean’s a great writer and his book is hilarious.  Buy his book.  Hell, buy several copies.

Okay, enough plugging.  Below are the meeting minutes.  Present were PGA of America President Ted Bishop, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Rickie Fowler and Tom Watson.

Ted Bishop (PGA of America President): Thanks, everyone for taking time out of their day to join me here in Orlando as we try to figure out how we can improve the US Ryder Cup team.  We’ve lost 8 of the last 10 Ryder Cups, and frankly they’ve outplayed us.  So I want to hear your ideas on what we can do so we can start winning again.  Because if there’s one thing that golf fans agree on it’s middle-aged white guys chanting “USA” never gets old.  It’s almost as great as the guys who yell “Baba Booey” or “GET IN THE HOLE MASHED POTATOES.”  So who wants to start?  Remember, you’re here to come up with ideas on how we can regain the Ryder Cup in 2016.

Arnold Palmer: Well if you idiots would stop listening to Jack, we’d be playing the Brits and the Irish and not the whole continent.  But…no…you had to go invite the whole damn continent.  And wow…thanks for letting me hear that “Ole Ole Ole” song.  Every time I hear it I want to go drink gasoline.

Dan Jenkins: Can I make a comment about Sergio Garcia that’s mildly offensive or should I just talk about TCU football?  Can I polish Ben Hogan’s statue a bit?  Should I be using the Twitter and talk about Tiger and pool parties?  People like that stuff.  Or should I just mention “try putting better” like I did back in August.

Tiger Woods: TCU old man?  That choke job last week at Baylor was worse that the 2012 choke we had at Medinah, amirite?  You need Stanford guys running things like…what’s that old guy…?

(Jenkins whispering in Woods’ ear to remind him that Tom Watson went to Stanford)

Tiger: Well never mind then.

Watson: Thanks, pal.

Rickie Fowler: Go OSU Cowboys!  I enjoy the Ryder Cup…it’s a great honor to represent my country.  Now if you excuse me I’m getting on my motorcycle and do a couple wheelies in the parking lot.

Phil Mickelson: Well, the first problem is that we’re having this meeting in Orlando.  Should I spend 20 minutes going over this power point presentation Bones and I made about why we should have it in Phoenix or San Diego?  Should I mention I’ll have to leave between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to take Amy and my daughter to lunch at the Varsity in Atlanta?  And if you look at the last five slides they’re art work made by my kids.

Jenkins: Seriously…do these guys know how to putt?  Ben Hogan knew how to putt.  So’d Lee Trevino.  I need a drink.

Watson: Well, we practiced our putting for a couple hours…so there’s that.

Tiger: I know what you were missing…

Jenkins: Someone who can go 0-4 and not find the fairway with a map?

Jack Nicklaus: I can’t believe I haven’t spoken yet.  I’d like to talk about this one time I played with Arnie back in 1971.  We were both hungover as skunks and we teed off.  Arnie hit a baby draw that ended up in the rough.  I was in the fairway about 175 yards from the pin, and I hit a little fade with a 6-iron …Angelo thought it was a 7-iron but I knew that with the wind that it would be a six; so then Arnie hits this beautiful 4-wood from the rough to about 10 feet..he caught it a bit heavy but he got a good roll on it…

Palmer: Holy shit Jack…can’t you go design a golf course somewhere or go spend time with your grandkids?  I’m old and going to die soon and honestly you talking about golf shots is nowhere near what I want to be hearing about when I go.  You know what would hit the spot right now?  An iced tea/lemonade combo.  I’ve got a great name for it. Anway, so there were these two cheerleaders when I played at Wake Forest…wow.  So the one’s a redhead and tells me about this trick she had involving ping pong balls…

Tiger: Go on…did she work at Perkins?

Jenkins: Are we doing Tiger dating Perkins waitress jokes?  Because I have a few.

Phil: Sophia did a research project about the effective curve of Perkins waitress jokes.  Can I show her analysis?

Group: NO!

Bishop: NO.  What do you guys think would help our players play better in Tournaments?

Fowler: Our captains have always tried their hardest.  Can’t we just say that anyone who lives in the Orlando area is automatically ineligible to play for Europe?  That would mean McDowell and Poulter couldn’t play…that would help, right?  What about if we had more captain’s picks.

Watson: More captain’s picks would be helpful.  I mean, how’d I get stuck with Webb Simpson?  He’s a nice kid but how’d he qualify?

Bishop: Someone kill me…please.

Jenkins: Putting.  Instead of staring at the green for two minutes, how about hit the damn ball so it goes in the hole?  The Euros seem to have this figured out. What would help if these guys could…oh I don’t know, maybe make a putt every now and then.  And have a personality.  Most of you goobers are as exciting as a roll of paper towels.

Tiger: Military style training.  I run 8 miles a day in army boots.  Okay, so I couldn’t find the fairway with a map, but I’m in the greatest shape of my life (he rips off shirt and begins doing bodybuilder poses).

Jenkins: Tiger, watching you try to hit a driver is like watching me not make borderline racially inappropriate jokes about Sergio Garcia every time he pisses away a tournament.  Is for me, Sergio!  And now your putting has gone bad as well.  Insert thing about how Ben Hogan would dominate you.

Tiger: If you mention Ben Hogan two more times I get a free car wash.

Bishop: None of this is helping.

Palmer: These guys don’t care anymore.  They’re happy with their free courtesy cars and private planes.  Make ’em fly commercial and take a bus.

Mickelson: Remind me who started this whole private plane shit.  Hint- his name is Arnold Palmer.

Nicklaus: You tell ’em…which reminds me about the 1972 US Open…

Tiger: Oh shit…you’re going to summon it from the depths of Napa.

(Door opens and Johnny Miller walks in)

Miller: Did someone mention the 1973 US Open?  I shot a 63 there and won.

Bishop: You’re a year off…Seriously?  We’re talking about the Ryder Cup and you silly bastards go get Johnny Oakmont?  Do any of you actually have an attention span?

Miller: Seriously…am I the only one awed by that 63?  I can go through it hole by hole if you like.

Tiger: If you do I’m putting a gun in my mouth.

Mickelson: Whatever, did I mention Amy made me a cake for my birthday?  It was awesome. Anyway, Pelz and I have put together this 500-page report on how we can putt better.  If only I had done this before the PGA Championship this year.

Jenkins: Holy shit Phil…watching you miss that inevitable 8-footer is like watching TCU sorority girls stumble around drunk.  It stopped being funny a while ago and now it’s just pathetic.

Tiger: Can’t you just make golf commercials Phil?  You know Phil, you can grow that hair as long as you want but it won’t cover up that bald spot.

Phil: Whatever…anyway, Amanda and Sophia (opens wallet and pulls out photo) were talking with Amy, and we put together this 25-slide power point going over how they think that having a day of math and science and that Sophia would make a great captain.

Palmer: Why exactly am I here?

Bishop: To try to help us be better at the Ryder Cup and because people know your name.  I mentioned Webb Simpson earlier nobody knows who he is…and he won a US Open?  I mean, how hard could that be?

Mickelson: Eat shit and die.

Palmer: I’d suggest that they start to play practice rounds for real stakes…I mean shit that means something…not cash.  So it was 1965 and I was out on the tiles with Dean Martin and Joey Bishop, and we had a couple drinks…

Jenkins: Go on…

Palmer: Thanks. So anyway, we meet up with these cocktail waitresses and I ask them if they want to play leaky submarine.

Bishop: Please NOBODY LOOK THAT UP ON URBAN DICTIONARY.

Jenkins: Have I mentioned become better putters yet?

Palmer: My point, Mr. Fun Police, is that these guys are about as exciting as a pair of socks.  Oh, you clowns play ping pong?  Unless you mean beer pong before hanging out with an entire sorority.  Do you know what we used to do at Ryder Cups?  Hint- get drunk and screw girls!  Plus…they don’t care if they lose or not.  It’s not like they’re going to suffer any consequences or lose money as a result.

Tiger: You know, Freddie Couples always does a great job at the Presidents Cup.  He’s not a hard-ass and let’s face it, beating the International side isn’t exactly difficult.  And Freddie pretty much lets me do whatever…

Jenkins: So lose a lot then…

Fowler: I like Freddie as well.  He listens to our ideas and he offered me several great suggestions.

Phil: When I suggested to Freddie that he pair me and Keegan together he thought that was a great idea.

Nicklaus: Freddie sure seems like a nice fella, but don’t forget about my Presidents Cup wins either.

Palmer: Hey Jack, can you mention those 18 majors?  Pretty sure it’s been a day since you’ve done that.

Nicklaus: You’re not counting my US Amateur wins.

All: SHUT UP JACK!

Watson: So who’s our next captain?

Bishop: We need someone who will command the respect of the players and can inspire the team to victory.  Someone who can unite players of different backgrounds towards a common goal.  Someone who understands the global game of golf.

Miller: What about me?  It’s not like I’m doing anything right now.  Do you know what it’s like to hang out with Dan Hicks?  My social life becomes the equivalent of that dog commercial with the Sarah McLachlan song.  He spent 20 minutes talking about new socks.

All: NO!

Bishop: I’ve made my decision.  After careful thought I’m pleased to introduce the 2016 US Ryder Cup Captain and Assistant Captains.  We think that these men will give us the chance we need to get the cup back.  Gents?

US captain Ian Poulter, and assistant captains Rory McIlroy, and Justin Rose walk into the room.  There are audible gasps and two members of the panel jump out of the building.

Bishop: I’d say we just gave ourselves a fantastic chance of winning.

 

Ryder Cup Idea you didn’t ask for

So having just watched the NHL Winter Classic (and yes- the humour of being a diehard fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and a diehard golfer isn’t lost on me), there’s one thing that they did today that could translate to golf- the announcement of Ryder Cup teams.

During the 2nd intermission the US Women’s Olympic team was announced and the men’s team was announced after the game.

The women’s team were at the game; the men’s team were announced using kids wearing each player’s sweater (except for the three players who played in the game who made the US team who came out of the dressing room to be announced).  Great stuff.

So rather than have a press conference during midweek to announce the team (which ends up getting lost in the shuffle), why not announce the team after the US PGA Championship (on the broadcast)?  Since the PGA of America runs the tournament (and the Ryder Cup) you’d have perfect synergy.  I know- NBC has the Ryder Cup rights and CBS has the US PGA Championship…but CBS can give up 10 minutes after the tournament trophy presentation (during August when 60 minutes is in reruns) to announce the Ryder Cup team.

Have the US Ryder Cup captain announce the roster.  If a player can’t make it, have one of the kids from the local First Tee program “stand in” for said player (have each player with their Ryder Cup staff bag with their name on it).  You’re announcing a US team in front of an American audience.  You’re telling me people won’t watch on TV?  You already have a captive audience, and the people at the tournament get a little extra.

You’re telling me the players would object to having to hang around a couple hours (those that are on the team and finished earlier) to get a round of applause (at most)?  If that’s the case then that says a lot about how they really feel about it.

Oh, and for the love of 30 foot birdies can we stop with the number of captain’s picks changing every match?  Pick a number.  3 seems good.  Or 2.  Or 4.  Just pick a number and leave it the hell alone.