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  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    by Chris Millard
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

Royal Melbourne retains a beautiful, hearty, natural look which, in the way of competition, plays very glassy. It takes eternal vigilance in greenkeeping to maintain such a gem as Royal Melbourne…I was familiar with the great Claude Crockford , the superintendent of the course in my era, who neatly summed it up for me one day when he said, "You in America try to grow grass. We try to keep it from growing here." He was light years ahead of most people in his field. BEN CRENSHAW




Another Lawsuit As Back9Network Finally Launches

Monday, September 29 is launch day for golf’s second network and I expect all DirecTV subscribers to chime in with some initial thoughts about the programming.

Jon Lender in the Hartford Courant reports on another legal entanglement for the “state-sponsored” net in Connecticut. This time it's former executive VP Robert Abbott, suing for breach of contract.


Roundup: Mickelson & Watson Publicly Litigate The Captaincy!

You knew near the end of NBC's telecast when Phil Mickelson mentioned Paul Azinger's name in his post Ryder Cup interview that we might be headed for an entertaining post-Ryder Cup debate over the merits of Tom Watson's work.

If it was only that quaint!

Before we get to the analysis, let's go to the tape, with the transcript highlights first. I don't want anyone who missed this reading without context!

First note that Mickelson was responding to a question and not bringing this up on his own. Of course, there was so much detail!

Q. Anyone that was on the team at Valhalla, can you put your finger on what worked in 2008 and what hasn't worked since?

PHIL MICKELSON: There were two things that allow us to play our best I think that Paul Azinger did, and one was he got everybody invested in the process. He got everybody invested in who they were going to play with, who the picks were going to be, who was going to be in their pod, who -- when they would play, and they had a great leader for each pod.

In my case, we had Ray Floyd, and we hung out together and we were all invested in each other's play. We were invested in picking Hunter that week; Anthony Kim and myself and Justin were in a pod, and we were involved on having Hunter be our guy to fill our pod. So we were invested in the process. And the other thing that Paul did really well was he had a great game plan for us, you know, how we were going to go about doing this. How we were going to go about playing together; golf ball, format, what we were going to do, if so-and-so is playing well, if so-and-so is not playing well, we had a real game plan. Those two things helped us bring out our best golf. And I think that, you know, we all do the best that we can and we're all trying our hardest, and I'm just looking back at what gave us the most success. Because we use that same process in The Presidents Cup and we do really well. Unfortunately, we have strayed from a winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best.

Q. That felt like a pretty brutal destruction of the leadership that's gone on this week.

PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, I'm sorry you're taking it that way. I'm just talking about what Paul Azinger did to help us play our best. It's certainly -- I don't understand why you would take it that way. You asked me what I thought we should do going toward to bring our best golf out and I go back to when we played our best golf and try to replicate that formula.

Q. That didn't happen this week?
PHIL MICKELSON: Uh (pausing) no. No, nobody here was in any decision. So, no.

Far more damning for Watson than any debate over pods or picks or Paul is the idea that he limited his communications. This is a pro-bono week for the players while everyone else makes a lot of money off their backs. A great leader at least pretends to hear what these players are thinking because (A) they are here on their own time and (B) common sense dictates it. If Watson failed as miserably as Mickelson implies, then he probably is in for criticism.

Now for the Captain's reply.

Q. Can you tell us what you think of what Phil said about Paul Azinger?

TOM WATSON: I had a different philosophy as far as being a captain of this team. You know, it takes 12 players to win. It's not pods. It's 12 players. And I felt -- I based my decisions on -- yes, I did talk to the players, but my vice captains were very instrumental in making decisions as to whom to pair with. I had a different philosophy than Paul. I decided not to go that way. But I did have most of them play in the practise rounds together who played most of the time in the matches. I think that was the proper thing to do. Yes, I did mix-and-match a little bit from there, but again, you have to go with the evolution of the playing of the match and see who is playing the best and who to play with whom, and that's what I did.

Indeed you did! Loved this suggestion that the players weren't in shape. Also note that he says he consulted his players but mostly his vice captains.

Q. Every two years the two captains come in and say the hardest part of their job is benching people. Four years ago with all the problems at Celtic Manor, we had everybody playing in every format. Would you like to see that as part of the game? Seems to have 12 of the best players in the world and each time having four sitting in each session.

