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US wildcards complete formidable line-up

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Iain Carter | 18:35 UK time, Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Steve Stricker was the last name announced as the American wildcard picks were revealed but he would have been top of the list in the mind of skipper Davis Love III.

The 45-year-old has not enjoyed the most spectacular of years on the PGA Tour but has been steady enough to retain a place in the world's top ten.

Stricker is a former student at the University of Illinois which will sit well with the Medinah crowds, he is a very dependable putter and a great team man.

Above all of that he is a ready made partner for Tiger Woods.

Steve Stricker

Steve Stricker has been chosen as one of the four wild cards to represent the USA in the Ryder Cup. Photo: Getty

And it is Woods who is the real dangerman in this very strong looking American team. The years of flattering to deceive in Ryder Cups are long gone for the former world number one.

America's captain revealed his picks at the headquarters of New York's Stock Exchange. Love can surely bank on Woods to deliver a fund of points to bolster the US bid to regain the trophy.

In the days when Woods was golf's undisputed dominant force it was hard for American skippers to identify a partner who would not be inhibited by the great man.

Woods also found it difficult to accept the dilution of his powers when paired with an inferior golfer.

Whether it was his best friend Mark O'Meara or his greatest rival Phil Mickelson it just didn't work to the expected effect and the American cause would be duly undermined.

In 1999 Woods was given three different partners (Tom Lehman, David Duval and Steve Pate) and three years later Paul Azinger and Mark Calcavecchia tried to forge a successful alliance with the man who was sweeping the game's board individually.

Ironically it was Love who finally proved an effective second day ally for Woods in that clash at the Belfry.

Jim Furyk combined pretty well with him in 2006 and they won half their matches at the K Club, but it is the combination with Stricker that has brought the best out of Woods.

At Celtic Manor two years ago they claimed two out of a three possible points together and both won their singles matches. Their only defeat came at the hands of an inspired foursomes pairing of Luke Donald and Lee Westwood.

A year earlier they won all four matches paired together in the US Presidents' Cup victory over the Rest of the World at Harding Park in San Francisco.

So Love can rest easy that in Stricker he has the ideal partner for the biggest name in his team. Woods was America's leading point scorer in 2006 and after missing the match in 08 team-mate bettered his three out of four points at Celtic Manor.

But it would be wrong to give the impression that this US side is all about one big personality. The striking characteristic is its strength in depth which can be measured in the names who failed to make it into the team.

Hunter Mahan beat Rory McIlroy to win the year's biggest matchplay title at the WGC Championship in February - one of two titles he won this season.

Although still in the world's top twenty, Mahan's recent form has not been good enough to keep pace with those who received the call to arms; Stricker, Brandt Snedeker, Dustin Johnson and Furyk.

Nick Watney's superb victory at the Barclays last week wasn't enough and nor was Rickie Fowler's chutzpah and excellent record when representing his country.

Johnson's prodigious length should suit the anticipated Medinah set up to a tee, Furyk will be the wise grey-beard of the team room, although 15 losses in 27 Ryder Cup matches gives cause for European optimism.

Snedeker is the form man, America's hottest putter and the fourth rookie in Love's team.

The US skipper is entitled to feel he has an excellent blend of youth, experience and form.

Make no mistake this is a formidable team that along with Woods boasts major winners in Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Phil Mickelson, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson and Furyk.

As noted last week, Jose Maria Olazabal's Europe are shaping up very nicely as well, Rory McIlroy's latest brilliant win fuels the feel-good factor.

With all 24 players involved in the world's top 36 for this Ryder Cup, it threatens to be an epic match in the Chicago suburbs.

Both captains have impressed so far; both appear to have made the correct wildcard choices and the right noises.

This particularly applies to Love. He named Stricker last because he decided to announce his wildcards in height order (Dustin Johnson first).

But more significantly he announced his eight qualifiers in alphabetical order. So many of his predecessors have used the order in which their teams qualified.

