Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The European Tour is upping their mandatory tournament policy to 12 tournaments in 2009 instead of the 11 in previous years. Most of this is because of the new Race to Dubai starting next season, the European Tour's answer to the FedEx Cup. [PGA Tour]

Vijay Singh Out Two Months With Tendinitis in His Forearm

Vijay Singh will miss the next two months of golf with tendinitis in his left forearm. The 45-year-old recent winner of the FedEx Cup and three time winner on tour this year will be missing two big events in Asia that he usually plays, so that kinda sucks.

"I am very disappointed to miss the Iskandar Johor Open and the HSBC event as I was looking forward to returning to Asia," the 45-year-old Singh said in a news release issued by the Asian Tour on Tuesday.

I guess it would be a big deal to miss these, but the dude just made $10 million from winning the FedEx. Not like money is ever an option to guys like Vijay anymore, but I think it's a perfect time to just hang out and rest a little. If he wants, I'll take his invitations to those Asian tournaments. I heard Malaysia is beautiful this time of year.

Gear You Need to Buy -- Transitions Lenses

Recently the PGA Tour and Transitions Lenses partnered up for a four year deal to make Transitions the official eyewear of the PGA Tour.

Unlike your regular glasses that probably aren't meant for golf, the Transitions are solid because they actually adapt to the lighting outside, kinda like if we were playing golf in a space movie.

Transitions lenses are clear indoors and at night, while outdoors, they automatically darken as light conditions change. This provides visual comfort and enhances visual quality by reducing glare and enhancing contrast. Whether a game of golf stretches from morning to afternoon, afternoon to evening, or takes place in bright sunshine or overcast conditions, Transitions lenses always block 100 percent of harmful UV rays while providing the right amount of tint. This provides an advantage over regular clear lenses and sunglasses which do not adjust to changing light conditions.

I recently obtained a pair of the Transitions with Oakley frames and wore them out to hit some balls and play a few holes with them. I've never been a huge sunglasses fan on the golf course, but these were actually pretty solid. It didn't really feel like you had sunglasses on but it kept you from squinting and actually helped with a few of the annoying shadows and glares that come in a round of golf.

If you play a lot of golf and ever feel like your eyes struggle as much as your short game, pick up a pair. They're pretty good looking and obviously ahead of the curve technology-wise. Also, cart girls loves dudes in shades.

Tiger Sure Can Host a Party

With Tiger Woods sidelined until 2009 with this knee injury, he has been demoted as host for a lot of events he'd normally be playing in. That includes a silly season tournament, the Chevron World Challenge, that goes on December 18-21.

The 16-player event is pretty stacked.

Vijay Singh, Padraig Harrington, Anthony Kim, Camilo Villegas, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, K.J. Choi, Kenny Perry, Justin Leonard, Mike Weir, Luke Donald, Stephen Ames, Hunter Mahan, Boo Weekley, Paul Casey and Fred Couples fill the event roster and that is a pretty salty group of golfers.

I guarantee you I will break my "anti silly season" stance on golf to watch this event. Can you think of a golfer not on this list that could spice up the event besides Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott?

Nice job Tiger, you've got juice.

Paul Azinger Continues His Reign On America, Will Throw Out First Pitch at Rays Game

I guess when you win the first Ryder Cup in nine years for the United States and live remotely close to Tampa Bay, damnit, you're a Rays fan, and an Ammmerican!!!!

Paul Azinger, king of all that is Nick Faldo, was picked to toss out one of the pitches in the Rays first ever playoff games, mostly because nobody notable is a Rays fan (no, Dick Vitale doesn't count).

That won't stop Azinger from telling everyone that he's some huuuuge Rays fan that loves them and wants to marry them. Liar.

“This is very special for me,” Azinger said. “I’ve been a Rays fan since the inception of the franchise and attend games at Tropicana Field as often as I can. This year’s Rays club shows what a team with talent, character and faith can do.”

I'm not buying it. Look at this picture. That is what Tropicana Stadium looked like before the Rays decided to be good this season. Nobody went to those games, especially not Azinger. You can't fool me sir. Just go back to being a great Ryder Cup captain and not a baseball fan. Those sports can confuse a fellow.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Oh, She Didn't Steal Daly's Cell Phone. Gotcha.

Not sure if you heard, but John Daly accused his stable ex-wife of stealing his cell phone. Sherrie Daly, yes the same one that supposedly stabbed him in the face with a steak knife, had a warrant out for her arrest because I guess robbing your ex is against the law. Well, good news for all your Sherrie Daly fans, it appears she didn't do it.

Attorney Randy Fishman said Monday that ``this is a divorce case and people accuse each other of stuff all the time.''

Oh, ok Randy, we believe you. If there is one thing I've learned in my brief 24 years it's the list of people to trust is as follows.

1. Lawyers
2. Golfers
3. People that marry John Daly

Print that list off and put it in your wallet. It will be like the 10 Commandments of this millennium.

First Stage of PGA Tour Q-School Results

The first stage of Q-School is complete and some of my buddies got through to the second stage. A lot of people think the third stage is the most important, but it really is getting through the second stage. By getting through there you're assuring yourself at least partial exemption into the Nationwide the following season, which is better than a kick in the jeans.

Congrats to a few people I've played with or have known over the years, including Matt Rosen, Jeremy Frye and Trent Leon.

I hate to turn right around to the negative, but it's worth noting that just to get through pre-Qualifying you have to pay $5,000. That obviously isn't a small chunk of change, so it's crazy when you see a guy like Greg Newberry play in the first stage and post 110-95-99-101 for a whopping 117-over par. Honestly, I'm more proud of this guy for finishing than anything. After that nasty opening round I bet it was hard to even get out of bed.

Golf Digest Ranks Top 100 Musician-Golfers, Haven't Heard Of A Lot of the Musicians

Periodically, Golf Digest will come up with the occasional "Who the best _____ golfer is?" list and it usually deals with actors or other professional athletes or nannies. This month they've come up with the top-100 Musicians, and I have to be honest, some of the names don't get your foot-a-tappin'.

Here are the notables and their handicaps.

2. Kenny G - 0.0
4. Vince Gill - 0.8
11. Alice Cooper - 5.3
(I've seen this dude swing -- no way I'm buying 5.3)
t-15. Josh Kelley and Justin Timberlake - 6
t-25. Michael Bolton - 9
(Will never hear that name without thinking "no talent assclown")
t-43. Pat Green and George Strait - 11
t-86. Meat Loaf and Steve Miller - 21
(Do you think when Meat Loaf is at a course and they announce his group on the first tee, they say, "Mr. Loaf"?)
t-96. Kid Rock - 36 (This video will do.)

Ok, a few names that look familiar. Now, what about some of these other people that I have honestly never heard of.

