Tournament golf can be heroic or tragic, a play of forces in which players and spectators alike may experience drama equal to that on any stage. BOBBY JONES
Derek Lawrenson reports that the Vice Captain has never actually been offered the job!
He has certainly got a grumpy potential vice-captain on his hands after Jose Maria Olazabal made the stunning revelation on Thursday that Monty had appointed him to the post without even asking the Spaniard if he wanted it.
Anyone know the Spanish for ‘That’s news to me, pal?’
Such was Ollie’s reaction to a series of questions on the subject at the Dubai Desert Classic, where he was in no mood to gloss over what he clearly feels is a terrible breach of protocol.
‘The only words Monty and I have spoken was when I got to the clubhouse on Wednesday and I congratulated him and he said: “We need to talk,” and that was all,’ said Olazabal.
You assume it is the vice-captaincy he wants to talk about?
‘I am not going to guess anything.’
I'm not sure where that leaves Monty since he'll be 51 when his self-appointed captaincy comes up (2014), but he tells Mark Reason that once they turn 50, Ryder Cup captains lose all sense of what's going on!
Montgomerie said: "We found last time with Faldo's situation that you do lose as a captain over 50 [is this bad news for the 50-year-old Sandy Lyle] a sense of what's happening with the youngsters, a feeling of what's going on."
Given Faldo's obvious lack of empathy with parts of his team, was it surprising that he appointed only one assistant captain? And would Montgomerie be prepared to help out in Wales if he didn't make the team in 2010?
He said: "I would be willing to do anything to help. I said so pre-Faldo when he didn't pick me. I was surprised that Darren, who has played in five of these things, and myself, who has played in eight, were left sitting at home last time. I am sure we could have helped the European cause in some way.
"I was fully expecting some sort of call when the voicemail came through from Nick. At the end of his spiel about, 'I'm sorry, I haven't picked you because' – which I fully accepted, I didn't play well enough to get selected – I did expect the follow on: 'But would you come out to help in some way'. Anything. But it didn't happen. I'm sure Darren would have felt a similar way."
John Hopkins finds Sergio Garcia in a chatty mood regarding the Ryder Cup. Love this Red Auerbach/Boston Garden playbook stuff:
“The US team played their cards well. They knew where the pins were going to be and the tees and we didn't. The locker-room we had was really, really small and uncomfortable. I wish it had been even half the size of theirs. We had two showers, one next to a toilet. At the opening ceremony they played my anthem twice, once when the Spanish flag was raised and once when the Swedish flag was raised.
“Nick Faldo's speech at the opening ceremony was too long. In past Ryder Cups there has been the captain and two or three vice-captains. It seemed like that way you covered a lot of ground. On the Sunday this year, covering all 12 of us with only two guys was rather difficult.”
And on the Sunday lineup call to stack the backend of the lineup:
He also pointed out that the order of play for Sunday's singles was not just Faldo's choice, but one that had the approval of every Europe team member. “The defeat was not Faldo's fault,” García said. “Nick Faldo was not the best captain we have ever had, but I don't think he was the worst.”
You can already sense that they're clamoring for those earth-shattering one-on-ones with about-to-be-announced Captain Pavin.
John Hopkins in the Times:
There is some surprise in the selection of Pavin, 49, to be the man to lead his team at Celtic Manor Resort, near Newport. The PGA of America is believed to have wanted Azinger to repeat his role, but the man who masterminded the first US victory since 1999 decided against it. “All I can say, boys, is it’s not going to be me,” Azinger said on Monday.
Did anyone else read Azinger's comments that way? I thought it was more resignation at being passed up?
Rex Hoggard at GolfChannel.com:
The PGA may have pulled the plug on Azinger, but it was a surgeon’s scalpel that cost him his ultimate Ryder Cup experience. When Tiger Woods’ season ended shortly after his historic U.S. Open victory at Torrey Pines it robbed Azinger of his chance to captain a team that included the world No. 1.
“It’s one of those things I’m going to miss the most. Not being able to spend time with the likes of Tiger Woods . . . it’s unfortunate,” Azinger said before the matches.
For the man who didn’t leave a blade of Kentucky bluegrass undisturbed in his quest for Ryder Cup gold, the PGA’s decision and Woods’ season-ending injury are particularly painful rubs on an otherwise agreeable green.
Mark Reason in the Daily Telegraph:
If they do overlook cap'n Azinger, the PGA of America will prove that they are serious rivals for "the 57 old farts" of the RFU once lampooned by Will Carling.