This can send a subliminally hierarchical message. By using the alphabetical method preferred by European skippers, Love is showing he intends to mould a team of equals rather than a group of individuals.

It's a subtle but significant move that combined with home advantage and strength in depth means America should be regarded as slight favourites to reclaim the famous trophy later this month.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Got no idea what post 1 is on about.....anyway following the last few weeks on the PGA Tour, I think that Love's picks were straight forward and picked themselves. I laughed this morning when I turned to Talksport (5Live blocked to overseas listeners at the moment) and heard some moron talk about picking Fowler and then Mahan. They would have weakened the US team considerably as they are currently out of form. The only one who might have sneaked in at the last minute was Watney, who's starting to swing it well again.

  • Comment number 3.

    Sick of seeing morons who politicize everything on the BBC blogs. This is SPORT, please do get over it.

  • Comment number 4.

    Post 1 clearly doesn't appreciate the intricacy needed to play golf at the highest level, and probably doesn't know what intricacy means - as he is too busy slating bankers and MPs.

    Love's picks where pretty much handed to him on a plate - what he has done is make the most obvious choices and then listed them in alphabetical order (ha).

  • Comment number 5.

    Looks to me that both teams are strong this year. Should be good to watch.
    I saw the US team at Walton Heath in 1981. Now that team was strong:
    Captain: Dave Marr
    Lee Trevino
    Tom Kite
    Bill Rogers
    Larry Nelson
    Ben Crenshaw
    Bruce Lietzke
    Jerry Pate
    Hale Irwin
    Johnny Miller
    Tom Watson
    Raymond Floyd
    Jack Nicklaus
    There's a few majors between that lot!

  • Comment number 6.

    What is 1 going on about ? weird.

    Europe will win again , as usual the US are branded favorites and as usual they will not live up to that tag.

    16 - 12 Europe , Garcia top points scorer.

  • Comment number 7.

    With only 23 days to go before Medinha both teams appear to be as strong as possible for each captain. DL3 really had no choice to make. Fowler and Mahan have no sort of form at the moment. His 4 were the obvious choices as we're Olly's. The only worries I have at the moment for Europe is the apparant lack of form for Gmac and the unknown form of Kaymer. Looking at the two teams it's going to be close but as an eternal optimist I believe Europe will win.

  • Comment number 8.

    BTW have to say something about the strange first comment. Looking at the history of andy1005 it appears he/she is a serial single poster on many differing blogs. The sole purpose of which is to rile the regular bloggers on any particular subject. I suggest that heshe is now allowed to fade away to chose another target.

  • Comment number 9.

    I think the American team is very strong this year and it will be a tough fought weekend. Their Experienced players will guide the rookies along and they have some frightening rookies who can hit s hot streak and go low.
    The likes of Bradley, Snedeker, Stricker, all great putters, Snedeker and Dustin both on great form currently heading into it. Dustin, Bubba, Mickelson and Woods, all huge hitters and then the steadiness of Simspson, Zack Johnson, Kuchar, Dufner and Furyk.
    Great to see Lawrie on form for us, Mcilroy picking up another win, Westwood having a bit of a resurgence. Garcia swinging and more importantly putting better. Donald may not be great right now but he will rise to the occasion as he has done for every Ryder Cup, much like Poulter - lives for the Ryder Cup!
    I predict a close weekend but Europe coming out just triumphant, with Garcia our leading points scorer.

  • Comment number 10.

    no.1's a fool..

    this ryder cup is going to be the tightest in years. i worry for kaymer but in the end i actually can't see anything between the teams and wouldn't bet against a draw with europe retaining. either way, canny wait!

  • Comment number 11.

    I bet Olazabal wishes he had been able to have another captain's pick instead of Kaymer, his form is hopeless and he is low on confidence. His pairing with someone who can both inspire and encourage him is crucial. The only obvious weak spot in the European team, despite that this is an amazing event with both teams able to win. I cannot wait to see how it unfolds.