1. Rudy Gatlin - +1.3 (This is his website. Do you think they pay per square inch?)
3. Marty Roe - 0.2 (He's on Diamond Rio. They sing a song called "Beautiful Mess." Thought that was pretty ironic.)
7. Steve Gatlin - 3.4 (Yeah, another member of the "Gatlin Brothers.")
t-31. Bransford Marsalis - 9.4 (It doesn't even say what band he's in, just that he's a saxophonist. I sing in my car, can I be on the list?
t-57. Dean Felber - 12.1 (I'm sorry, until Hootie and the Blowfish comes out with another decent hit (and decent is being stretched mighty thin right there), they cannot occupy three spots on this list.)
100. Shakira - 40 (Yes, I know who she is, but what the Digest said about her is too good to pass up. "if "Hips Don't Lie" video is any indication, flexibility won't be a problem.")

Alright, that is all. Carry on with your exciting Monday morning.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

One Tournament, Two Trophies, Ladies and Gents, the FedEx Cup!

The FedEx Cup concluded today and shockingly (!) Vijay Singh took home the crown while Camilo Villegas actually won the tournament that was going on.

Of the four playoff tournaments, Singh won two and Villegas won two but because Singh had more points heading into the playoffs he won the whole thing. Or something like that. Lets be honest, nobody really gets the point of the FedEx Cup and it hasn't really caught on like the PGA had hoped. I'm sure the players love the $10 million prize but the point of the playoffs is to get people excited for the end of the season and it hasn't exactly done such a thing.

Nonetheless, Villegas fired a sharp four-under 66 to get in a playoff with Sergio Garcia, defeating Serg with a par on the first playoff hole for his second win in a row.

Good job Camilo, nice job Vijay, boring job FedEx Cup. We're ready for a change!

Scott Halleran, Getty Images

That Had to Hurt

This was a long time ago, but do you remember the Tiger Woods commercial when he is training the regular guy to be a professional golfer? Tiger hits a drive through a tiny fairway of people and then the regular dude hits one with cardboard cutouts and "kills" about eight fake people with his bad shot?

Well, Anthony Kim was the regular guy yesterday, nailing David Whitfield in the head with an errant tee shot, sending the 48-year-old to the hospital with a "crater-like abrasion" on his grill. Kim struggled after he smoked the guy on 9, struggling to a two-over 37 on the back while Sergio Garcia shot a 34 and is now leading Kim and Phil Mickelson by three.

"I thought I killed him," Kim said. "It was an awful feeling to look down and see a golf ball-sized impression in his forehead and it's cut open. It was probably the nastiest thing I've ever seen."

While Sergio still has some work to do today, this could be the first instance in golf history where someone let another person's head affect their own game.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Even Famous Bands Shouldn't Pee On the Old Course

If you haven't heard of the band Kings of Leon, who rock it out with "Sex on Fire" and "Use Somebody," you probably listen to shitty music. That said, one thing you should know about Kings of Leon is that when visiting the Old Course in St. Andrews, the most famous golf course in the world, the band enjoys taking a piss on the links.

The band arrived in St. Andrews and though it doesn't say it, was most likely staying at the Old Course Hotel on the 17th hole. The band admitted that after the hotel gave them beer and hooked up the Oklahoma Sooners football game, their favorite team, the bathroom was too far for them to walk. So, they did what any normal person would do -- they went outside and pissed on the Road Hole, the most famous hole in the entire world.

But the bathrooms were three floors away and the game was really exciting so we went outside and peed on the world famous St Andrews golf course.

“It was on the 17th fairway. Though we stayed in the rough at all times, we’re very sorry.”

Well, that sure was nice of them to stay in the rough, since the fairway on the Road Hole is about 5 feet wide in just about all parts. Most likely they were hanging out around the Jigger Inn, and I'm sure they weren't the first people to stumble out of the famous little pub and let loose on the grass.

I worked in St. Andrews and unlike Augusta National or Pine Valley over here, the Old Course is basically a glorified park. Hell, they even close the whole thing on Sundays to let the course rest and people can go out and have cookouts around the grounds.

No worries Kings Of Leon, I will still download your stuff, especially if you can get some sort of "pee" reference on your next track.

Love to Golf Girl's Diary

Hilarious photoshop job courtesy of The Sun

Hey, Who Is This Fella?

Tiger Woods was on CNN talking about his new golf course in Dubai, which will stretch to 7,800 yards from the Tiger Tees. I have one simple question about this video -- does Tiger sleep in a Nike golf polo and matching Nike hat or is that just immediately pasted on when he wakes up in the morning? Hey, just asking.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Anthony Kim Is Loving The Fire

It might not be a tournament on the top of your radar, but it is the Tour Championship with the top-30 golfers on the FedEx Cup list and Anthony Kim is basically kicking some serious ass.

A six-under 64 at East Lake Golf Club has the 23-year-old four shots ahead of second place Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Trevor Immelman.

A win here would be his third of the season and really cement him as a top-5 golfer in the world. He only did it with eight birdies today. Fairly salty I guess.

Scott Halleran, Getty Images

Should The High Five Really Go?

Bill Simmons is still one of my favorite journalists and I'm not scared to admit that. People tend to give him a ton of shit for his pro-Boston writing, but that is what you get with him and you should accept it or just not read it. Easy as that.

His latest magazine column, which are always a little handcuffed because of size, has a little snippet about the golf high five.

New Rule: U.S. Ryder Cup competitors can give each other only fist bumps...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.

See, my only complaint with this, from a 24-year-old kid, is the fist bump is just as bad as the high five. The fist bump was made cool by a younger Tiger Woods (and even Mickelson) but as a good friend of mine said, it's just a way for older guys to think they're younger. No young guy fist bumps.

So, to go with Simmons idea that high fives need to go, I'm throwing out a few options.

-The "run-and-jump-and-hit-your-back-with-your-caddy" move. Honestly, who wouldn't want to see Mickelson running and jumping to hit Bones in the back? I love this so much I just laughed to myself at my desk.

-The back-hand high five. You basically just hit the back of your hands to each other. Hey, it's better than a high five and I feel that you have to concentrate more to make solid contact.

-The "shoot your caddy with the butt end of your putter" move. You drain your putt, you look over at your caddy and shoot them with the butt end of your putter, and they fall over dead. I think this works the best if the caddy really gets into it and runs around like a duck. You take aim, fire and they fall down. Who wouldn't enjoy this?


The New Titleist Drivers Look Pretty Sweet

I'm a sucker for Titleist stuff. I have never really played anything else. They just came out with the new drivers and I'm a big fan.

Colin Montgomerie said he thinks the European Ryder Cup squad should go with four captain's picks instead of two a la Paul Azinger. I think if that would have happened, Monty would have made the squad. That or Nick Faldo really just hates him and would never pick him for anything. Oh yeah, I'm going with the second one. [FanHouse]

Did The Americans Play Unfair This Week at the Ryder Cup?

It might be Thursday of the Tour Championship, our final "tournament" of the season, but minds are still closely locked to the Ryder Cup. Three days of impressive golf from all the American players and a surprising win for Team USA got people on this side of the pond pretty fired up.

