A Twosie Doozie: Woosie and Faldo In as Captains

Ian Woosnam in 2006 and Nick Faldo in 2008. But the real question remains: can the US squad beat any European team, regardless of the captain?

Ian WoosnamAs many suspected, Ian Woosnam will be the next European Ryder Cup captain and Faldo will follow in 2008. The double appointment – yet to be done in Ryder Cup history – was reached by unanimous decision. Said European Tour Executive Director George O’Grady, “We have rewarded two great champions.”

Woosnam received an early present on this, his 47th birthday. A former Masters champion (1991) and an eight-time Ryder Cup player, Woosnam served as assistant to Sam Torrance in 2002. Said the wee Woosie, “I’m going to be captain and I’m not going to be a playing captain. That decision is made now.” Not that his game is in any shape to make the team as a playing member…

Women in the British Open?

Women are technically allowed to play in every men’s major except one: The British Open. But change is afoot…

Royal And AncientThe R&A is considering letting women play in the British Open. Pete Dawson, chief executive of the Royal and Ancient Club responsible for the staging of “the Open,” is in favor of amending the rules to more closely match those seen in the American majors.

The current rules state that the tournament is open to “any male professional or from a male amateur golfer whose playing handicap does not exceed scratch.” The possible change is simple: remove the word “male.”

Curtis Strange, PGA Tour Great, Joins the Champions Tour

As Curtis Strange makes his Champions Tour debut this weekend, we should all take a moment to remember what a great player he was in his prime.

curtis_strange_1989_usopen.jpgThis weekend, Curtis Strange will make his Champions Tour debut at the ACE Group Classic in Naples, Florida.

Those very new to golf may wonder who Curtis Strange is. In fact, one’s view of Strange probably depends upon how long you have been following golf. If you’ve been following the game for a few years, you probably view him as the lead analyst on ABC golf coverage (Strange filled that role from 1997 to 2004) or as just another losing Ryder Cup captain (2002).

If you’ve been following golf for about a decade, then you may remember Curtis Strange as the player that played a large role in the United States’ 1995 Ryder Cup loss (Strange was a controversial captain’s pick by fellow Virginian and Wake Forest alum Lanny Wadkins).

And finally, if you’ve been following golf for much longer, then you probably remember Strange as the best player on the PGA Tour, if not the world, in the mid- to late-1980s, a player full of fire and determination.

Things I Could Do Without: The Presidents Cup

It’s time to look at an event that should be wiped off the schedule: The Presidents Cup. Why? Because it is pointless at best, anti-American at worse and, most crucially, it drags down the excitement and intensity of the Ryder Cup Matches.

Presidents CupNow that the 2005 golf season is finally gathering steam (I’m pretty sure the LPGA Tour starts up sometime in the next couple months, right?), it’s time to look at an event that should be wiped off the schedule: The Presidents Cup. Why? Because it is pointless at best, anti-American at worse and, most crucially, it drags down the excitement and intensity of the Ryder Cup Matches. Let me explain.

Quick history lesson, which you probably don’t need. The Presidents Cup was born in the Revenue Creation Laboratory located deep beneath PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach. It is an artificial construct created after the Ryder Cup became a surprise cash cow for the PGAs of America and Europe. The Tour was on the outside looking in, and it saw an opening. “Heck, they only play the Ryder Cup every other year. Let’s cram another international team event into the off-years and sell a lot of corporate sponsorships!”

The Shark Swims Up on 50

Greg Norman, on the cusp of becoming eligible for the Champions Tour, has the opportunity to enhance the tour’s popularity. If he plays.

Greg NormanWhen the Champions Tour first became popular in the 1980s (then known as the Senior Tour), much of the reason for its popularity was due to the fact that “baby-boomers” could watch their childhood idols play tournament golf again. Players such as Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Billy Casper, all great players in the 1960s could now be seen competing and winning once again. It was competitive golf and wonderful nostalgia all rolled into one.

Fast forward to today, and we see that the Champions Tour’s popularity has significantly waned. Players like Palmer and Chi Chi Rodriguez who had been instrumental in the Champions Tour’s initial popularity have long since shortened their playing schedules and are no longer competitive. In recent years, players like Hale Irwin have dominated the tour, and while they have displayed great skill on the links, they have failed to capture a great deal of attention. Let’s face it, while Irwin is a great player, is there anyone who can say they grew up rooting for Hale Irwin?

Once is Enough for Langer

Victorious in 2004, European Ryder Cup Captain Bernhard Langer has withdrawn his name from captaincy in 2006.

Bernhard LangerEarly in November of 2004, the United States chose Tom Lehman as its captain for the 2006 Ryder Cup. The European team has taken a bit longer to choose its leader for the 2006 campaign. Ryder Cup super-star Colin Montgomerie decided he’s not done trouncing American opponents and withdrew his name from consideration. This left three possible choices: Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo, and Bernhard Langer. Better make that two. Now it appears Langer has decided he’s going to step aside and allow someone else to fill the position. Although Langer removed himself from the captain’s seat, he still has ambitions of being in Ireland saying, “I have every intention of being a playing member of the 2006 European team.” This comes as bittersweet news to American golf fans considering Langer’s 10 Ryder Cup appearances and 21-15-6 cumulative record.

2006 Ryder Cup Standings

Points standings for the 2006 Ryder Cup following the 2005 Buick Invitational.

The 2006 Ryder Cup team points standings are available after every PGA Tour event, and points will be available through the 88th PGA Championship. It’s no surprise that, after finishing third and first in his only two events this year, and a lot of top finishes last year, Tiger Woods is currently atop the list.

Here’s your top 15. At this point, nearly anyone who manages a top-10 jumps into the top 20. Oh what a Ryder Cup team we’d have with Woody Austin, Hunter Mahan, and Kirk Triplett! But hey, that’s why this is the 200-SIX team.

Singh Leads Hall of Fame 2005 Ballot

The 2005 World Golf Hall of Fame ballot were announced, and includes stars Vijay Singh, Fred Couples, Mark O’Meara, and Davis Love III.

Vijay SinghThe 2005 World Golf Hall of Fame ballots were announced today. Thirty-three players made the ballot which is divided into two categories: the PGA/Champions tour and the International tour. In order for a player to be elected to the Hall of Fame, they must garner at least sixty-five percent of the vote.

Several notable names are new to this ballot, the most recognizable of which is Vijay Singh. Singh’s two majors and twenty-five PGA wins are likely to help him gain several votes. Other first timers to the ballot are Fred Couples, Mark O’Meara, and Davis Love III. On the international ballot, perennial Ryder Cup star Colin Montgomerie makes his debut.

Lehman’s Right-Hand Men

Tom Lehman chooses Corey Pavin and Loren Roberts as Team USA assistant captains for the 2006 Ryder Cup.

corey_pavin.jpgloren_roberts.jpgThe PGA of America is reporting that Tom Lehman, who was recently dubbed captain of Team USA for the 2006 Ryder Cup, has named his assistant captains – Corey Pavin and Loren Roberts. Between them, they have four combined appearances at the Ryder Cup (Pavin has three, Roberts has one).

The 2006 Ryder Cup matches will be played at The K Club in Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland on September 22-24, 2006.