TOM WATSON: Yes, I would. I would like to see the change in that format. Then everybody knows they are going to go 36 holes and then everybody knows that they have to be in shape to play. That's one of the important decisions that I may have missed is playing, say, Jimmy Walker for four straight rounds, two 36-hole matches. And if that wasn't up to my decision, then every player wouldn't understand that.

There's some great stuff from Jim Furyk after that, including some nice salty language and an endorsement of Watson and Mickelson. Diplomatic stuff, though no one spoke up to contradict Phil, which might be noteworthy, though the circumstances were tough.

Here's the tape from of the Mickelson remarks (overseas readers let me know if this works):

Now for the analysis.

Rex Hoggard called it one of the "most awkward moments in U.S. Ryder Cup history" in his reporting of the press conference.

Gene Wojciechowski's take on the sequence.

Asked, in essence, if the players were part of Watson's management process, Mickelson said, "Uh, no. No, nobody here was in any decision. So, no."

It was a stunning moment. No USA player has played in more Ryder Cup matches than Mickelson. So when he questioned the logic of Watson, and by association, 2012 captain Davis Love III and 2010 captain Corey Pavin -- and does so in a public setting and not long after the latest loss -- it carried considerable weight.

The 65-year-old Watson stared wearily ahead as Mickelson spoke. Asked if he thought Mickelson was being "disloyal," Watson said, "Not at all. ... That's OK. My management philosophy is different than his."

It was bizarre, odd and surprisingly candid. But most of all, it was revealing. If Mickelson felt this way, how many others on the team shared his feelings?

Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail, as only he can write

There was a war; an American, and not particularly civil, war. At the post-Ryder Cup inquest, Phil Mickelson sat on the right wing of the top table and took down his captain Tom Watson as brutally as any field assassin.

That he did this in cool, measured, very reasonable tones typical of the man only added to the brutality. It was a polite destruction; a highly restrained mugging; a thoroughly decent battering.

Jason Sobel called this "a passive-aggressive coup on Watson's captaincy" and writes, "In the demure world of golf, this was the verbal equivalent to Reggie Jackson brawling with Billy Martin in a dugout or Latrell Sprewell going for the throat of P.J. Carlesimo."

Tim Rosaforte revealed that he texted with Phil Mickelson Saturday night, initially off the record, about Phil’s displeasure with the lack of team communication and followed up with both Mickelson and Paul Azinger. Here’s his report with Steve Burkowski on Live From Downton Abbey.

John Strege on Brandel Chamblee calling this “close to a one-man mutiny” and took on Phil’s generation, even defending the Phil-Tiger pairing at Oakland Hills.

“If you’re looking for a reason why the United States continues to lose, you just saw it in one man. Phil Mickelson. Phil Mickelson, along with the best players of that era, have so corrupted the experience of the Ryder Cup for their fellow competitors by not having records anywhere near what they should, given their rank in the game.

“Players of an era who are the best go to the Ryder Cup and show off. And not goof off. Phil Mickelson in 2004 changed clubs at the Ryder Cup the week of. And the day before, he went to practice to another golf course. This is yet another example of not coming together as a team.

Here is a (sadly) truncated clip of Chamblee discussing Mickelson.

Gary Van Sickle also took Mickelson to task, saying the press conference summed up why the USA keeps losing, though Van Sickle does acknowledge Watson's "questionable pairings" and the Captain's likening Saturday to actors who hadn't “acted well enough to earn the standing ovation at the end.”

Phil Mickelson should know that. He did know that. He knew exactly what he was saying and what he was doing.

Tom Watson’s team lost the Ryder Cup but he didn’t break The Code. Phil Mickelson did. With no code, there’s no team anymore. Maybe the Americans aren’t really a team. Maybe they’re not at all like the close-knit band of brothers they battle every two years.

And maybe it’s time to reconsider what other element the Americans’ last eight Ryder Cup losses had in common.

Phil Mickelson.

Strege with Johnny Miller’s remarks that captain’s don’t matter much, but revealing Tweets from Jason Dufner and Billy Horschel that would imply players feel differently. All are on the Azinger bandwagon.

Alistair Tait and Alex Miceli's report on the presser included this on PGA of America president Ted Bishop's reaction.