On the course, and in the stands at Valhalla, players were also fired up, and Peter Kostis wrote a column yesterday questioning the antics of the Americans.

"(Boo Weekley's) play was tremendous, but his behavior on Friday during the four-ball matches was over the top.

I don't think that Boo intended to be disrespectful to either (Lee) Westwood or Soren Hansen because the guy doesn't have a malicious bone in his body. He just failed to realize that pointing at the stands and firing up the crowd on the 12th hole before Westwood hit his potentially hole-tying putt was inappropriate."

You know, I discussed this with a couple of golf friends during the matches and we all agreed, Boo's excitement in between shots was a little annoying. The thing is, you can't blame Weekley for this stuff. You think he knows the proper way to act during the Ryder Cup? Hell, the guy doesn't even know what month the Masters is in! The only person you can really blame, if blame is even the right word, is Paul Azinger, who should have (and probably did since Boo settled down over the weekend) pulled him aside and told him to wait until the hole if finished to be raising the roof and firing up the crowd.

Kostis goes on to bring up Azinger's pre-tournament pep rally when he told spectators that it's okay to cheer if the Europeans miss a putt and the fact that the American captain failed to shake the hand of Paul Casey after a match ended.

"After Paul Casey, whom I coach, halved his match with Hunter Mahan on Sunday, the European captain Nick Faldo went out of his way to shake hands with both players, but Azinger neglected to shake Casey's. Azinger also made it clear that fans could, and should, cheer the European team's poor shots. That crosses the line of good sportsmanship."

Now that I think is a little overboard in the argument. I watched Azinger all week on television and it never seemed to me that he was ignoring or even forgetting to applaud the Europeans. He's the captain of a Ryder Cup team, I'm sure remembering to shake a hand or two occurs when you have 10,000 balls in the air.

Also, Casey is a student of Kostis. This sounds to me like Casey probably complained about this to his instructor leading Kostis to write this column.

I agree, a lot of the antics in Ryder Cup play is brought up because there is so much passion between teams and matches. Every year there is going to be a thing or two that seems to be negative when it really isn't.

I really don't think you can blame anyone on the American team for how they acted. If others feel different, toss it in comments.

Andy Lyons, Getty Images

Lee Westwood Apologizes For Being a Sore Loser

As you probably heard, Europe lost to the Americans this past weekend in the Ryder Cup, the first that has happened since the famous comeback in 1999. As much as Americans get ribbed by all other countries for being sore losers and bad sports, the losses the past few years have been accepted with bowed heads but applause to the victors.

When the European team lost at Valhalla, they left with more complaints than the victim of a botched boob job. Lee Westwood complained about the crowds, Boo Weekley, prank calls and people making fun of his mom. Ian Poulter said that 23-year-old (and 5'10") Anthony Kim intentionally bumped into him during a match. The British media might also be a little upset at their "captain."

Westwood has now retracted all his bellyaching because, you know, it made him look even more like a wuss than normal.

"A lot of what I said in Valhalla during and after the Ryder Cup didn't come out quite as I intended and finished up sounding like sour grapes," Westwood said in the statement released by his management company.

"So let me say right now that I applaud America's victory, Paul Azinger's captaincy in general and the vast majority of the watching public who witnessed a titanic struggle between two very good sides.

"I regret that I singled out a small minority of the crowd who had a go at me and my family during competition days because far and away the greater majority were impeccably behaved and got right behind their team as did the excellent European supporters."

He added that he had not wanted to sound like a bad loser.

"My comments about the hecklers and Paul's geeing up the crowd before the event were in no way intended to be an excuse or the words of an ungracious loser because the American team performed brilliantly and fully deserved to win," he said.

"I may not have been too thrilled with one or two things that happened in Valhalla, but I am taking absolutely nothing away from America's win. When you're beaten by a better side, you just have to admit it.

"Well done USA. See you in Celtic Manor (for the next Ryder Cup in 2010)."

Wow, released by his management company, huh? That sure sounds like somebody might have landed in a bit of trouble for all his loose lipped comments. Did you get grounded as well, Lee? Have your parents been able to sleep since that horrible, horrible prank caller rang to wish you good luck? I'm surprised you didn't just rip up your passport and vow never to return to the 50 States. I think those trauma units deal with mental troubles too buddy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Well, It Is Still The Tour Championship This Week

As golf gets ready to snuggle in that cave for hibernation, we do have to keep in mind that one of the elite golf tournaments is hosting the PGA Tour's finest, even if it doesn't mean a whole helluva lot.

The Tour Championship kicks off Thursday at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta with 30 of the finest golfers around participating. The tournament will be short, sweet and split $7 million between all the participants.

I know the hangover of the Ryder Cup is looming, but here are a couple of groups you should watch on Thursday.

1:00 PM EST, Hunter Mahan and Stewart Cink -- Any chance these two come out rocking the American red shirts from Sunday? I'd pay a little extra if they'd just play alternate shot for old times sake.

1:50, Anthony Kim and Mike Weir -- The saddest part is Sergio Garcia goes off one time after Kim. How great would that have been? Think every time Garcia hit it close in that round Kim just reminded him, "Nice shot Serg, 5 and 4?"

Camilo Villegas and Vijay Singh -- We are starting the Volkswagen watch in this match. If a car can take Vijay out, Camilo still have a good chance of winning the FedEx Cup. Also, that is the only way he can win the FedEx Cup.

Reviewing a Golf Course - We-Ko-Pa, Cholla Course, Scottsdale, AZ

I play a lot of golf. I also have a golf blog (welcome!), so I figured it would be beneficial to both you and I to begin reviewing golf courses. We'll talk about the course, the conditions, the price, the beverage cart and if it's worth the visit. If you've played, leave some comments. Here we are, golf course reviewing.

This weekend, during all the Ryder Cup mayhem, I found some time to play a little golf with three of my good buddies. One of my buddies girlfriends decided that for his birthday she'd be the coolest girlfriend around and buy him and some friends a tee time at one of the nicer desert golf course in Arizona, We-Ko-Pa. So, we headed out to the Cholla course and tried to conquer the 7,225 yard animal.

I will admit, I have played both course at We-Ko-Pa a few times. One of my good friends worked there during high school so in college we'd randomly head up and try to get on later in the afternoon. For a course that is considered one of the top-100 you can play in the country, this was always a bonus.

When we pulled up, we dropped our bags off and heading into the clubhouse. The pro shop attendant was helpful and informative, and as we headed out to the range, we were met with a challenge. No range balls. A few guests were standing around waiting, so it wasn't like they just run out. Okay, no big deal, we headed to the other range to hit a few tomatoes before heading out. The range and putting green are top notch and the balls are included in the rate.

