Labor Day has come and gone. There are just a few more weeks of summer according to the calendar, but there are still big events in golf to be played.
We’re at the midway point of the FedExCup playoffs and your new points leader is… Chris Kirk. It’s still anyone’s race, of course. At least anyone who is still playing. The field will narrow again this week, from 70 at the BMW Championship to just 30 who will make the trip to Atlanta for the TOUR Championship.
And the teams are now set for golf’s other big event of fall, the Ryder Cup. Which team looks better going in? We’ll be debating that for the next three weeks, but it’s almost certainly the Euros on paper (not that the U.S. made much advantage of that in the past). For now, let’s hit the links.
Hole #1: Watson Goes Chalk
U.S. Captain Tom Watson went with the favorites in picking Hunter Mahan, Keegan Bradley, and Webb Simpson, as most pundits were predicting. Despite securing his second win over the weekend, Chris Kirk did not make the team. [Link]
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) September 2, 2014
Hole #2: No Luke
Paul McGinley rounded out the Euro squad with Ian Poulter, Stephen Gallacher, and Lee Westwood. Somewhat surprisingly, Luke Donald (10-4-1 in Ryder Cup play) will not be part of the team this year. [Link]
Hole #3: Kirk Takes Command
Chris Kirk pulled something akin to the Kobayashi Maru that another Kirk is famous for. It was supposed to be Rory McIlroy’s day, but Kirk (Chris) reprogrammed the scenario by shooting 66-64-66 in his last three rounds to win the Deutsche Bank Championship and vault himself into the lead of the FedExCup standings with two events to go. [Link]
Hole #4: It’s Little Ball Then Big Ball, Gator
Who hasn’t chunked a shot into a hazard at an important moment of a round? Luckily, most of us never have the opportunity to do so when playing for birdie to tie or eagle to win a PGA TOUR playoff event. It’s gonna be a tough week for Billy Horschel. [<a href="http://www.floridatoday.com/story/sports/2014/09/01/sports/14939189/" title="It's Little Ball Then Big Ball, Gator”>Link]
Hole #5: Ernst Wins in Portland
— TaylorMade Golf (@TaylorMadeGolf) September 2, 2014
Hole #6: Is Ian the New Colin?
Some guys are just fun to mess with. Even if it’s not exactly sporting…
Thoughts? Why "celebrities" shouldn't be inside ropes. Michael Jordan admits trying to screw up Poulter at Ryder Cup. http://t.co/BKiTTtl7hq
— Steve Elling (@EllingYelling) August 29, 2014
Hole #7: Jerry Kelly Advances on Eagle
Standing on the 18th tee Monday, Jerry Kelly was just short of making the field for this week’s BMW Championship in Colorado. He made a clutch eagle on the 72nd hole, but that still left him just on the outside looking in behind Robert Streb who was tied with Rory McIlroy and Jason Day on the course. When each of them made birdie on the 18th, it dropped Streb’s point total fractionally, giving Kelly the 70th and final spot in the field. [Link]
Hole #8: Ryder Cup Honchos Do About-Face on Social Media
Hours after banning the posting of photos and videos via social media from the grounds of the Ryder Cup competition, the European Tour and the PGA of America changed their minds. Perhaps someone pointed out to them that such a ban would be almost completely unenforceable.
Selfies are welcomed: The Ryder Cup announces social media is now allowed at Gleneagles. Teeing Off blog: http://t.co/B9VnYGcisu
— Golfweek Magazine (@GolfweekMag) September 3, 2014
Hole #9: Wie on the Mend
— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) September 2, 2014