“It was disappointing to hear some of the things said in the press conference, we were a team all week,” Bishop said. “There is no set winning formula, except the players playing better on the golf course.”

Michael Collins and Bob Harig found the entire thing bizarre, in this fun video roundup of the Phil-Watson squabble.

I translated for what they said and what they meant courtesy of a secret algorithm.


Poll: Rating The Work Of The Ryder Cup Captains

Let's ignore whether the captains genuinely impact the matches and assume based on this week that no matter where you fall in the debate, Tom Watson and Paul McGinley's presence impacted the 2014 Ryder Cup.

With that in mind, a couple of poll questions...starting with Tom Watson.

How would you rate the job of Captain Tom Watson? free polls

And Paul McGinley...

How would you rate the job of Captain Paul McGinley? free polls


Europe Wins Ryder Cup, Your Kneejerk Reactions

The initial short game story from Doug Ferguson seizes on Europe's third straight win and the early rallies in singles to cap off a win by the heavily favorited team.

We have a few days to digest the big picture stuff that needs serious addressing (embarrassing commercialization, Captain's and those uniforms!), but I'm curious what your initial reaction is to the week? Frankly, it was pretty formful if you ask me.

Europe had the stronger team, the USA was limping in with injury losses, a questionable pick and a captain who was going to lead by gut instinct vs. a captain who was meticulously prepared.



Captain Watson Under Fire Before Sunday Singles Even Start

I certainly wouldn't pretend to understand some of Tom Watson’s moves nor is there much surprise in the notoriously self-assured Captain's performance, but I’m intrigued to see so many verdicts already declared before the 2014 Ryder Cup’s Sunday Singles are even played. Of course everyone wants to move on to the Open this week because wraparound golf is what it's all about, but I still say we have plenty of time to pick apart this Ryder Cup.

Or not!

Watson was dealt a tough hand PGA of America with too early of a points cut-off and injuries to Jason Dufner and Tiger Woods along with the disappearance of Dustin Johnson. But he also agreed to the deadlines and reducing the number of captain's picks from four to three.

Furthermore, imagine a mere two matches going from losses to wins and Team USA is tied with Europe heading into Sunday, the favorites to win the Ryder Cup as Paul McGinley is questioned about some of his moves.

Such is the no-win job of Captain.

That said, Karen Crouse makes a strong case against Watson by questioning his communication skills and the impact this had on Team USA. While we don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, the bizarre misunderstanding with Jordan Spieth and the news of Phil Mickelson texting Watson Saturday (“Give us a chance”) to try and get an afternoon tee time does seem strange.  (Jason Sobel with the lowdown here on what sounds like a bizarre scene behind closed doors.) I’m pretty sure Olin Dutra never sent a telegram to Walter Hagen announcing that he wanted to be in the lineup.

Crouse writes:

Watson was not swayed by a text message from Mickelson assuring him they could get the job done.

Why did Simpson’s passionate plea get through to Watson but Mickelson’s did not? Why did Watson play the teams that fared well in the morning in the afternoon the second day but not the first? These inconsistencies can try a team’s cohesiveness.

Watson never had to work hard to forge interpersonal connections as a player because there were always plenty of people willing to make the effort to get to know him. Why should anyone have expected him to know how to forge bonds now with players?

Jim McCabe considers the hindsight game in analyzing Watson, including the Captain’s Rumsfeldian remark about his selections, and refuses to give him a pass.

Those six, Watson decided, were in good form and deserved an afternoon foursomes game, as did a rested Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar, who played decently in a four-balls loss in the morning.

“You can question my decisions on that. That’s fine,” Watson said. “But I made the best decisions I possibly could at the time I was making them.”

Since hindsight is flawless, Watson indicated he may have pushed the envelope by playing Mickelson and Bradley twice Friday, that he could have paid the price by playing Fowler and Walker a third straight match. They had played well in securing a halve in each of their Friday games, though the halve they got against McIlroy and Ian Poulter Friday morning was a bit of a letdown.

Bob Harig of is also tough on Watson:

Watson has long been known for his strong opinions and ironclad resolve, but his decision-making at Gleneagles has been shaky and unconvincing at a competition where the underdog Americans have no room for error. A 10-6 deficit is far from what was needed to have a legitimate shot at an upset with 12 singles matches remaining on Sunday.