  • Comment number 12.

    "Johnson's prodigious length" - did you win your bet, Iain?

  • Comment number 13.

    whats the problem with Kaymer. leave hm out until the singles. and hope for the best, there are enough good pairings without the need to use him. Garcia /Donald, Gmac / wee mac, poulter/rose, westwood / laurie, /molinari, hanson/colsearts
    with the MACS playing every match..
    Europe will win easily

  • Comment number 14.

    I don't see how Furyk is a good choice at all? He's going to struggle on a very long Medinah, he'll not reach any par five in two! I think Mahan or Fowler would have been better choices - I can't imagine any Euro player being worried about playing Furyk on the Sunday.

    The other US picks were straightforward. Dustin Johnson is going to give his partner a lot of good looks.

    Europe to win. Just.

  • Comment number 15.

    Big decisions on how to load the singles order will be crucial.
    A Woods Mcilroy singles match-up? It's what Ryder dreams are of! Especially with both of them now hitting some form.
    Q. Has a singles match-up ever been agreed between captains/at the request of players in Ryder Cup history?

  • Comment number 16.

    I'll take that bet, Iain. What odds are you offering on Europe?

  • Comment number 17.

    On their day all players are capable of winning, what will be critical is how the euros handle the pressure and partisan crowd that will only appreciate the US

  • Comment number 18.

    Methinks a tight match is on the cards should be very interesting golf. Which by the way is an all inclusive sport - its not just for bankers and MP's. Keep politics out of sport please!

  • Comment number 19.

    #taxnotme

    Oh, yes - Notably in 1975 (when there were 2 lots of singles played). Brian Barnes beat Jack Nicklaus in the morning and they both fancied a go at each other in the afternoon. Barnes won again.

  • Comment number 20.

    There is a billboard in the US featuring Davis Love with US Marine battle fatiques, super-imposed. Lets have War on the Shore 2, Geddin the Hole, All the way USA!

  • Comment number 21.

    13. karlwbrown : Europe will win easily
    14.fergkat : Europe to win. Just.

    I think fergkat's scenario is more likely. RC's are almost always very close these days. Even those years when the score has been lopsided, the result is often in doubt until quite near the end.

    I'd agree with the obvious statement that Kaymer's form is a worry. I'm not sure that it's as simple as just benching him until Sunday though. Mark James (rather inexplicably) did that to van Der Velde, Sandelin and Coltart in 99, and they all got hammered in the singles. Arguably it's better to give the guy a game, ideally pairing him with someone in form and who he might gel with. If it comes off and they win, it's a confidence booster. If they lose then at least he's had a taste of the match prior to the singles. In 2002 Phil Price and Fulke played once prior to the singles, and lost, but both went on to win their singles. Fasth played twice, lost both, and then went on to half with Azinger, in a match he should probably have won.
    That doesn't prove anything, but James' ploy of not playing those 3 players (who were all rookies I think) backfired, and since then I think captains have made sure that all players get at least one game before the singles

  • Comment number 22.

    @19 Jack Nicklaus, 18 time major winner, is beaten twice by Brian 'Nobody' Barnes?

    Shows that the Ryder Cup is almost a different game to regular golf.

  • Comment number 23.

    i actually thought Love would pick Fred Couples!

  • Comment number 24.

    Furyk's pick puzzles me somewhat. He hasn't won this year (he's actually thrown away two biggies in The US Open and Firestone), is in dubious form, struggling with the flat-stick, has a poor RC record (Eight wins to FIFTEEN losses) and length wise would be bringing a pen-knife to a gunfight. Can't agrue with the others, and am glad to see Love III wasn't pressured by the PGA of America powers that be to pick Fowler in order to generate 'Box-Office.' Get the impression that were this a President's Cup, the Cap'n would be getting a call from Ponte Vedre Beach....

