Calls Should Come Any Day Now For Thomas Bjorn To Solve Brexit

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Is he a Hard Brexit guy or more of a Soft Brexit type? Given that he gets a standing ovation these days for walking to a first tee en route to an inevitable round starting in the 70s, the Captain Thomas Bjorn lovefest is now hitting full stride. Comparisons to Churchill seem inevitable. 

Alistair Tait of Golfweek on what the victorious 2018 Captain is planning now that he managed to craft winning lineups, drive his buggy without injuring a spectator and keep his players from bad mouthing their week. Oh, and he’s not pulling the I-told-you-so-card on his Sergio selection, as he’s entitled to do. 

Take the Dane’s “controversial” decision to select Sergio Garcia as one of his wild-card picks. Bjorn was pilloried from all points – including this one – for picking the out of form Spaniard. If Bjorn had any reason to say “I told you so,” this was his opportunity. Instead, he took a dignified stance.

“I’m not one to sit there and say I told you so, because Sergio could have showed up and not won points,” Bjorn said. “He could have played well and lost matches. That happens in the Ryder Cup.

Now, I’m happy the Europeans are enjoying this victory, but as we discussed on Morning Drive, the excessive celebration flags are about to start flying.

At Least Team USA Helped Coin A Spectacular New Term: Crony Captainism

Peter Kaufman restructures distressed assets as an investment banker and takes a businessman’s approach to America’s latest Ryder Cup rout in Europe.

In it he spawns a spectacular phrase that will make Patrick Reed happy, assuming he reads MorningRead.com.


1. End crony captain-ism. Let’s stop the parade of old PGA Tour players as captains. No more, Whose turn is it? Or, Which of my buddies do I want to hang around with in Paris? I hate to pick on U.S. captain Jim Furyk – he seems like a nice-enough fellow – but he is the most recent glaring example of what needs to change.

Furyk chose his pals Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods as captain’s choices, and it’s clear that they had huge influences on everything Furyk did, or did not do. They are a combined 90 years old (really). They also are ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the category of Most Ryder Cup Points Lost in History.

But they are “very experienced”! Very experienced at losing, actually. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. Their losing Ryder Cup scar tissue has scar tissue on top of scar tissue. They just do not play nicely with others. That is not a recipe for success.

New Evidence Surfaces Suggesting Europe Is Enjoying This Ryder Cup Win A Bit Too Much

Enjoy it, savor it, hype it a little, but a MoliWood signage build out at the British Masters when your tour is in the red? Too much! The Golf Gods will note this.

“I will say it’s not uncommon for players not to like each other on Ryder Cup teams. But they almost always like each other more after.”

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With Justin Thomas backing USA captain Jim Furyk’s assertion that 2018 Ryder Cup couplings were decided and communicated well in advance of the matches, Patrick Reed’s complaint of Jordan Spieth separation-frustration took another hit.

That will not be an issue again until he makes the next American team, potentially as soon as 2019’s Presidents Cup in Melbourne. But until then Reed will be the villain and Eamon Lynch says that’s a good thing for golf.

This quote in the piece from Paul Azinger is fun food for thought:

“I’ve always viewed him as sincere. I like the way he handles himself on the course,” Paul Azinger said. Then he added wryly, “I will say it’s not uncommon for players not to like each other on Ryder Cup teams. But they almost always like each other more after.”

DJ And Brooks Are Like Brothers...Who Took A Cab Ride After “It” Happened

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And now back to the mysterious saga of Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka in 2018’s huge box office dud, Venom In Versailles.

From Will Gray’s GolfChannel.com account of Jim Furyk’s post-Ryder Cup interview, namely an alleged incident involving Johnson and Koepka that Koepka said did not happen:

And while Furyk reiterated the close relationship between the two friends, he also seemed to imply that some sort of incident, however minor, did occur.

"Whatever altercation started, or what happened, it was very brief. It was very short. Neither one of them really took anything out of it," Furyk said. "They're like brothers. Brothers may argue, brothers get into it. But they're as close as they've ever been, and it really had no effect on either one of them."

There was also this from Rosaforte’s questioning, transcribed for those who didn’t watch Morning Drive:

Whatever altercation started what happened was very brief and was very short. Neither one of them really took anything out of it. In fact they both hopped in a cab not long after that and went out together for a little while, woke up in the morning like nothing happened. So in their minds it was a non-issue and really like they are like brothers. So brothers may argue, get into it, but they are close as they’ve ever been.

