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Archives for August 2008

Poulter's chance to reward captain's faith

Iain Carter | 20:18 UK time, Sunday, 31 August 2008

Nick Faldo is his own man. Always has been, always will be and certainly was in selecting Ian Poulter for a wildcard pick.

Recent results, past Ryder Cup performances, the opinions of leading players in this team and a past captain, never mind the majority views on previous threads here, all pointed to a call up for Darren Clarke.

The Ulsterman is surely entitled to feel aggrieved. Without having the benefit of playing all the biggest events, Clarke has risen 200 places from 256 in the world off the back of two wins.

He has won 6 ½ points out of a possible eight in the last two matches and been on the winning side four times in five Ryder Cups.

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Who should get a Ryder Cup wildcard?

Iain Carter | 19:28 UK time, Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Ian Poulter's decision to pull out of the final Ryder Cup qualifying event at Gleneagles to remain in America to contest the FedEx Cup play-offs is perplexing.

It sends conflicting messages.

One interpretation could be that he already feels confident of a captain's wildcard pick.

Another is that he feels he has done all he can to convince Nick Faldo that he is worthy of selection; and the other is that he rates the PGA Tour's lucrative season-ender more highly than playing in his second Ryder Cup.

The last of those theories is hard to accept.

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Golf and the Olympics, not as daft as it seems

Iain Carter | 22:36 UK time, Tuesday, 19 August 2008

One of the first rules of journalism is about to be broken. The purpose of the opening paragraph is to lure the reader and with the next sentence I am about to say a big goodbye to a large percentage of this blog's potential readership. So here goes: Golf should become an Olympic sport.

Cheerio then to the many who believe this stick and ball game should never darken the door of the Games (unless, of course, you're digging in for a dogmatic say at the bottom of the page). For those remaining, thanks are due for at least for giving this contentious notion a chance.

A quick reprise: Golf was played in the 1900 and 1904 Olympics, but not since Canada's George Lyon became the last gold medallist in St Louis and the US won gold, silver and bronze in the team event has the game been a member of the Olympic family.

As has been well documented, golf wants to change this and it is one of seven sports vying for a place in the 2016 Games. A decision will be made in October 2009 when baseball, karate, roller sports, rugby, softball and squash will also be making their cases for inclusion.

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US turn sights on Harrington

Iain Carter | 15:02 UK time, Monday, 11 August 2008

It would be easy to assume that Nick Faldo was purring with delight as he sat in the CBS commentary booth as the final major of the year came down to a clash between two of the players who will be stars in his team at Valhalla.

And Padraig Harrington's sensational US PGA victory over Sergio Garcia means Europe will have the best active player in the world in their side at next month's Ryder Cup.

The Irishman can't be viewed in any other way after winning the last two majors. Tiger Woods has been away and Harrington has taken advantage, though given the way the Open and PGA Champion closed out his victories, I'm not sure Woods would have denied him had he been there. We'll never know.

What is going to be fascinating is to see the impact of Harrington's success and his elevated status in the game on the European and, more pertinently, American sides.

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Woods storms back into view

Iain Carter | 23:14 UK time, Saturday, 9 August 2008

Even when he's at home with a dodgy knee Tiger Woods makes it on to prime time Saturday afternoon television in these parts.

The biggest criticism of American golf coverage - apart from the tiresome ad interruptions - is its obsession with the world number one.

It was almost as though the TV executives realised this event was going nowhere in Woods' absence and orchestrated the storms that battered Oakland Hills to give CBS the excuse of reminding us of what's been missing.

So they turned to the epic showdown between Woods and Bob May in 2000 at Valhalla to fill the void. It offered a reminder of the course that will host next month's Ryder Cup as well as one of the most exciting PGAs of recent times.

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Do we want more major grind?

Iain Carter | 17:37 UK time, Friday, 8 August 2008

So was Lee Westwood right? Have the PGA of America "sucked the fun" out of the final major of the year? I think he has a point.

Analysing the 2008 US PGA so far I'm struggling to think of much to set the pulse racing - Padraig Harrington's tee shot that hit the pin on the par three third in the first round is about as far as it goes.

Then I thought it might just be me, bio rhythms out of synch - something of that nature - that had perhaps diminished my enthusiasm.

It's not often I feel this way at a big tournament, but I actually thought the first round was probably the worst I've encountered at a major.

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Els offers insight on Woods' injury

Iain Carter | 17:08 UK time, Thursday, 7 August 2008


Ernie Els has warned that it may take Tiger Woods another year after he comes back to fully recover from his knee injury.

Els underwent a similar operation to repair his anterior cruciate ligament in 2005. "I know exactly what he's going through at the moment," Els said. "You know, it's a bit of a frustrating time.

"And it's going to take him a while to get over that injury. I guess his first tournament might be Bay Hill in March and then would try to get himself ready for the Masters."

Els offers a fascinating insight into what Woods might face when he begins his return. "The first couple of weeks when he comes back it will swell up and he'll feel it and he'll feel it for another six months.


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