Doug Ferguson noted that Watson has taken full responsibility for his moves. Up to a point.

He has called the shots and tried to make pairings based on performance and his gut feeling. Ultimately, he put the onus on his players.

"It's up for the actors to go out there and act," he said. "They haven't acted well enough to get that standing ovation at the end in the last two Ryder Cups. That's the way I look at it."

Alex Miceli went back and looked at past losing-Captain's speeches and predicted Watson will mirror the remarks of his predecessors after seeing the first two days of Ryder Cup play.

It’s clear that Watson feels the same way as these losing captains do. It's understandable since he has spent a considerable time with them and his judgment has to be clouded with emotion.

But someone has to step back and dig much deeper into every aspect of the U.S. participation in the Ryder Cup before the next captain is selected for the 2016 matches at Hazeltine, outside of Minneapolis.

This will not get turned around by the captain telling everyone how proud he is of his players after getting the stuffing beaten out of Uncle Sam.

Alan Shipnuck hasn't liked much of Watson's performance except the Sunday singles lineup, and grades the two Captains. He notes this about Watson's press conferences:

Watson was crotchety and defensive, and that was before the matches even began. It got even worse once things went pear-shaped. His incoherent mumbo-jumbo in trying to explain his thinking -- or lack thereof -- in his Friday night presser will forever color how his captaincy is remembered. On Saturday night, instead of projecting Crenshaw-like belief, he was strangely subdued. Such a tone filters back to the team room.


The Other Gleneagles: "The Speakeasy Of Golf Courses"

While the world watches the lush Gleneagles Centenary course hosting the Ryder Cup, John Branch of the New York Times heads a world away to “the speakeasy of golf courses,” according to its operator Tom Hsieh. Gleneagles of San Francisco is a 3,000 yard gem home to an eccentric crowd and known for its money games.

And it could really use some rain.

Gleneagles has never received the attention of other San Francisco courses, including the city-owned Harding Park, a longtime stop on the PGA Tour and the site of the 2009 Presidents Cup, and the Olympic Club, the site of the 2012 United States Open. And it never did what it was intended to do — improve the neighborhood struggling at the base of its slope.

By at least one count, there were 10 homicides in the Gleneagles area in 2012. Two murders occurred in the neighborhood within a week this summer.

But most of the course feels like a world away. The neighborhood is visible only along a couple of holes through the trees and across a chain-link fence. Crime has rarely entered, and even de Lambert once noted that he always kept the flags in the holes overnight without anyone stealing them.


2014 Ryder Cup Sunday Singles Set

Europe leads 10-6 on home soil but so did Team USA last time around, so there's always hope.

(Sponsor break.)

We're back! Tonight, the season premiere of SNL! As I was saying, history does tell us there is always the possibility of a comeback and while the Europeans are thought to have played much better, if two matches go differently, Team USA is tied headed into Sunday. With that, we'll be right back.

(Sponsor break.)

Anyway, America's poor play in foursomes has become more than a broken record, so if you have any thoughts, please feel free to send them to PGA of America headquarters. Now, before we get to the Sunday singles lineup...

(Last break I swear.)

Without further interruption, Sunday's Singles Matches and times...thoughts?


Video Memories: When USA Cut The Lead Before Foursomes

The official Ryder Cup site had this solid six-minute highlight package of the morning fourball competition at Gleneagles, when Team USA prevailed 2 1/2 to 1 1/2. And before things did not go so well in the afternoon where Europe prevailed 3 1/2 to 1/2 in foursomes. Europe leads 10-6 heading into singles play.


Faldo Fights Back: Sergio "Wasn't In It" And Cites Examples

An unbylined AP story features Nick Faldo's side of the story after his Golf Channel comments were fed to Team Europe and spit back with venom. Though Faldo admits his assessement was "harsh" he does not back down in one of those only-the-Ryder-Cup-can-produce-soap-operas.

And I have to say, Faldo's suggestion that Garcia was moping and erratic that week in 2008 doesn't sound like fiction. I believe the record does back up Faldo's assertion that Garcia was depressed after breaking up with Morgan Leigh Norman and he wasn't the Sergio "we know now."