I can attest that Versailles on a Sunday night is as about as wild and crazy as it gets on the nightlife front. There are both Uber and taxi drivers out and about.

So I’m sure Brooks and DJ had the time of their lives fleeing the European team celebration. Still, such a detail suggests that claims of media-conjured news appear inaccurate. At least, if Jim Furyk is to be believed.

"Now, the Americans need to copy Europe one more time and learn how to lose with grace, dignity and class."

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Tough stuff from John Feinstein directed at Team USA following the Ryder Cup and especially toward Phil Mickelson, a future captain.

From his Golf World column:

If you look closely at what the Task Force did after the 2014 matches it really came down to this: It recommended copying everything Europe had been doing for years in terms of selecting captains and vice-captains and took the selection of the captain out of the hands of the PGA President and put it into the hands of the players.

All good.

Now, the Americans need to copy Europe one more time and learn how to lose with grace, dignity and class. Being bad losers is the one aspect of the Ryder Cup the Americans seem—sadly—to have mastered.

Furyk: Reed Pairing With Tiger Was No Surprise, Not Jordan's Doing

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There is much to unpack in Jim Furyk’s sitdown with Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte, from the Captain’s Patrick Reed pushback to the state of the Bash Brothers to Phil Mickelson’s bizarro last minute swing mechanics tune-up explaining his appearance in foursomes play.

Ever the gentleman, Furyk is at least starting to admit a few things related to the 2018 Ryder Cup. The first big ticket item: Reed had no reason to suggest surprise, shock or secrecy in getting a coupling with Tiger Woods and had nothing to do with Reed’s claim of a Jordan Spieth-led conspiracy to avoid him.

Instead, things changed when Tiger went from cart driver status to player, creating two super-teams (on paper anyway).

From Will Gray’s write up:

"When I started looking at who (Tiger) would pair well with, I kept coming back to Patrick Reed," Furyk said. "There was always the idea that we could go Tiger and JT (Justin Thomas), and Patrick and Jordan, but ultimately they knew going into the week, weeks in advance, they knew they would start the Ryder Cup with Patrick and Tiger being partners."

Furyk even noted that he’d consulted on his original idea of leading off with Reed/Woods and Reed suggested they go out later the first morning.

The clip:

Morning Drive: Furyk Sits Down For First Interview Since His Ryder Cup Babysitting Duties

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Rosie has the exclusive Monday morning on Morning Drive to discuss America’s resounding loss in France and some of the fallout post-Ryder Cup 2018. For Immediate Release:

ORLANDO, Fla., (Oct. 7, 2018) – U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk sat down with Golf Channel Insider Tim Rosaforte in Jacksonville today for his first extended interview since the U.S. team’s return from the Ryder Cup in Paris. The interview will air Monday on Morning Drive (7-9 a.m. ET) and again Monday night on Golf Central (6-7 p.m. ET).

A preview snippet has been posted:


Phil: Le Golf National Almost Playable, Waging War On Courses With Rough By Scheduling Accordingly

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After his Safeway Open second round Phil Mickelson made clear he’s going to play less in 2018-19.

Reason one, as reported by PGATour.com’s Cameron Morfit, centers around fatigue and managing his energy levels as a 48-year-old.

Then there was layer two of his views, expressed after experiencing light rough in Napa following the excess of Le Golf National where silly wedge-out, injury-inducing nonsense was harvested successfully to mess with Team USA. Kevin Casey at Golfweek with the quotes:

“It’s a unique situation in that the way the Europeans did a great thing, they did the opposite of what we do when we have the Ryder Cup here. The fairways were 14 to 16 yards wide. Ben Hogan, who is the greatest ball-striker of all time, had a five percent margin of error. So if you hit the ball 300 yards, which we all hit it more than that, you need to have a 30-yard fairway to be able to hit it.”

Let’s put the breaks on here for a minute. I don’t recall many 14 to 16 yard wide areas in the main landing areas, or anything under 20 yards. I paced off about 10 landing areas and the Europeans generally gave one are of width, though they also engaged in chintzy (perfectly kosher) tactics of rolling an area like the left side of the first fairway to reduce a swatch of 30 yards to effectively playing 25.

Here’s where Mickelson and Team USA do deserve some credit: the setup was structured so that an extremely errant drive—except down across the 7th hole OB as Patrick Reed found out—could find the spectator areas.

They very easily could have taken tee shots on multiple holes at the chalets and spectator areas well off play, taken a free drop on the hardpan, and shown up the European setup. Thankfully, they did not in the interest of sportsmanship and given the horrible injury suffered by a spectator.

