Seriously, what would the “run up” to these Ryder Cup matches be without the ever cheeky, ever snide British press? Quite a contrast from America, where the Sobel’s and Van Sickle’s of the world are trying desperately to concoct columns to get an ever-apathetic sporting public into the spirit of yet another Tiger-less golf exhibition championship. But the Brits genuinely seem into this thing, as evidenced by the Poulter-Clarke-Monty soap opera, and an eternal Queeg like obsession with Faldo. You get the sense that the next story in its endless quest to slice and dice poor ‘ol Nick will be a critique of Thursday night’s team supper. What’s that Nick? No sauce with those pork medallions? Tut tut.
Today, for example, the Guardian’s Lawrence Donegan got his knickers all good and twisted when–gasp–Faldo’s crib sheet of possible Friday morning pairings (see above) was snapped up by an opportunistic photographer. MI-5 defections don’t get this much hoopla. Donegan laments:
By any standard it was not an impressive performance. With one day to go before the first ball is struck, Faldo has the option of rejigging his pairings, which have to be publicly declared this afternoon, but if he does that he will then be forced to go into tomorrow’s foursomes with a line-up that was not his first choice.
Good god man, should we just spot the Americans all of the Friday morning matches? On second thought, would that even make a difference?
The AP reports that Woods has “no intention” of showing up at Valhalla this week. Said Tiger:
“I also don’t know who is playing well, who is injured, and have no feel for how the course is playing. But I’ll be happy to offer my opinion. I wish the American team well and hope they can bring back the Cup.”
Translation: No one’s playing well, the course is as rinky dink as it was in 2000, and in my opinion, I never looked forward to this event even when I was healthy. I wish everyone except Phil well, and honestly could not care less about some silly, jingoistic fueled Cup.
The Daily Telegraph’s Lewine Mair is on the record, and I’d say that she has some explaining to do. Wrote Mair on Sunday:
Tiger Woods has said that he will not be attending this week’s Ryder Cup at Valhalla, though Americans in the know think that the injured world No 1 could yet fly in to Louisville to rally the troops.
Americans in the know? About Tiger? Who on earth is “in the know” about Tiger?
The list is short.
Elin. Tida. Mark Steinberg. Steve Williams. Hank Haney. Mark O’Meara. John Cook. Jerry Chang. Brian Bell. Greg Nared. Vencie Glenn. Um, that’s it.
Jason Sobel’s Weekly 18 tackles the Ryder Cup and, per usual, Sobel has some amusing takes.
The American team’s demise in recent years certainly can’t be pinned on one player alone, but Mickelson has perhaps served as the poster boy for its futility. In the past three editions of the event, Lefty has posted a 3-9-2 record. Particularly troubling is his disappointing mark in four-ball matches — a format which would ostensibly suit his freewheeling style of play — because Mickelson hasn’t won any of ’em since Friday morning in 2002.
On J.B. Holmes:
Holmes owns only three top-10s all year — and none since May. The lack of strong recent performances plus the added pressure of playing in front of the home folks could be a fateful combination for the Kentuckians.
On Oliver Wilson (who?):
The young Brit (he turned 28 Sunday) has the unique distinction of being the first European player to make the Ryder Cup team without ever having notched a single victory.
And on the captains:
In Azinger and Faldo, however, this week’s event has been blessed by a pair of silver-tongued skippers who have spent time slinging arrows at one another over the years as players, as TV analysts and in the run-up to this week’s event. Don’t expect anything too malicious, but don’t expect the captains to roll over and play dead when it comes to taking on the tough questions, either.
This piece is from a couple weeks ago, but is still pertinent since neither one has done much since. Craig Dolch kind of makes a compelling case for Kevin Streelman, just when I thought “small Unit” had the award all but wrapped up. Reavie still leads on the current overall money list (60th to 77th), and in a few other statistical categories, including ball striking, a personal favorite of mine. Neither is playing in the TOUR Championship at East Lake (yes, they’re still actually going to play that), although Streelman was right on the bubble, whereas Reavie was M.I.A. It’s at least a worthy debate. Streelman has 3 Top 10’s and made 20 cuts. Reavie made 19 cuts and had only 2 Top 10’s, and had a slightly higher scoring average. But of course, Reavie has that all-important “win” on his resume.
Call Me Anytime
If LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens had her way, those stinking Asians would all go away and Anna Rawson and Natalie Gulbis would battle every weekend in steamy, sultry conditions.
And you know what, I’d probably actually tune in to that.
Anyway, here’s a nice spotlight on Rawson, who again, has a cool web page. One thing jumped out at me. Can we credit her agent, Anthony Rodriguez for this, or was this all Anna?
[Anna] Rawson is the first professional golfer to establish a cell phone number her fans can call and leave messages for her.
Only four weeks old, the number — 213-785-7675 — allows her fans to leave personal messages. She said she has started listening to the messages and is going to return some of the calls.
She added she likes the personal touch of the cell phone contact with fans and believes it’s a more personal way to keep in touch with them than mailing an autographed photo
Hmm, that’s not quite as catchy as 867-5309 is it? Still, kind of a cool idea.
Is anyone else feeling a U.S. upset at Valhalla? First there was the whole Ian Poulter kerfuffle, which gave the Faldo-hating British press a veritable buffet of cheeky quips and snide jabs to gorge over. Then Luke Donald bowed out. And now it appears that Lee Westwood is “‘not feeling 100%’ having been struck down by a bout of tonsillitis that forced him to miss the recent European Masters in Switzerland.” Add to that the energy and excitement that not two but four Paul Azinger picks brings (you know no one wants to play Chad Campbell, don’t you?), and well, perhaps Sunday will actually mean something this time around!