The starter eventually grabbed us and escorted us to the first tee. While I always play the back tees, my three buddies weren't so excited about it. After some convincing, they decided to play it back, much to the starter's chagrin. Also, during his starter speech, he told us the pin position was "6" when it was really "5" (we hit to 6 the first three holes and on the par-3 third, were very disappointed when we approached the green and realized our "good" shots were 30 feet from the back-left pin position). Also, the beverage cart, while somewhat reliable (we saw her four times over the course of 18 holes) wasn't exactly the happiest lady ever. Her attitude didn't deter our excitement when realizing beers were only $3 each. At a golf course of this caliber, that was like stealing. The service wasn't all bad. The Cholla course has an outside grill at the turn and the lady was very friendly and put up with us. Also, the hot dogs she threw together hit the spot like no other.

It is hard to judge the condition of the golf course because it is a strange time for courses in Arizona. The Cholla course will be over-seeded in early October and you can see the seed is ready to change. Nonetheless, it was still in great shape considering and the greens were flawless like usual. If you can look past a few throwaway holes at the Cholla (like the par-5 2nd and the par-4 15th), nothing is to complain of setup. The first hole can render a birdie or a bogey with just a few yards off your tee shot. The par-5 8th hole, measuring a beastly 605-yards from the tips, makes you needle a drive in between a bunker and some desert just to catch the ridge and maximize your distance. The lay-up might be easy but the third shot takes a very precise short-iron just to find the green. It is a three-shot par-5 that is tough but fair. The back nine throws a solid par-3 (11), a double dogleg par-5 at you (17) and finishes with a risk/reward tee shot on the 432-yard 18th.

After finishing our round one of my head-covers had decided it was sick of me and left unexpectedly. I described the headcover to one of the closers and they found it and put it on my clubs before we left. My pig headcover thanks you.

One of the better things about a round of golf with some of your buddies you don't always get to hang out with is the post-round beer. While the restaurant at We-Ko-Pa is nice, it is far from the "buddies at the bar" feel you'd want. The only television in the entire place is a big screen pointed at the diners, so rolling up to the bar isn't even on option on a football Sunday. The outside patio is nice, but also lacks a television to update yourself on the scores. I guess four 20-somethings can manage to drink even without a TV around. Shocking, I know.

The entire experience was an A. With the group of guys I was with, it would be hard to have a bad time. No matter the few slip-ups by the service (I did it before and I know I slipped up a few times), the course was fabulous and looks to be ready for peak season in the upcoming month.

If you are planning a golf trip to Scottsdale, the Cholla course at We-Ko-Pa better be on your short list. Also, if you'd like to know what a water slap is, email my buddy at aomertwin@gmail.com.

Final Scores
Andrew (14 handicap) -- 95
Joe (14 handicap) -- 93
Darren (20 handicap) -- 100
Me -- 77
ESPN's Jason Sobel grades the Ryder Cup players. Do you think anyone would have guessed Oliver Wilson would have landed two grade scores higher than Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington? That was a weird week for the Europeans. [ESPN]

Monday, September 22, 2008

The British Tabloids Are On Nick Faldo's Ass

This is just the start. More to come. Do you think Faldo is to blame?

Paul Azinger Now More Popular than Barack Obama?

Well, that title might be a little deceiving. He probably isn't as popular as Barack, but he is getting the nod from his players about coaching the team again in 2010.

"Zinger in 2010," Phil Mickelson.

"Zinger in 2010," Justin Leonard added.

I think it makes logical sense. Azinger did it all right, and never was a jerk about any of it. He made little pod groups to play together and develop a solid relationship. He changed the format to better suit his players. He added more captain's picks so he wouldn't get stuck with someone like Davis Love III because he played well four years ago. I'm in for Paul Azinger, even though people think Fred Couples will get the captaincy for the next matches.

If that is the case, we can only hope he takes a crash course in Paul Azinger-ing the Ryder Cup.

Andy Lyons, Getty Images

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Some Quotes From After the Cup

Paul Azinger, Phil Mickelson and a fairly mature Nick Faldo. Also, for dessert, Sergio Garcia!

Celebrate Gentlemen.

They did it. They won. They beat up the unbeatable. It was pretty damn impressive.

I think the only way to describe this performance is summed up in one work, rookies. The young guns played like veterans and the country kids played like the really didn't have anything to lose. Like Boo Weekley said before the week, it isn't life or death. It was golf, and the Americans played better than their opponent.

This might be the proudest moment I've ever had as an athletic spectator. This team was given no chance and they acted like they've never logged into a chat room. They didn't care what you or I thought, they just wanted to win.

Congrats guys, you sure as hell earned it.

Andrew Redington, Getty Images

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Americans 9, Europeans 7.

Tim O'Brien wrote one of my favorite books of all time, a copulation of short stories about the Vietnam war called "The Things They Carried." I know that comparing war to sports is ignorant and short-sighted, but the idea is related. This Ryder Cup was full of things the American team carried. Phil Mickelson carried heartache. The rookies carried recent history. Paul Azinger carried a huge burden. They were strapped with an image of losers for the first time ever.

Today the Americans kept to the course if you will, winning and splitting points without their best stuff. Yesterday they were on fire. Today they just survived.

Phil Mickelson continued the form we used to believe he would bring to the Ryder Cup, making just about every putt except the one they needed on 17. It is amazing that even Mickelson can under think a putt like that one. Hunter Mahan hasn't looked like a rookie since the tires touched down in Kentucky and I have to say if you had a Ryder Cup suicide league for tomorrow, where you have to pick an American to win, Mahan might be the best choice.

We had Boo Weekley and J.B. Holmes being Boo Weekley and J.B. Holmes. They won, and they looked like they were having a helluva time doing so.

It's also worth noting the play of guys like Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell. Rather unknowns except for some goofy clothes here or there, these two were the stallions for a European team looking for an identity. Poulter might look like a moron here or there, especially after the reaction to making a foot and a half putt to win the match on 18, but he played like a season vet and never seemed to falter under the pressure.

Tomorrow is singles. It is a portion of this tournament that the Americans have dominated. I guess after today you can't rule out the gritty Europeans who won't go away and seem to make the putt they need, but the Americans seem set on a goal.

If they can keep their cool, the trophy might stay here for the first time this millennium.

Ross Kinnaird, Getty Images

Yikes. Kim and Mickelson Lose To, Wait For It, Oliver Wilson.

Anthony Kim and Phil Mickelson got a taste of their own medicine this morning, losing 2 and 1 to Oliver Wilson (I know, I know) and Henrik Stensen when they were four up after six holes.

That is what some would consider a devastating loss for Paul Azinger's crew.

Also, Hunter Mahan and Justin Leonard have to get it up and down from a tricky lie to grab their third full point of these matches. Obviously they aren't paired together this afternoon. Brilliant!

David Cannon, Getty Images
Not sure if you saw this, but Lee Westwood was pretty upset about the antics of Boo Weekley. "At least wait until you're walking off the green. It was interrupting the flow of play. It was quite boisterous. What more can you say? We're playing in America." Lee, this is my ass, my ass, this is Lee. [FanHouse]

Justin Leonard is a Badass.