The second point by Mickelson is a gift. For those who have explained how distance gains are a burden on golf courses, he effective explains how more width is needed to accommodate drives over 300 yards. More width means more acreage for turf, more acreage means more cost.

As for his scheduling around high rough, this does not bode well for a Torrey Pines start to the 2019 season given that it has some of the highest on the PGA Tour:

“And I’m 48. I’m not going to play tournaments with rough like that anymore. It’s a waste of my time. I’m going to play courses that are playable and that I can play aggressive, attacking, make a lot of birdies, (the) style of golf I like to play.”

He certainly is wise to schedule that way.

"Eleven players understood the concept of team golf and only one didn’t."

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The New York Post’s Mark Cannizzaro talked to a player identified as a Team USA member after they returned from France and we learned several things about the strife.

—Patrick Reed is viewed as having begged his way into a Tiger pairing.

—Reed probably would have shot 83 Saturday morning on his own ball in the view of his teammates

—It’s probably a really good thing the charter did not have WiFi, otherwise we might have had an in-flight fight.

From Cannizzaro’s item:

“He is so full of s–t,’’ the source told The Post on Monday. “Blindsided my ass. He begged to play with Tiger.’’

At least Bubba has something to be happy about. He’s in the group of 11!

“I feel so bad for Jim, because he was an unreal captain. He would have run through a wall for all 12 of the guys. Unfortunately, there were only 11 players that would have returned the favor.’’

DJ And Koepka Redefine What It Means To Be A Bash Brother

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French publication L’Equippe says Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka were rowing on the team flight from Atlanta to Paris.

Now James Corrigan reports for The Telegraph that DJ and Koepka, aka the Bash Brothers who’ve bonded over dead lifts sound like they are dead to each other after having to be separated Sunday night following the 2018 Ryder Cup.

Witnesses recounted how the pair almost came to blows after they had been invited into the Europe team room, a few hours after the resounding home success at Le Golf National.

The reason for the bust-up was not known, but it was a huge ­surprise as they are regarded as best friends.

You know the old saying: what happens in the team room stays in team room, unless it’s the other team’s room.

Koepka’s agent Blake Smith says the story is made up, reports GolfDigest.com’s Joel Beall.

Somewhere right now Tom Watson is smiling and Steve Stricker is wondering if he really wants the 2020 captaincy.

Unpacking Patrick Reed’s Detonation Of Team USA Relations With…Team USA

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If you haven’t already Karen Crouse’s exclusive comments from Patrick Reed by now, here is the link to her story where “Captain America” takes flight and probably crashes his prospects for ever again getting paired with anyone who can tolerate him.

A few thoughts on the ramifications of this spectacular torpedoing of all Task Force and Captain America glory.

—Goodbye Spieth Pairings. By stating that Jordan Spieth “obviously” didn’t want to play with him, Reed killed any chances of a future pairing with Spieth who “obviously” just preferred a coupling with longtime buddy Justin Thomas. Reed should not be surprised since several pundits projected this happening in part because of Spieth’s so-so 2018 and not needing to be subjected to the bizarro dynamic that has made the Reed-Spieth duo work in past Cups. But more enjoyable in this part of the Reed detonation is his conclusion that he’s not fun to play with for Spieth. Yet in no way did he suggest, at least as quoted by Crouse, that this might prompt reflection on how he approaches, say, life?

—Insulting Tiger. Reed bluntly stated that Tiger Woods was his second choice as a partner. Take that, one of the two greatest players of all time!  Sure, Patrick drove into the 7th hole chalets somewhere in the South of France and donated other balls to Le Golf National’s hazards. And sure, Tiger Woods took him on when he could have his pick of partners. And sure, Jim Furyk put them out in four-balls twice before finally breaking up the duo Saturday afternoon following two losses, but don’t openly tell the world Tiger Woods is your second choice.

—Task Force Exposure. Suggesting Jim Furyk didn’t consult you while the team professed the open book nature of the process, could suggest the old boys vibe of the Task Force did play favorites. This is also a reminder that whoever was in the cool kids club didn’t make very shrewd decisions. So while Patrick feels left out of the process, this could also just highlight that he wears headphones way too much and isn’t the easiest lad to approach. Particularly with wife Justine in the wings and pounding out conspiracy-theory driven line drives on Twitter. 

—Irony needs to become part of Patrick Reed’s life. At the end of Crouse’s piece, Reed notes the “Leave your egos at the door” posting on team room walls, then compliments the Europeans for doing so better than the United States. But he seems oblivious to his massive ego entitling him to pairings and opportunities that did not happen this time around when he left his golf swing behind the team room doors.