    I was less-than-enthusiastic about Europe's chances prior to the PGA Championship. Since then, we've seen Rory, Sergio, Colesarts and Lawrie all hit form. Hope this rubs off on a few of their team-mates.

    The plan for Europe should be fairly simple- get an early lead and be ahead going into the Singles matches. So simple, huh? In 1999 the disparity between the two sides was much greater, but Europe caught the US cold that time and had a four-point lead by sunday- a pity we then threw it away, but it does emphasise 22's point that in an unfamiliar format anything can happen.

  • Comment number 25.

    The american team looks very strong, far away from the bunch of unknowns who have represented them in recent competitions, surprised at Mahan's omission especially having won the Accenture world matchplay against McIlroy earlier in the year. Perhaps the fluffed chip against McDowell figured in Love's thoughts. Europe on paper look strong, but must be concrened with the form of Kaymer in particular whilst Westwood & Donald not firing on all 4.

  • Comment number 26.

    So we have predictions of Europe to win easily, Europe to win a close one and Carter following my lead and making the US slight favourites. Just goes to prove how tough it is to call this RC. Someones going to be wrong.

    I think DLIII made the obvious picks and probably the correct ones. Fowler and Mahan would've been seen as tied on to make the team around early summer but you cant play so badly for so long and expect to be picked, only Watney has cause to possibly feel aggreived but one swallow doesnt make a summer and generally speaking he's been just as poor as the afore mentioned players.

    Just to stop anyone asking, predictions will be updated Thursday

  • Comment number 27.

    Very negative Iain, just concentrating on Woods and co. You could look at it from another perspective, they have 4 rookies, who knows how they will cope with the ryder cup pressure, especially considering Dufner, Simpson, Bradley and Snedeker's matchplay records are nothing to write home about. We have players who seem to be coming to the peak of their years with maybe the exception of Kaymer and G-Mac. Garcia, Rory and Lawrie are probably playing the best golf of their careers. So with experience and form we look a good bet to retain. EUROPE EUROPE EUROPE!!

  • Comment number 28.

    @ Iain.....Why do you consider about TW that "The years of flattering to deceive in Ryder Cups are long gone for the former world number one." ? He is still struggling with his swing and distance control. His "partner" of Stricker is also
    only playing so so. If TWs driving does go awary his partner may not be able to recover like the man himself does.

  • Comment number 29.

    O ye of little faith. Cast your minds back to The Belfry in 1989 when Ray Floyd was moronic enough to announce to all and sundry that his team were the greatest players in the World. Were Ballesteros, Faldo, Woosnam, Langer and Olazabal only there to make up the numbers? He was made to eat his words when the match ended 14 points each - and Europe would have won outright if Seve hadn't made a pigs ear of the 18th.

    Be of good heart. The only thing that our lads have to fear is fear itself. I look forward to the raucous US crowd slinking away with heads bowed and a repeat of Olly's dance as performed at Muirfield Village.

  • Comment number 30.

    #22 umpteen

    Well, you might think of Brian Barnes as a "nobody" now, but he was pretty well-known in the seventies and early eighties, finishing in the top ten of the European money list many times. I remember him for wearing some offensively-tight shorts during several tournaments (which I believe was against the rules, but I may be wrong).

    But I totally agree that strokeplay and match play are very different games, psychologically at least.

  • Comment number 31.

    #28 - agreed. Where is the evidence that Tiger will step up? So far this year, when it really counts for TW, in the majors, he's been in position after 2 or 3 rounds then gone backwards. Begs the question whether the Foley swing is reliable down the stretch when a player needs to play in automatic mode. And he certainly seems to have lost the ability to "will" putts to drop when he really needs them too.

    Actually, I am a bit surprised by DL3's wildcard picks. The player I feel could do most damage to the European team is Bubba - and Fowler would have been a good partner for him.

  • Comment number 32.