Four years ago Tiger Woods and many others wanted the smarts of Mark O'Meara, but the PGA of America wouldn't have him because O'Meara had once suggested that some of their Ryder Cup profits should go to player-nominated charities.
Now, if Azinger has it right, the officers of the PGA are set to refuse to reappoint their first decent captain since Tom Watson in 1993. The hot favourite to replace Azinger is the 49-year-old Pavin.
Not everyone is infatuated with Azinger at the moment. Jim McCabe in the Boston Globe:
In an effort to market himself and profit from the success of his captaincy with the US Ryder Cup team, Paul Azinger fired his longtime agent and went with superpower IMG. Apparently, the Ryder Cup isn't about the money, at least until it's over, at which time it's all about the money.
Lewine Mair's on Nick Faldo's desire to captain the European Ryder Cup Team again:
It was on the day prior to the Hong Kong Open that Faldo said he was missing the buzz and missing his men. "We all got along well," he said. At the time of the match, he had described his team as a 36-strong affair taking in the 12 players, their partners and their caddies.
Some of those "team" members who were on duty in Hong Kong have suggested that he was showing no signs of missing them. He barely acknowledged a couple of the caddies, and did not have too much time for Miguel Angel Jimenez either. Apparently, Jimenez was the recipient of a "Hello!" followed by the briefest of enquiries as to his health. "Nick was in a world of his own," said Jimenez.
Just like Captain Azinger (who is now hinting that he might be interested in this Bob Harig story), Nick Faldo is putting out feelers that will be swatted down in the name of one-off captaincies.
However, intriguing was this line in Lawrence Donegan's story:
Yet if there was much grumbling in some circles, members of his defeated European team have remained steadfastly loyal to him in the months since Valhalla. This may weigh in his favour if he should actively campaign for the job in future, although it might not be enough to secure him the position.
In other words, the press has not been able to wrangle any really good back-stabbing stories out of the losing lugs! Don't worry, there's time...
PGA.com's Kathy Orton talks to the Ryder Cup players who visited the White House Monday.
Boo, on the outgoing President who attended Yale and Harvard Business School.
"He's common folk just like we are," added Boo Weekley. "He's just like his daddy, I think. I met his daddy before, a couple times. Like his daddy told me at the Ryder Cup, he said, 'Son, you act just like my son.' I said, 'Yes, sir, I probably do. I don't know that for a fact, but I probably do.'"
There you go. 41 says 43 acts like Boo Weekley.
This is lovely...
Hunter Mahan was worried that he upset the President because he told him he was from California, even though he now lives in Texas.
"He asked if I was from Texas, and I'm not originally, but I do live there," Mahan said. "I consider myself a Texan more than a Californian, which is where I'm from. I hope I didn't offend him."
I can see where he might be offended. I've never understood why the President should have to deal with a state that does not give him the electoral votes he desires. So offensive.
Maybe Hunter should just not play in California?
Only seven Republicans players make it to the White House for an Oval Office visit? Wow...
"I was really proud of what the players were able to accomplish on a stage of this size, one of the biggest stages in the world when you consider there were some 600 million viewers."
Azinger was accompanied by his assistant captain Raymond Floyd and players Chad Campbell, Stewart Cink, Ben Curtis, Jim Furyk, J.B. Holmes, Hunter Mahan and Boo Weekley.
Gary Van Sickle profiles Paul Azinger and learns that the victorious Ryder Cup Captain has not been inundated with offers.
Azinger is riding the wave, a crest that he says is more powerful than anything he felt after winning the 1993 PGA Championship, his lone major title. He has Ryder Cup in his blood and it's running hot, so don't blame him if he can't — or won't — let go of his Valhalla moments.
A U.S. Open victory is said to be worth millions in off-course opportunities. Not so the Ryder Cup. Azinger says he hasn't received a single offer post-Valhalla — even his equipment deal is set to expire at year's end. Bad economy or not, the silence has been as deafening as it is surprising.
Sorry, but Azinger continued his pre-Ryder Cup media blackout well after the Cup, turning down a Tonight Show appearance and probably many other publicity opportunities. In a world with a depressingly short attention span, you have to capitalize on the moment. Azinger passed.
Apparently his boys were so stupid focused on the job at hand that they needed to be told to hit the fairway?
Brian Hewitt reports:
“There’s only one thing I would have done differently at Valhalla,” Azinger said. “And that would have been making sure I was on the tee box on the 18th hole in the Friday afternoon fourballs match when Boo Weekley and J.B. Holmes both hit their balls in the water. If I had been, I would have made sure they knew where their tee balls needed to be.”