Even Tiger Couldn't Give Ryder Cup A Big Ratings Bump

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Even with a resurgent Tiger Woods, the combination of time of year, early morning airings and maybe too much of an old-school approach to the Ryder Cup led to fairly normal (and so-so) ratings for the 2018 Ryder Cup, reports Paulsen at Sports Media Watch.

Coming off an all-time low from Gleneagles 2014, the numbers at least bounced back to traditional Ryder Cup ratings, with a 1.8 and 2.67 million viewers for a 13% increase over the last European-hosted Cup. Still…

Though up from 2014, ratings and viewership were the second-lowest for the final day of the Ryder Cup since at least 1997.

Viewership peaked at 4.03 million from 10:15-10:30 PM ET. Europe clinched victory at 11 AM, 90 minutes before the end of NBC’s telecast window.

For Immediate Release:

NBC SPORTS’ RYDER CUP FINAL DAY COVERAGE

FROM PARIS UP 23% VS. 2014 FROM SCOTLAND 

NBC Sports’ Final Day Streaming Up 697% vs. 2014, Up 58% vs. 2016

 

PARIS, (Oct 1, 2018) – NBC Sports’ coverage of the Ryder Cup from Le Golf National outside Paris was up all three days vs. 2014 in Scotland, the last year the Ryder Cup was staged in Europe. NBC’s final day coverage on Sunday posted a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 2.71 million average viewers across a 5.5-hour telecast (7 a.m.-12:30 pm ET), up 23% vs. 2014 (2.21m, Gleneagles, Scotland). Streaming of the Ryder Cup Final Day garnered 11.1 million minutes streamed, up 697% from 2014 (1.4m) and 58% vs. 2016 (8.1m, Hazeltine National Golf Club, Minneapolis). Europe won the Ryder Cup for the seventh time in ten events and continued their streak of winning in Europe dating back to 1993.

“The crowds in Paris were not the only passionate fans of the Ryder Cup with viewership in the U.S. posting gains everyday compared to four years ago in Scotland,” said Mike McCarley, president, Golf, NBC Sports. “Despite the overnight and morning hours, both TV and streaming coverage saw significant gains versus 2014, which was the first year Golf Channel covered the Ryder Cup as part of NBC Sports.” 

Additional Final Day highlights include:

·        Television viewership garnered 2.67 million average viewers, up 21% vs. 2014 (2.20m), and posted a 1.83 U.S. household rating.

·        Television viewership peaked at 4.03 million average viewers from 10:15-10:30 a.m. ET. Team Europe clinched the Ryder Cup at approximately 11 a.m. ET.

NBC SPORTS’ DAY TWO COVERAGE:

NBC Sports’ Day Two coverage of the Ryder Cup on Saturday (7 a.m. – 12:24 p.m. ET) posted a TAD of 2.31 million average viewers across a nearly 5.5-hour telecast, up 21% vs. 2014 (1.91m). NBC’s average viewership posted 2.27 million average viewers, up 19% vs. 2014 (1.91m). Streaming garnered 15.7 million minutes, up 552% vs. 2014 (2.4m)

Additional Day Two highlights include:

·        Television viewership garnered 2.27 million average viewers, up 19% vs. 2014 (1.91m), and posted a 1.57 U.S. household rating.

·        Television viewership peaked at 2.99 million average viewers from 11:30-11:45 a.m. ET.

 

GOLF CHANNEL’S DAY ONE COVERAGE:

Golf Channel’s Day One coverage of the Ryder Cup on Friday (2:00 a.m. – 12:19 p.m. ET) posted a TAD of 765k average viewers across a 10+ hour telecast, up 12% vs. 2014 (685k). Golf Channel’s average viewership posted 732k persons 2+, up 9% vs. 2014 (673k). Streaming garnered 20.6 million minutes, up 160% vs. 2014 (7.9m). 

Additional Day One highlights include:

·        Viewership peaked with 1.06 million average viewers from 9:15-9:30 a.m. ET.

·        From 2-6 a.m. ET, Golf Channel posted its best average viewership ever in this time period (489k avg. viewers).

 

One More Fun Stat Confirming Europe's 2018 Ryder Cup Dominance

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Golfweek’s Rich Skyzinski dug up some beauties related to last week’s 4-0 foursomes session and their 8-match streak, and here is one more from the 2018 Ryder Cup won by Europe, 17.5 to 10.5.