    Wibb - In fairness to Woods he was hitting quite a lot of fairways off the tee, thought it was all pretty one dimensional just playing a cut for every shot. Its fair enough having a go to shot but he's lost the variety that he once had,a worry from a foursomes point of view is that the big slice is still lurking in his locker. And as you point out Stricker doesnt posses the power or the extreme shot shaping ability to dig himself out of those holes like Woods

  • Comment number 33.

    #30 For strokeplay you are permitted to wear tight shorts. It may not be nice to look at, but look what Daly and Poulter get away with, now that is offensive.

  • Comment number 34.

    Betfred offering 6/4 on Europe win - which are quite decent odds even on away turf

    Was it last week mr carter suggested Fowler would make the team ahead of DJ....? tut tut, never a doubt DJ would be there given his "prodigious length" and he has been playing well of late - Fowler will have known after his performance at Deutsche Bank that he was not going to get a pick - he needed a top 5 at least

    I think Europe have the better pairings - the US are tyring to forge some comorardery (sp?) which is why Fowler was mentioned, but I think if you look at the potentials for our pairings we should be going into the singles leading - however the US may be stronger in that aspect.

    shaping up to be a real hum-singer - only thing I am not looking forward to are the daft american crowds......MASHED POTATOOOOOO - morons

  • Comment number 35.

    28 Wibbly - I would agree. I have to say that I think this is pretty average blog by your standards Iain. Re: the Woods comment, I think he is probably as erratic as I've seen him going into a RC. That's not to say he isn't playing well, cos his results have been good, but he dosn't seem to be very consistent, and I doubt that the Europeans will fear him they they perhaps once did. Furthermore, I know his overall RC record is not the best ever (W13, L14, H2), but in Singles he has only lost once and halved once, with 4 wins. It has been argued that his foursome / fourball losses have been more down to his partner than him, although you can't really prove that.

    My point is that I don't think he has 'flattered to deceive' in previous RC's, and I don't think that he is necessarily 'the dangerman' in this one.

  • Comment number 36.

    #30 As far as I can remember shorts were not permitted (or beards) back in the 70's. Barnes had a medical exemption which allowed him to wear shorts (don't want to think of the unerlying condition). He was also a pipe smoker which he would lay down on the tee. I ofter wondered if he used it as an allignment aid?

  • Comment number 37.

    Can someone let me know what the likely hours that play will be on in our time?

    Early mornings, late nights?

  • Comment number 38.

    This is going to be a great ryder cup, i'm actually looking forward to it for once, normally i'm pretty indifferent to it and i always found it strange how the Europeans raise their game so much for it - a pity they can't do it when it really matters, i.e. Major championships. Perhaps its having the partner with them, or not necessarily having to worry about the next putt in so many cases.

    I guess Mahan's poor run of form recently has cost him - i think the depth of talent on show will be brilliant - 24 of the top 36 players - never has there been so much quality on show at a Ryder cup.

    It will be very interesting to see the pairings and to see who plays in what formats - the European struggling the most is Kaymer, but perhaps he'll be inspired.

    I think USA will nick - it would be great to see wee Rory against Tiger in the last singles match tied at 13 all with a couple to go.

  • Comment number 39.

    @37 coverage starts on Sky at 12.30 our time on the Friday so you can judge from that. Decent times and not early mornings or late really.

  • Comment number 40.

    Do the beeb have highlights? I don't have sky.

  • Comment number 41.

    Similar concerns have been expressed in the past about players from both sides coming into the Ryder Cup on the back of some poor form....and then having a great event. One such example being Philip Price in 2001/2 when many people called for him to be left out when the event was delayed because he'd not had such a good 2002 (didn't he then beat Mickelson in singles !?). I happen to believe that Kaymer will be fine, that GMac is likely to come good and that Hunter Mahan and Ricky Fowler would have been strong picks for the US too (not least because both americans perform well in match play).

  • Comment number 42.