Seriously, could this guy be more clutch? Dead center, 15-feet, birdie, 17th hole, one-up with one to go.

You guys want a piece of this guy? Nope, didn't think so.

Sam Greenwood, Getty Images

The New Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald? Ian Poulter and Justin Rose.

It is scary to think that the European squad might have found Team Visors, a squad of fellow Englishmen that don't seem to lose when playing together.

At first glance it appeared that Nick Faldo's pick of Ian Poulter was a bad one, but after losing their morning match, Faldo stuck with the two and they have produced, winning another match this morning, 4 and 3 over Stewart Cink and Chad Campbell.

The score is now 5.5 to 3.5 and both the rock solid American teams aren't producing.

Justin Leonard and Hunter Mahan have had to make some strong par putts just to stay afloat and Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim were four up (!) at one point but now find themselves one down. Saturday appears to be the mirror image of Friday, when Mickelson and Kim were three down in both matches before coming back.

More to come, but the Europeans might have played themselves back in this thing.

David Cannon, Getty Images

Ryder Cup Coverage

We'll try to keep it relatively updated today. Check in as much as possible. Also, we'd like to thank Jason Sobel for the interview and Getty Images for the awesome pictures.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Couple Of Questions With ESPN's Jason Sobel

We sent the always great Jason Sobel of ESPN a couple of questions and he was kind enough to answer them. You know, because I'm not in Valhalla. Stupid expensive tickets.

What was the atmosphere like after the morning rounds at Valhalla? Did the crowds almost seem shocked?

Sobel: The mood at the course went from hopeful to somber (remember, the Americans didn't lead a single match until 79 minutes into the morning session) to a light buzz to downright electric. Valhalla was rocking by the time the four-ball matches started and I expect it to be even more boisterous come Saturday and Sunday.

Did you see a change in Phil Mickelson while he was paired with Anthony Kim?

Sobel: Phil Mickelson certainly looked like he was having fun out there, but that's because he was playing well. It's sort of a chicken-or-the-egg conundrum that I've discussed with many players on recent teams. Do the U.S. guys never look like they're having fun because they're not playing well or do they not play well because they're not out there having fun? It's not an easy question to answer, but it was all too apparent that on Friday, Mickelson was both playing well AND having fun.

None of the Europeans looked comfortable all day long on the course. Do you think that has anything to do with them being the favorites?

Sobel: Not at all. Don't forget -- the Europeans were favored two years ago at The K Club and it didn't seem to adversely affect them very much at that one. For as much as we analyze and overanalyze these things, the Europeans are trailing not because of nerves or overconfidence or lack of team unity; they're down because they didn't make as many putts as the Americans. Simple as that.

What pairings do you see going back out tomorrow for the Americans?

Sobel: U.S. captain Paul Azinger is sending the exact same foursomes pairings back out on Saturday morning. I think the teams of Mickelson/Kim and Leonard/Mahan are each a lock to wind up playing four total matches together. If I were the captain, I may have sat Campbell in favor of Stricker and Perry in favor of Weekley, but I think he's got it just about right.

Can they keep this play up?

Sobel: There's no reason to think they can't. (OK, there are three reasons -- each of the last three Ryder Cups. But anyway ...) Putting is contagious and they certainly have the momentum right now. That said, these things can change in a heartbeat. Don't be surprised if this thing is much closer going into Sunday's singles matches.


A good friend of mine called me as the afternoon matches were concluding and asked a simple question -- "Why the huge celebrations so early?"

It's a fair question, this is only day one and it isn't like they went 8-0 or anything. The answer to this lies with history. No American team we can remember has ever done anything like this. Friday is like Kryptonite to the American team. The last three Ryder Cups we've been down a combined 16-8 after day one. Most of the time we dig ourselves so deep Shawn Bradley couldn't see out. It gets ugly.

This year has had a different feel. We weren't the favorite, we were outmatched on paper and they had the best player in golf. Don't all those things sound familiar? It is almost like the Europeans took the role as "Can't lose" and the Americans waltzed in with some sneaky players.

Hunter Mahan and Justin Leonard were absolutely brilliant all day long. Starting out losing the first two holes, you almost got the feeling the Texans match-up wouldn't work. They weren't that good. They couldn't mesh their styles of play. Then the two just blew up, winning the morning round 3 and 2 and the afternoon round 4 and 2. Chip ins, near hole-in-ones, solid putts -- these three had it all.

Then came the flashy grouping of Anthony Kim and Phil Mickelson. Drawing the best player (actually playing) in golf both rounds, the duo had to deal with Padraig Harrington, who seemed to forget how to miss a 20-footer. A half point in the morning was disappointing and they feel behind by three after four holes, but Mickelson's brilliant iron play and Kim's fiery youth prevailed. It was the epitome of teamwork.

Other stars showed their faces. Boo Weekley drained a snake from the fringe. Steve Stricker kept a sinking (and birdieless) Ben Curtis afloat for as long as he could. Kenny Perry tried desperately to sneak a point away from the Europeans. Chad Campbell hit one of the shots of the tournament with his second shot on the 18th.

It was 12 guys working together. They all were involved, they all were rooting the others on and for the first time since my young self can remember, they looked to be having some goddamn fun.

If this continues they won't lose. They can't lose. The Europeans are behind the eight ball for the first time since 1995. Nick Faldo looks lost and confused. Hell, Sergio Garcia didn't win a match today!

Personally, I have only been part of the 1999 comeback. I've never been old enough to watch a team go out and dominate like the old American teams did. The Ryder Cup was losing fans because it wasn't fun for people in the United States to watch. Today, with a whole new crop of stars and some oldies, team golf was fun again.

We can only hope Paul Azinger's crew can continue this on the weekend.

Sam Greenwood, Getty Images

Europeans Land Their First Full Point, Americans Grab Two More

Justin Rose and Ian "Oh I Can't Believe Faldo Picked Him" Poulter won the first full point of the day for the Europeans, a sentence that you aren't used to hearing on day one. It is 6:04 PM Eastern and the Euros just got their first point. I think that is a pretty solid example of how darn good the Americans are playing.

Oh, and Justin Leonard, the MVP of Day One, just chipped in from off the green on 15 to win their second full point of the day. The Texans are killing it, beating the Spaniards 4 and 3. That is and 3 and 2 victory in the morning and now a 4 and 3 win in the afternoon.

I guess Justin Leonard is pretty good at winning matches with tough shots. If those two aren't playing together tomorrow I will personally fly to Kentucky and bop Paul Azinger in the head.

Also, Graeme McDowell had a 12-footer on the 18th for birdie to half but it just slide by, earning the Phil Mickelson-Anthony Kim team their first full point of the day. I think it's fair to say Kim and Mickelson like each other.