“He was always labeled as the man who brings emotion and passion. We didn’t have it that week,” Faldo told the AP. “That’s, in my opinion, how it looked and felt.”

Faldo said Garcia was “down in the dumps” after Morgan Leigh Norman, the daughter of Greg Norman, had broken up with him.

“Friday morning, I’m going up the 10th hole with him,” he said. “I just put my arm around him and said, ‘Are you good to go this afternoon?’ And he said, ‘Yes’ to me. Then I get him on the 18th green and he says, ‘I’m (expletive). I don’t want to play anymore. I’ve been on antibiotics.’ I told him he was on the tee in 30 minutes.”

The pairings are submitted for the afternoon before the morning matches are over.

“That was the tone of Sergio for the whole week,” Faldo said. “He wasn’t in it.”

Now does that sound like the Sergio we know? Oh, right, it does.

Since Sergio isn't playing the morning fourballs, I think he ought to come up in the booth and hash this out with Faldo.


Video: The Uh, Lumberjack Pre-Shot Routine!?

Or maybe it's the lumbar-jack and he's finally found the move to work around back spasms? Either way, and I never would want to question a golfer's search for the Holy Grail, but this one probably warrants further explanation and analysis.

Alex Nuschke watched this fine golfer at the range hitting an entire bucket with the same pre-shot routine, then posted a clip on YouTube.

I must say in the pre-shot routine world this will, if nothing else, reassure you that yours isn't so bad.


Faldo's "Useless" Jab Stirs Euros To Sergio's Defense!

Team Europe rallied around Sergio Garcia late Friday after former captain Nick Faldo threw in a jab at his  2008 Ryder Cup team member, calling the Spaniard "useless" with a "bad attitude" (you can hear the clip and judge the context in ByTheMinuteGolf's Vine below).

Jason Sobel with Sergio's reaction ("unfortunate" and "I'm not going to put myself down to his level") and the zinger of a reply from Graeme McDowell.

“You've got one of the best Ryder Cup pairings of all time being sat down on a Saturday morning of a Ryder Cup that we go on to lose,” McDowell said pointedly. “I'd say Sergio was fairly useless that afternoon, yeah, because he wasn't able to play. So, yeah, I agree.”

Carl Markham in the Daily Mail wrote:

Some of the senior players alongside Garcia in the press conference looked less than impressed the upbeat mood of how Europe finished the day - with a 5-3 lead - had been brought down a notch by the issue.

The video clip is WELL worth watching if you missed it. GMac and Sir Nick will not be litigating anytime soon! I mean, exchanging Christmas cards.

Ryan Herrington noted that it was Rory who had to lighten a suddenly tense press room mood.

McIlroy, sitting next to Garcia on the podium, attempted to lighten the suddenly icy mood.

"Don't worry," he said turning to Garcia. "You're not useless."

As if Team USA didn't have enough on its plate, now they have to deal with a team uniting behind Sergio and loving to hate Nick Faldo. The excerpt of the press room exchange was posted by Stephanie Wei here. The full transcript is here.

The sound (unmute option in upper left corner): 



Video: Marshal Digs Deep To Help Spot Team Europe Tee Ball!

It's lame enough that the second Ryder Cup in Scotland is played at a modern American-looking design, but the pathetic chip-out rough setup is compounding the disdain many will have for Gleneagles.

But hey, the marshals are there to help dig through the tall stuff! At least for Team Europe.

As this video posted by Golf Central Daily notes, no matter what side you're rooting for, this is way too much touchy-feely stuff with Sergio's 15th hole tee ball from the 2014 Ryder Cup afternoon foursomes.

The clip:


Roundup: Watson Criticized For Benching Spieth & Reed

Alex Myers on the 5&4 win by Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed over Ian Poulter and Stephen Gallacher that fueled a strong USA start. Most interesting was Spieth's bold statement suggesting a certain Team USA view of Poulter.

"I think everybody on the team wants Poulter and we were able to have him first," Jordan Spieth said.

Larry Fine of Reuters recounts the silencing of Europe's "cup wizard" and notes this from Patrick Reed about not getting to play the afternoon.

"It was very, very quiet out there compared to what I think Patrick and I expected in the first round of a Ryder Cup over here, and that's the goal," Spieth said.