Holmes and Weekley had a 1-up lead at the time over Lee Westwood and Soren Hansen and wound up halving their match as a result of the wayward drives.
“I was really kicking myself Friday night,” Azinger told FM104.3 The Fan, a Denver-based sports talk radio show hosted by Jerry Walters and Jon Lawrence. “I was by the 17th green and I couldn’t get my cart to the 18th tee because of a TV tower. I should have gotten off the cart and just walked through the tower. Fortunately for me, that was my only regret for the week.”
A little levity is called for as the markets plummet again...
John Huggan lets Darren Clarke do the talking, covering a range of topics from Captain Faldo to his personal life. I enjoyed this perspective on the Ryder Cup.
"It was tough sitting there not being able to do anything," he sighs. "But one thing really struck me; I was amazed by the quality of the play. It was extraordinary. When you are involved in the Ryder Cup as I have been you concentrate so much on your own play that a lot of what goes on passes you by. But this time I was able to take it all in. I really couldn't believe how well some of the guys played. Under so much pressure, the shots they were hitting were incredible. As a player myself I never realised how good it is to watch."
Yes, Chubby Chandler is Darren Clarke's agent and probably not too thrilled his client was left off the Ryder Cup team. But this shredding of Captain Nick Faldo appears on LeeWestwood.com... Lets the inevitable drama begin!
I have been asked innumerable times for my thoughts on Nick Faldo’s captaincy and they have not changed after the event from what they were before. To me, he was mediocre and failed to understand the duties of a captain. He didn’t put the work in before, didn’t do anything to bring the team together and didn’t consult his senior players. He also showed a complete lack of man-management skills.
With Lee Westwood two up after nine holes of Friday afternoon’s fourballs, who on earth thought it would be a good idea to tell him that he was going to be left out of the following morning foursomes. Unbelievable.
I’m sure Lee was completely deflated particularly since he was told during his 27th consecutive match. I’m sure it also affected his concentration while hitting his confidence levels for the next two days. A captain really has to understand what makes players tick, but unfortunately Nick Faldo did not see this as a pre-requisite for the job. He didn’t do anything in the build up to discover how his best players perform and under what circumstances they perform best. Unfortunately the Ryder Cup turned out to be all about Nick Faldo.
Paul McGinley chimes in on Faldo, as does Mark Reason, author of the piece:
McGinley has no beef with Faldo, but he believes that Europe has to return to the formula that was so successful for the three winning captains under whom he played. McGinley says: "That 10-year window in history was our most successful period ever and the template for that success was pushed aside. By Nick doing it his own way, a lot of players probably didn't realise what was going on. There's an art to doing the solid, consistent, obvious things.
"Azinger was very clever. He looked at our template and he played it. He played similar pairings throughout. Stewart Cink and Chad Campbell were awful on the first day and he still paired them on the second day. He trusted them. "Azinger said 'I have confidence in you', and when people have confidence like that, they tend to perform. You have to ask the question why our top players didn't perform.''
And here's Reason's take:
Never mind all the tactical bloopers, just take the criticism over the dearth of assistant captains. You may think that is a trivial point. But at least two players to my knowledge remarked on the absence of European assistants during the singles.
When Oliver Wilson was taking on a rampant Boo Weekley, there was mean Ray Floyd, with his tight mouth and shaded eyes, looking on from the red buggy beside the seventh green. On the blue buggy was DJ Spoony.
Thanks to reader Chris for catching Bill Simmons paying tribute to Bill Maher and issues a beautiful "New Rule" related to last week's Ryder Cup:
"New Rule: U.S. Ryder Cup competitors can give each other only fist bumps. Like so many others, I looked forward to the recent Ryder Cup. Anytime America has the chance to beat Europe in something, I'm in … even if it's a leather-jacket-wearing Rob Lowe's outrowing of snotty English dudes in Oxford Blues. But after two days of watching awkward high-fives, dorky fist pumps and, worst of all, the dreaded two-handed high-five—"perfected" by Jim Furyk and Kenny Perry, who obviously spent months studying tapes of Judge Smails and Dr. Beeper—every big putt had me sweating simply because I was petrified of the ensuing celebration. "No, no, don't go for the two-handed high-five … Nooooo!"
So let's switch to fist bumps. If anyone wants to pull off a three-step handshake/ hug thing after the 18th hole, fine. But only after we name Will.i.am and 50 Cent as assistant captains to teach them. No more Smails/Beeper moments. Please."