Current Score: US 5 Europe 2

Harry How, Getty Images
Padraig missed, Mickelson-Kim are one-up with one hole to go. That ensures Mickelson will not lose a point on Friday for the first time since 2002 and for only the second time in his Ryder Cup career.

Mahan, Kim, Wowing Even Me And I Believed In Them

The young studs came out today as rookies, but more importantly, rookies that had to find their game fast.

Hunter Mahan was paired with a guy that had never won a Ryder Cup match. Anthony Kim was paired with the second best golfer in the world, but who had never really had a bunch of success in this event.


Team Country Bumpkin Just Won't Go Away

Maybe the most interesting team in Ryder Cup history, Boo Weekley and J.B. Holmes, just made a birdie on the par-5 10th hole to move to all-square with Lee Westwood and Soren Hansen.

This is probably the most heated of the matches, as Westwood keeps giving the Americans the evil eye, almost saying "you guys aren't good enough to be playing with me."

In other match news, Steve Stricker, Ben Curtis, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose just got put on the clock and will now be timed on every shot until they get back into position. This can't go over well for Stricker, who is really in his own rhythm.

Also, the MAN on the American team, Justin Leonard just made a HUGE birdie putt on 12 to move to two-up with Hunter Mahan over Sergio Garcia and Miguel-Angel Jimenez. They only have six to play, so maybe they really can upset Sergio at his own game.

Harry How, Getty Images


Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim were three-down after just four holes, but have clawed their way back and a fist-pump birdie by Mickelson on the 13th hole has the match all-square for the first time today.

They had throw everything at Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell but couldn't get over that hump, but after a great birdie by Mickelson there and now a solid shot by Kim on the par-3 14th has them in control for the first time today.

If Kim can make this birdie the Americans will have the momentum with four holes to play.

UPDATE: Kim cashed the birdie on 13, giving the Kim-Mickelson team their first lead of the day. A first pump and a huge high five to Lefty was great stuff.

Andrew Redington, Getty Images

Padraig Harrington Doesn't Make a Lot of Clutch Putts

I would like to find the guy that taught Padraig Harrington how to putt.

I'd kidnap the guy, bring him with me back to where I was living and force him to watch me hit putts, over and over again, until I made 20-footers like they were tap ins.

Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim keep dumping birdies but can't make up any ground because of this Irish freak that can't miss. It really is insane.

Just a minute ago, on the 12th hole, Lefty stuffed an iron shot close enough for a gimmie, but Harrington cashed a 20-footer for birdie to stay one-up on the Americans.

Obviously if Kim and Mickelson continue they will gain some ground, but the smile Anthony just had after that putt said it all -- "Yeah yeah yeah, nice putt asshole."

Kim and Mickelson are six-under through 12 holes (with seven birdies) and are one down. Now that is tough.


So Far, Player of the Ryder Cup?

Hunter Mahan has played fabulously, but it's been easy for him to do so with the play of Justin Leonard. A near hole-in-one at the par-3 third hole, Leonard has the European team of Sergio Garcia and Miguel Angel-Jimenez two down through four holes.

Leonard had never won a Ryder Cup match before the morning 3 and 2 win with Mahan, and they look to be cruising in the afternoon round. His bunker shot a moment ago on the fifth hole was nearly as good as the near ace.


Quote of the Day (So Far)

"You hate to lose to a guy with a pony tail." -- Johnny Miller, on Miguel Angel Jimenez

(Also, he just said "If I was Nick Faldo I would have picked Darren Clarke and Colin Montgomerie." Disregarding hindsight -- a sportscaster's best tool.)

And They're All on the Course

Well, that morning play sure was fun. The Americans won the morning matches for the first time since 1991 with exceptional play by Hunter Mahan, Stewart Cink and Phil Mickelson. It might have been nastier if Anthony Kim hadn't just chunked that bunker shot on 18, but the tough team still got away with a half point.

Now on the course, Mahan continues his confident play, making birdie on the first hole to get that American squad one-up after one in that match. Currently, Padraig Harrington and and Graeme McDowell are absolutely destroying Kim and Mickelson, three up through four on the American superstar duo.

Team visor, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, are one up over Stever Stricker and Ben Curtis and team bumpkin, J.B. Holmes and Boo Weekley are off and running on the first fairway.

I'll keep you updated through the rest of the day and hopefully the Americans can expand on a dominating 3-1 score this morning.

Andrew Redington, Getty Images

Afternoon Pairings

12:45 PM EST -- Phil Mickelson, Anthony Kim vs. Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell
The Americans are too talented to settle for another half point. Look for Kim to play more free after the early Cup jitters are out of his system.

1:00 -- Steve Stricker and Ben Curtis vs. Ian Poulter and Justin Rose
You couldn't have a better match-up for the American rookies. Poulter has looked shaky in the morning round, which bodes well for the U.S. (Plus, at least three visors in this group)

1:15 -- Justin Leonard and Hunter Mahan vs. Sergio Garcia and Miguel Angel Jimenez -- The Spaniard team will be pretty darn tough. The Americans need to build on their morning success but remember it's a completely different match against totally different players.

1:30 -- J.B. Holmes and Boo Weekley vs. Lee Westwood and Soren Hansen --
How redneck can this get? Holmes and his black glove with Boo and his dip spit. I think these two might just keep themselves comfortable to take down the great Westwood.

This looks like good pairings for the American team, who is already up 1.5 to .5.

First Point to the Americans

This is very important for everyone to understand -- Justin Leonard and Hunter Mahan were two down after the first two holes. They were two down with 16 holes to go against two other professional golfers.

They ended up winning 3 and 2 against Henrik Stensen and Paul Casey, doing so with four birdies and an eagle. It was absolutely great and exactly what the Americans needed to get it going.

Also, no Euro flag on the board right now.

Harry How, Getty Images

Hunter Mahan Is Awesome...So is Phil

I kept preaching this. I screamed it from the mountain tops. I yelled it from the subway cars. Hunter Mahan is the doughnuts and he's playing like it.

Also, Anthony Kim and Phil Mickelson were three down at one point but Lefty just cashed a 20-footer on the 15th to square the match.

The Americans lead two matches, one is all square and the Europeans are up in one match.

This stuff is great so far.

(Oh, and Ian Poulter just shanked a shot, which is nice)

Harry How, Getty Images

Watching the Ryder Cup At Work -- Live Stream

If you're at work like I am, EtvSports has a live stream that is pretty solid.

Click here to fire it up and just tell the boss you're doing "research analysis" on the game of golf. He'll believe it, bosses are gullible.

Check Tag Label - Rut-Ro

See that flag? The blue one with the stars? Yeah, that one is up in three of the four matches.

This cannot be good.

Hunter Mahan and Justin Leonard are...ON FIREEEEEEE!

I've never played in a Ryder Cup, but I'm assuming losing the first two holes in a match-play style round of 18 holes isn't exactly going to get you going, especially if you're a rookie.