Skyzinski (and I) consider a match a runaway when it’s 15 holes or less. Since the start of the 28-point system in 1979, Europe registered the most ever.

6 — Europe, 2018
5 — U.S., 1979
5 — U.S., 1981
5 — Europe, 2002

Patrick Reed Opens Up On USA's "Buddy System" And Says He Wanted To Light Up The Press Conference Like Phil In '14

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The New York Times’ Karen Crouse interviewed Patrick Reed about an hour after the final 2018 Ryder Cup press conference and heard the Masters champ complain about his pairing breakup with Jordan Spieth along with other strong views on the USA team management side.

Furyk said the decision to split Spieth and Reed had been his call. As Reed silently seethed, the news conference ended. In a telephone interview less than an hour later, Reed expressed his frustrations with how the pairings were handled.

Now we have something this Ryder Cup lacked. A good old fashioned cat fight!

Reed described the decision-making process as “a buddy system” that ignores the input of all but a few select players.

“The issue’s obviously with Jordan not wanting to play with me,” Reed said, adding, “I don’t have any issue with Jordan. When it comes right down to it, I don’t care if I like the person I’m paired with or if the person likes me as long as it works and it sets up the team for success. He and I know how to make each other better. We know how to get the job done.”

While that was apparent at the last few matches, the Thomas-Spieth replacement far outperformed (3-1) and lifted the American team when the Reed-Woods duo went 0-2.

“For somebody as successful in the Ryder Cup as I am, I don’t think it’s smart to sit me twice,” Reed said.

That trademark humility strikes again!

He’s apparently forgotten the tee shot hit into the 7th hole chalets already.

And this about the press conference…

When Reed and Spieth were asked about their split-up in the interview room, “I was looking at him like I was about to light the room up like Phil in ’14,” Reed said.

Woulda made the flight home fun!

Justine! Patrick's Wife Takes To Twitter To Defend Her Man

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After mostly automated social posts, Justine Reed—she can’t confirm or deny—took to social media to defend her man after husband Patrick struggled in foursomes and four-ball play at the 2018 Ryder Cup.

G.C. Digital with the details of Reed’s defense of her husband’s play and suggestion that Jordan Spieth be asked why the vaunted Spieth-Reed partnership has ended.

Golf.com’s Dylan Dethier got a strange non-denial denial from Mrs. Reed regarding the legitimacy of the account and Tweets.

2018 Ryder Cup Europe Defeats United States 17 1/2 To 10 1/2: Let The Excessive Celebrations And Second Guessing Begin

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Here we go! By week’s end Thomas Bjorn will be named to head the fix Brexit movement and Jim Furyk will have been detained by U.S. customs for having not made putts on an American team that succumbed to an energized European squad.

Beth Ann Nichols’ game story for Golfweek.

Either way, the 42nd Ryder Cup featured everything we could hope for—well maybe a little more controversy—but plenty of great golf, at a 4K friendly venue in the glorious country of France and happy Europeans for the next two years. Until you mention Brexit.

We have full coverage over at Golfweek. I filed this assessment of the venue, which I’m conflicted about given that the architecture is wretched in spots and the setup artificially infused. Still, it did what the Europeans promised it would do as far as raising the bar for Ryder Cup venues.

I also offered this take on the state of the USA Task Force, which isn’t looking so hot these days given this week’s performance by leaders of the Task Force.

Eamon Lynch also opines on the state of the USA buddy effort and like me, wonders if Jim Furyk was hampered by the buddy system that put him in the job.

Speaking of all this, we may have just seen Phil Mickelson’s Ryder Cup career wrap up in less than pretty fashion, writes Gerry Ahern.

Tiger had an 0-4 week and was barely awake in the post round presser. Dan Kilbridge wraps up his week. Let’s hope the man gets a nice vacation!

His post-round press conference answers:

It was not a good week for the USA Captain’s week according to Justin Ray.

Ian Poulter delivered…make room for another Ferrari!

The Singles Are Underway! Will This Be An Epic Comeback Or An Epic Rout?

Or somewhere right in between? That seemed to be the prevailing view for our Golfweek Sunday singles predictions.

As I wrote for Golfweek, these 10-6 days are pretty ho-hum at this point. This is our fifth since 1999 and the setup would seem to set up nicely for America early, with some questions late.

Tiger, for his part, sounds very tired after the playoff run and quick turnaround to this event. His post-match interview with Todd Lewis:

The Europeans are feeling pretty frisky! They’ve got Molliwood graphics already.

This impromptu celebration broke out at a fan center Saturday night: