The Good, Bad and Ugly at East Lake

ESPN’s Bob Harig on the final round of the “playoffs”:

For a tournament that was panned for its lack of excitement, the Tour Championship sure delivered some high drama in the last meaningful PGA Tour event of the year, with Villegas winning his second straight tournament, this time in a sudden-death playoff over Garcia.

And your FedEx Cup “winner”?

Meanwhile, Singh was being congratulated on his $10 million haul despite never breaking 70 during four rounds, never contending for the tournament title and finishing tied for 22nd. With an hour to go in the tournament, Singh was collecting the hardware from PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem in a strange, made-for-TV ceremony.

It seems that with all that cash waiting, “the big Fijian” had trouble concentrating.

“It was really weird,” said Singh, 45, who will receive $9 million of the bonus in cash and $1 million in deferred compensation. “You make a bogey, you get congratulated. You make a double-bogey, you get congratulated. It didn’t really matter what I made. It took away the focus of playing this tournament. I tried really hard. When I left to come over here to play, I said I’m going to keep focused. But that’s as far as I got.”

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In other news, Wie signs scorecard this time

She can see clearly now

She can see clearly now

Even the Daily Times in Pakistan is hip to the Michelle Wie saga.

Wie advanced easily last week to the final stages of the LPGA’s Q School, which will take place December 3-7 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  She will be joined by the top 30 finishers from a second sectional tournament, to be played September 30-October 3 in Venice, Florida. The final qualifying field will also include current LPGA Tour members attempting to improve their priority standing, and the 10 players finishing 6th through 15th on the 2008 Duramed FUTURES Tour season-ending money list.

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Future Ryder Cup teams should leave out Tiger?

Another golf wonk who feels that the U.S. is better off without Tiger.

Does that extend to the President’s Cup as well? Even when it was in South Africa and Woods was matching Els putt for putt at dusk on Sunday?

What I’ve been getting from all these stories is this. IF indeed the U.S. is a better team sans Woods, it is not because of Tiger per se and his play, but rather the effect he has on everyone else. The points being made about Valhalla talk about how well everyone bonded, and how loose they were, not having to worry about upsetting or more likely upstaging the world’s no. 1.

It’s a fair point, though don’t expect to see Tiger withdraw again from these events, barring injury of course.

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Overzealous critiques blame Faldo

The Telegraph’s Kevin Garside sums up the schadenfreude from across the pond:

Faldo’s gamble on the big finish, loading the European tail with alpha muscle, left Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Padraig Hamilton at 10, 11 and 12 thrashing at thin air, their legs amputated by a hopelessly incontinent ego.

Witches were given a fairer hearing in medieval Europe than that coming Faldo’s way in the Valhalla postmortem. He is about to pay the price of a lifetime of self serving, of devotion to the cult of the individual. “Everybody hates Faldo,” claimed an incendiary headline allegedly summarising the position of Captain America, Paul Azinger, before the teams teed up. The sentiment was not without support.

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“Frustrated” Tiger resigned to texting

I’m just wondering how he feels by the latest column du jour which suggests that the U.S. squad is a better, more cohesive unit without him.

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Finally, a little attitude

Once More, With Feeling

Once More, With Feeling

Nice story summarizing Anthony Kim’s 5&4 dismantling of Sergio Garcia, a match which kind of summed up the entire weekend in my opinion. Not only did Kim outplay the Ryder Cup wunderkind, who had a 14-5-4 Cup record heading into Sunday, but he also seemed to be in the Spaniard’s head as well. The Guardian also weighs in, concluding that Garcia’s “days as the youthful prodigy known as El Niño must now be consigned to history.”

Speaking of getting into someone’s head, Europe’s other hoss, Lee Westwood, never seemed to find his rhythm all three days, and also was clearly rattled Sunday by what he labeled as “abuse” from the raucous hillbillies patrons at Valhalla. Closed circuit to Westwood: Get over it. Boorish behavior at the Ryder Cup has historically cut both ways, and you’re not the first player, nor will you be the last, to have a grievance.

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Even their GWAGs are better

Cheers, love

Cheers, love

The Times’ Alyson Rudd pens easily the most entertaining column leading up to the Ryder Cup that I’ve read yet. Kudos. The only thing it was missing was more pictures (Jocelyn Hefner, fiancée of Paul Casey, is pictured right).

The deportment, style and aura of the golfers’ wives and girlfriends [GWAGs] will set the tone for the entire competition and perhaps determine who will win it.

You can tell by the way they smile and their body language as they sit together that the wives and girlfriends of the Europe team are friends. Their lunches are not exactly like scenes from Sex and the City, but they do meet to discuss GOLFAID, the charity established two years ago by players on the European Tour to help to raise money for children in need.

The Americans, by contrast, do not mix often socially, so keep a keen eye out for the fixed rather than natural smile and the flustering effect that it has on their spouses.

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