No worries for Justin Leonard and Hunter Mahan, who were two down after two but have birdied the last three holes to get the first American flag up on the board. Leonard was quoted earlier in one of ESPN's features as saying the thing about alternate shot is finding a rhythm and it appears they have done just that.

Mahan looks comfortable (and a bit cocky) and Leonard is pumped up, doing the fist-bump thing a WHOLE bunch. This are the kind of things the American teams has to have right now to get it going on Friday.

Also, Kenny Perry just made a birdie putt on the third hole and did a kinda scary stare that almost intimidated me a bit. Kenny Perry, badass?

Oh, and to add dorkiness to injury, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter are both wearing visors and just did one of the weirdest, awkward high five-side five things you've ever seen. I'd setting the over/under on awkward high fives this week to 11.5. Feel free to make your bets.

Getty Images

A Game We Will Play This Week -- Things You Will Only See AT the Ryder Cup

You know, for some reason the Ryder Cup always shows things you never see in any other tournament. We will try to document these things as the week goes on. If you see you anything you think is worth adding, send 'em in.

-Foursomes? How annoying is that? It's alternate shot. Can we call a spade a spade please?

-Crowds being the most fired up for Kenny Perry.

-When Padraig Harrington conceded the third hole to the Americans, Anthony Kim putted out anyway, just for practice. The strange part? Phil Mickelson tended the flag. When is the last time Lefty even touched a pin?

-Nick Faldo being a dick. Oh, no, that has happened his entire life. Sorry.

Lets Hope The First Hole Isn't Any Indication

I said yesterday in one of my Ryder Cup previews that these early morning Friday matches were the most important of the entire tournament. In the past three years the Americans lost the Friday matches a combined 16-8, which just puts you in a difficult hole to crawl out of.

Well, the first hole hasn't been too kind to the American team so far. Anthony Kim and Phil Mickelson both lost the first hole to Padraig Harrington and Robert Karlsson's birdie and the second grouping of Justin Leonard and Hunter Mahan made a sloppy bogey, falling one behind to Paul Casey and Henrik Stensen.

Good news for everyone though. Kim is wearing the "AK" belt buckle, even with his Ryder Cup outfit! That has to be some good karma, right?

(Also, I just wanted to throw this out there. We've already had a Citi Group commercial featuring Paul Azinger and Nick Faldo, which poses the question -- is it wrong the players don't really get paid for the Ryder Cup but the captains can make money off endorsements? Also, from this point forward I officially hate Nick Faldo until late Sunday and maybe longer.)

AFP/Getty Images

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Looking At The Pairings

Well, the pairings are out for the morning rounds tomorrow and by golly, they look absolutely awesome. Let's take a look, Dr. Lou style.

8:05 AM EST - Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim vs. Padraig Harrington and Robert Karlsson
Well here it is, the Mickelson-Kim monstrosity of an American pairing. The problem is, these two combined aren't as tall as Karlsson. I think this looks like a great first pairing for the Americans. They get Kim out of the gates with a "veteran" and play the tough Harrington, but Karlsson, who never won a match in his 2006 debut. I think the Americans take this one and hopefully (Crossing fingers and toes) hopefully we can get some chemistry between these two great players.

8:20 - Justin Leonard and Hunter Mahan vs. Paul Casey and Henrik Stensen
A couple of Texans versus a couple of long ball hitters. This one could go either way and in a hurry. I think Leonard can help his buddy get comfortable and then just let Mahan go. If Stensen gets hot at all, count this one for the Europeans. Emotional guys will play off each other.

8:35 - Stewart Cink and Chad Campbell vs. Justin Rose and Ian Poulter
This one has European instability written all over it. I see both of these guys showing their nerves and allowing the American duo to steal a point here. Also, how is Poulter going to play without pink pants?

8:50 - Kenny Perry and Jim Furyk vs. Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia
Well, there it is, the nearly unbeatable European team of Garcia and Westwood. I feel bad for Perry and Furyk having to go against these machines when it comes to Ryder Cup play. I see this as the one blowout in the morning rounds. There will be a ton of pressure on Perry and the Euros can smell blood.

The morning matches look exciting. If the U.S. could get 2 points, it would feel like a sweep.

Getty Images
Michelle Wie shot a third round 74 to put herself in fourth place at Q-School. All she needs to do is finish in the top-30 to make it to the finals of LPGA Qualifying School, which would mean just not throwing up on oneself tomorrow. [FanHouse]

This Is Actually Kinda Cool

I have no idea what GigaPan is, so I'm assuming it's a company that strives in making really cool pictures even cooler.

This here is a panoramic picture of some holes at Valhalla, and it's actually pretty fun to tool around with. If you zoom close enough you can almost see Paul Azinger crying.

Hey, The Ryder Cup Starts Tomorrow!!

Well, we are only one day away from seeing if the Americans can break this nasty trend of getting slapped around by the Europeans or if they will falter for a record fourth time in a row. How is that for a motivational sentence?!?!

So, here is the Justin Leonard putt from 1999 to get you a little excited. Side Note: When did you EVER think that there would be a Ryder Cup with Leonard in it and no Tiger? Just saying...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wie Posts 65, In Second Place after Day Two

Well, well, well, Michelle Wie, it sure is nice to see you again.

The 18-year-old fired a seven-under 65 today at Sectional Qualifying School, finding herself in second place alone after the second day of play. This coupled with her first round 70 has Wie nine-under after two days, four backs of some girl named Sun-Ju Ahn, which sounds like something you'd say after eating some really hot salsa.

Anyway, all Wie has do is finish in the top-30 to move to the finals of Q-School, a position she is currently 11 shots ahead of.

This sure is a different lady than the one we've been criticizing the past year or so. It looks like Wie can play again, which is only good for an LPGA that has been dodging some negative criticism lately.

Photo courtesy of Christian Petersen, Getty Images

Ryder Cup Thoughts

"Haha, I can't believe people are actually giving us a shot in this thing."

"Please God, if I don't play well this week they might demote me to FIAverageJAM."

"Damn rookies, having so much fun. Maybe we should deport them to Denmark."

"Here it is you damn Euros, the face that will haunt your Ryder Cup dreams!"

All photos courtesy of Getty Images
Johnny Miller thinks J.B. Holmes would have been better replaced with a list of other rookies that are having worse years. [FanHouse]

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This is Great Stuff -- A Look at the European Ryder Cup Team

I try not to push a lot of stuff in your face by fellow FanHousers, just because I don't want to seem like a tool that they recruited for hits (like this site would do that for anyone).

Nonetheless, the outline of the European team and who they should be paired with absolutely floored me and it is a must read. Ryan Wilson absolutely nails it.

I'm not sure which line is better, the "for all I know (Oliver Wilson) and I could be related" or the last line about Monty.

Take two minutes, click RIGHT HERE and read it. It will make your Wednesday ten times better, promise.

Ryder Cup Poll

Wie Fired Two-Under 70 in First Round of Q-School, Update

Michelle Wie got off to a good start at the LPGA Sectional Qualifying School, firing a two-under 70 to put her alone in fourth place with 55 of the 164 golfers in the clubhouse.