"Whenever you feel like you're playing really well...I felt like in alternate-shot, him and I would have been great to go back out and take the momentum of what we just had done," said Reed.

"But at the end of the day, Captain Watson, he picks pairings for a reason."

As it became apparently the winning duo was not playing again in the afternoon, the outrage was strong in part because Spieth revealed Watson said strong morning play would get them a look for an afternoon tee time.  However, because of timing issues, to play the young Americans would have meant benching Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley who beat Europe's top team of Garcia and McIlroy.

Jason Sobel reports that Spieth and Reed expressed their displeasure with Captain Tom Watson for benching them.

“They were very upset with me for not playing them this afternoon,” Watson admitted. “I said, ‘I know you're going to be mad at me, but you'll be playing tomorrow, for sure.’”

John Strege with the roundup of second-guessing on social media by the likes of Dave Stockton and Peter Kostis.

It did not take long for criticism to surface, only moments after U.S. Captain Tom Watson chose not to send out victorious rookies Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed in the afternoon foursomes on the opening day of the Ryder Cup.

Hank Gola noted Johnny Miller's criticism.

The move brought wholesale criticism, including from NBC’s Johnny Miller.

“The way that Reed and Spieth played, they should be playing this afternoon,” Miller chirped. “Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, they need a guide dog. They’ve been all over the golf course, whereas Reed and Spieth shot 6-under this morning, I think, the best of anybody.

Monty piled on at Sky, questioning how Mickelson and Bradley could be sent back out even after pulling out a win over McIlroy-Garcia.

They wanted to play and I was amazed that they didn’t play in the afternoon and Mickelson and Keegan Bradley did.

“Phil and Keegan got out of jail first up [to beat Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy 1 up] but they are not a foursome pairing as they don’t hit enough fairways.”

“I now fear for this American team without Mickelson playing his best – and I wonder who is going to be the team leader out on the course.

“With Phil struggling and no Tiger Woods, nobody is really pulling out ahead here and going: ‘Come on lads, we can do this’, and that’s why I think Europe are firmly in the driving seat.
“If America don’t win Saturday’s first session, I think Europe will win this Ryder Cup.”

Watson addressed the topic right off the bat in his press conference and follow-up stories will be added as they are posted.


Monty Second Guesses Ian Poulter Pairing

And frankly, the 2010 European Captain was not off base, specially related to Poulter’s form all year. Monty at least stuck to the European party line that Poulter “had” to be picked because of his past form.

John Strege with Colin Montgomerie’s remarks during his brief American television appearance.

“Ian Poulter wasn’t playing well,” Montgomerie said during his stint in the Golf Channel booth. “He was 70th on the U.S. money list, is 50th on the European money list. I’m not saying a surprise pick, but at the same time you had to pick him because of his past performances. But to give Stephen Gallacher someone that’s struggling with his own game…Stephen Gallacher, who’s a rookie playing in Scotland, on a home track, I didn’t like that European pairing at all.

Monty expressed no such qualms about Poulter’s game earlier in the week as quoted by James Riach.


Ryder Cup: Tale Of Two Captains Turns To Tale Of Two Teams

As we noted on Thursday's live chat, Paul McGinley will forever be remembered as the man who ruined the Ryder Cup opening ceremony.

No embarrassing player intros, no excessive attention paid to the WAG's, no lame celebrity cameos or bizarro dance numbers? Really? In general, it was a tight, classy ceremony that will doom the blogosphere unless the PGA of America can return the 2016 opening event back to the ridiculousness we've come to love and know.

And in the press room, McGinley has been professional, steady, self-deprecating and refreshingly humble. Captain Tom Watson has been, well, sounding a little...tired?

Brian Keogh
had a great breakdown of the captains thru Thursday where Watson admitted jet lag had gotten the best of him Wednesday when he sounded a tad irritable with the press.

Tom Watson wearily - perhaps even tetchily — completed his third press conference in as many days and remained behind in the near empty interview to eat a sandwich.

He sat alone in the same seat from where he’d just batted away questions he didn’t want to answer, barely recovered from the jet lag that left him looking every second of his 65 years the previous day.

“I was bushed yesterday, but I’m fine now,” he said. But he didn’t appear to be enjoying what the Ryder Cup has become since he captained the last US side to win on European soil in 1993.