Wie is one of nine golfers that have broke par so far at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.

Of the 164 golfers, 70 will make the two day cut and 30 will go on to the finals of Q-School. So far it looks like Wie might just get her tour card and shut everyone, including me, up.

Nice first round Michelle, keep up the good work.

Update: Wie is now in a tie for eight place after the first round of play.

Holes At Valhalla That Should Be Exciting -- 545 yard, par-5 18th

As Ryder Cups go, some matches end early, and some come down to the final hole. What better way to conclude a match than to have the 18th be a par-5?

As we saw with Tiger Woods and Bob May, who were basically playing match play against each other in the 2000 PGA Championship, the 18th was where the fun happened. A par-5 with water right and an intense fairway bunker left makes you find the fairway off the tee to have a shot at the extremely undulated green. In the 2000 PGA Championship, when the pin was in the middle on Sunday, the announcers commented that nobody had hit their second shot on the correct tier. By missing it, three-putting is very much a possibility (As both May and Woods nearly showed).

The hole, just 545 yards, isn't long by any means, so in team play it will be a great chess game. A short hitter might lay up to a safe distance while the second goes for the flag. You will see some eagles and you will see some bogeys which is all you could ask for in a final hole of the Ryder Cup.

The only real change since 2000 was the addition of a bunker guarding the left side of the green, making it more difficult for someone bailing out left.

Photo courtesy of Golf Digest

Monday, September 15, 2008

Want to Volunteer? Ok, That'll Be $220, Thanks.

You think volunteering at a golf event is hard enough, wait until you hear this.

At the Ryder Cup this year, you have to pay to play help.

you might be surprised to hear that the PGA further pads its bottom line by charging each of its 3,600 volunteers a $220 admission fee.

That’s nearly $800,000 in all.

Well, that just ain't right, eh? You're helping control massive crowds all day long, in a golf event that brings out the most passion of any in the game, and you're paying to deal with these people? I guess the good news is if you want, you can upgrade your tickets!

For 16 hours of work the volunteers also receive daily access to the event with the privileges of an upgraded ticket worth $555.

Wow, what a great deal!

Ok, Ok, Mickelson Is A Pretty Decent Fellow

I know I harp on Phil Mickelson a lot around this site. He's an easy target and I've heard some negative stories about him over the years. No matter all of that, there are times Lefty does a lot of good and I think we can't overlook that.

This weekend Phil and wife Amy knocked out their fourth annual Smart Start program in San Diego, an opportunity for underprivileged kiddos to land school supplies and clothes before they head off to classes. This year they had nearly 1,500 first through fourth graders participate. It's moving stuff.

"It's the looks on their faces," Mickelson said.

It's their stories, too.

The one about the woman who was sleeping in her car with her six children until child protective services took the kids to a shelter a few days ago. One of the boys wouldn't stop talking about his invitation to Start Smart. His teacher found the boy, prevailed on the social workers to cut the red tape and brought him to the store where he could shop for his family.

Or the one about the woman whose Marine husband had deployed to Iraq. Her older daughter, when told she had to share her clothes with a sister who had outgrown hers, was heartbroken. And then the Start Smart invitation came for both girls, and they shopped for more clothes than their mother dreamed they'd have anytime soon.

This a great program and something you have to respect the man for. Good job Phil, we can all hope that the good karma comes back to you in form of Ryder Cup wins this week. I hope that isn't trivializing this program he is a part of, because it truly is a special opportunity for a lot of kids with no chance.

Some Ryder Cup Links

My take on the best possible match-ups for Team USA at the Ryder Cup. Hunter Mahan with Anthony Kim, what am I, bonkers?!!?! [FanHouse]

The Golf Girl talks Ryder Cup-ing. [Golf Girl's Diary]

Sobel's 18 questions about the Cup -- my favorite, "Umm, who is Oliver Wilson?" [ESPN]

A look at the coverage by ESPN this week. [Awful Announcing]

Holes At Valhalla That Should Be Exciting -- 355 yard, par-4 13th

Another match-play marvel, the shortest par-4 at Valhalla is also one of the trickiest. Measuring just 355 yards, the big hitters could drive the green, but would have to do so to an island green that is elevated above the water nearly 20 feet. In four-ball, if one of the players placed their ball in a perfect spot on the fairway and you're in desperate need of a win, this might be the place to let the big dog eat.

Interesting fact -- in 2000, when Tiger Woods beat Bob May at this here golf course, he made par on 13 all four days. I guess that goes to show how tricky the hole can be even when laying up.

Hurricane Ike Is Even Pissed at the Ryder Cup

I'd say as female analogies go, Hurricane Ike is the Lorena Bobbit of natural disasters. She came in, she decided to ruin everyone's week and didn't care what costs in going about that.

High winds have damaged a little of Valhalla Golf Club, the host course to the Ryder Cup starting on Friday.

Strong wind felled a TV tower and some trees at Valhalla Golf Club on Sunday, five days before the start of the Ryder Cup.

``The PGA of America is working to clean up all affected areas and is confident that when spectators arrive on Tuesday for the first full practice round, Valhalla will be ready for the biggest event in golf this year,'' Kerry Haigh said.

Obviously, we at DTCC hope everyone got through the hurricane alright. If you feel the need to donate to the American Red Cross, click here to toss some money their way. Even a couple of bucks goes a long way.

Photo courtesy of Andy Lyons, Getty Images

Golfers Against Bike Riders

I'm not sure how real this is, and as sleepy as I am this morning I don't really care, but this mini-golf video shows exactly what this crazy game will do to your temper. People that roll their pants up even get mad when playing golf!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Anthony Kim To ESPN's Jason Sobel -- 'Me and Phil Have Talked About Playing Together'

For some odd reason, ESPN gets more interviews than I do. I know, it's strange to me as well. Anyway, the always great Jason Sobel of ESPN sat down with American hopeful Ryder Cup hero Anthony Kim, asking him a few questions, including who he'd like to be paired with.

Q: On Thursday of Ryder Cup week, captain Paul Azinger hands you a blank lineup card for the week and tells you to fill in the names of your playing partners. Whose name do you write down?
A: Eleven other guys on the team.

Q: C'mon, give me somebody.
A: Well, Phil [Mickelson] and I have talked about playing together, so he's very high on the list. Jim Furyk, a veteran. Boo Weekley and I have become good friends. Really, everybody who has made the team I have become really good friends with before making this team, so it's hard to pick just one.

Now that gets me scratching my chin. Could Mickelson and Kim pair together? We all remember the disaster that was Mickelson-Woods in 2004, right? We also remember that Mickelson goes by FIGJAM by some on tour?

Hey, at least Kim said they've been talking about it. I sure hope it would work out because it would be awesome to watch, but I'm pretty sure that Phil would play better with lesser known names. Ben Curtis, you're listening, right?