“The only thing different here is the media responsibilities I've had, the extra time that I've had to spend with the media,” Watson said.

As for the picks, the bookmakers just love what Captain McGinley has come up with. But we all know it's the Ryder Cup. World ranking points and other nonsense mean not a thing when the first group goes out. And that's why it's the best event of the year. Play away gentleman!

Oh and one other note:

65% to 35% of you see Europe winning but in a strange twist, the American underdog status has 58% of you wanting to see Team USA win versus just 42% rooting for Team Europe. Thanks for voting!


Webb Convinced Captain Watson Via Text, 4 a.m. Chat

As Bubba Watson and his exclusive babysitter Webb Simpson lead off for Team USA at the Ryder Cup's opening fourballs, James Riach reveals in The Guardian that it was an early morning (4 am) text message back-and-forth that convinced Captain Tom Watson to select Simpson.

Riach writes:

Simpson, who will partner Bubba Watson on Friday in the opening fourballs, had not heard from Watson until the night before his final selection, but lying in a hotel bed unable to sleep he texted the American captain and outlined his desperation to make the team.

“I couldn’t really sleep. I can’t ever sleep after the final round of tournaments in general and I was laying there and I thought, I had not heard from him,” Simpson said. “I probably would have heard from him by now and I’ve got nothing to lose. So I texted him, something like: ‘I know it’s a really tough decision for you, I know Chris just won and I know Bill is playing good and you even have other options than that. But I really, really, really want to be on the team and I really want to represent the United States.’

“He texted real quick – I saw the three little dots on the iPhone and I was surprised he was awake – and said: ‘This is a tough decision, Webb.’ That’s all he said. I was like, I didn’t make the team. He’s going to call me and I didn’t make the team but then he called me 30 minutes later and he asked me why I thought he should put me on the team. And at 4.30 in the morning it’s a tough question to be asked.”

Asked what he replied, Simpson said: “I made my final plea, I told him I want revenge for what happened in 2012 and I really want to be on that team. He decided, whatever I said, maybe it was nothing I said, but he picked me.

“Maybe it was my passion to play and desire to be on the team and my push for him to pick me but I don’t know what he was thinking. Keegan [Bradley] told me he thought it was a good thing I texted him to show him because I didn’t have a lot of interaction with the captain in terms of texting and phone calls throughout the year.”


Instant Poll(s): Who Do You Think/Want To Win Ryder Cup?

I couldn't decide between the questions so I'm asking both: Who do you think will win, and who do you want to win.

Fire away!

First question...

Who do you think will win the 2014 Ryder Cup? free polls

Second question...

Who do you WANT to win the 2014 Ryder Cup? free polls


2014 Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony Live Chat

We're going to get through this one together...dancing bagpipers and all...

Live Blog Live Ryder Cup Opening Ceremonies Chat


For Three Days Every Two Years A United Europe

The AP's John Leicester files the perfect column for you to send insufferable Team Europe fans who are anti-European Union for all but one week every two years.

Leicester writes:

Except, that is, for three days every two years, when European golf fans put nationality aside to rally behind the common cause of beating the Yanks at golf. Thanks, they might say, for helping us defeat Nazi Germany, for everything you did to help build modern Europe, the Marshall plan, staring down the Soviets and whatnot, but now watch our guys sink this birdie.

Which all makes golf's premier team event politically interesting and, at the same time, also feel somewhat bizarre.

Nowhere else will you see Ordinary Joes draping the European Union flag over their shoulders or cheering "Europe! Europe!" as they will from the very first tee Friday when captain Paul McGinley's merry band of 12 men from nine nations begin their defense of the cup.

Ask around in the crowds and you quickly find people who say they feel little or no love for the European Union but who are decked out in the EU colors of yellow and blue. It's all a bit perplexing.


Video: Justin Leonard Returns To Scene Of '99 Ryder Cup

Golf Channel’s Live From hit another home run with this feature about the 1999 Ryder Cup at Brookline and Justin Leonard’s revisiting of the scene. Because as we know, the hideous behavior of the Americans will always remain the definitive winning statement to any argument with a European!

This was Leonard’s first visit to The Country Club since ’99, dispelling any rumors that he and Ben Crenshaw make an annual trip to the 17th green to dance on the European’s grave.

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