    I think the shock will come from Jason Dufner, He is third in the US standings and has been very consistant, I can see Garcia choking under the pressure and I think G-MAC will be our hero in this one, he has started to find his form in the FedEx cup.

  • Comment number 43.

    Shaunyboy10 - why do you see Garcia choking under pressure? His singles record is not great, but his record in 4balls and 4somes is very good, and he always seems to be up for the RC. Its not as if he's not used to the pressure of the RC - this will be his 6th I think

  • Comment number 44.

    RyderCup heros:
    Rory
    Gmac
    Garcia
    Poulter


    RyderCup villians
    Kaymer
    Westwood
    Donald
    The belgian man who got the wild card
    Hensen

  • Comment number 45.

    There is a huge problem relying on pre-defined partnerships and while TW & SS may be the obvious one who do you change them with? If Woods opens with a shot like his snap hook into the Liffey at the K Club then Stricker won't have a chance. Likewise if Stricker isn't finding the pins with his approaches then Woods putting isn't up to the mark these days.
    GMAC can raise his game for the RC and Kaymer has probably been living on the range with his coach in order to get his game in order.
    The only thing we can be sure of is that it will be close and the crowd control needs to be impeccable. Bring it on!

  • Comment number 46.

    40- There's nothing on the BBC's website, but since Sky took over The RC in 1995, the Beeb have continued to show highlights (and Sky have to offer highlights to a terestrial broadcaster by law). That said, with the days play not likely to conclude until the evening or later UK time, what I would worry about is what time they would be broadcast at- could easily be the wee small hours or even the following morning.

  • Comment number 47.

    I'm hoping that Sky coverage isn't its usual advert fest with ads every 5 minutes

    Ruined the coverage the last time and no doubt will be much the same this time around - that said wouldn't miss it for anything and can't wait to watch the drama unfold

    Don't see there being much in it and fancy a 14-14

  • Comment number 48.

    - The Boike-Meister General, he has won a tournament recently, he has been having a good run, people think hes gonna play well and I can just see him crack a little, i hope to god he doesnt but like you say, if the pressure is on in the singles will he come through? I just have a gut instinct.

  • Comment number 49.

    How great is it that now finally after the Westwoods and Donalds we finally have a REAL number one in the world...one that can dominate for years and WILL win many many majors.

    and its a wee young Irish man!

    Go team Rors!

  • Comment number 50.

    49- agreed. Having a # 1 who didn't seem to actually win anything of note was getting a bit embarassing.

  • Comment number 51.

    @8 wcihis

    Rumour has it you prefer the "pulled" shot to the fade :-)

  • Comment number 52.

    just catching up on posts,but it would be great to see Kaymer hole the putt to win or retain the Ryder Cup,his confidence would comeback and he would surge back up the world rankings and be the player that he was a couple of seasons ago.
    It would also knock another American out of the Top 10

  • Comment number 53.

    52- you may be intersted to know stricker is due to exit the Top 10 this week regardless- unless Steve has a really good finish, Oostheuizen will depose him at #10

  • Comment number 54.

    Does anybody think DL111 will get his team to grow those "tashes"which a lot of the Americans have been sporting this year,just to try and show the Europeans that they are singing of the same song sheet.
    Personnely all I can see from the american team is tears on a Sunday afternoon,as Europe actually come from behind to win/draw the match in the singles and retain the Ryder cup.

  • Comment number 55.

    @53 Ross1980

    Cheers for that, I didn't know.

    I feel a lot is being made of Kaymers form,when IMHO i am a little bit more worried about Molinari and his form, but that seems to be getting overlooked

  • Comment number 56.

    @ TheRealJimmy

    I know it's early but here are my picks :

    BMW

    Bubba Watson
    Luke Donald
    Webb Simpson


    KLM

    Nicolas Colsaerts
    Anders Hansen

    and......Martin Kaymer

    You may all laugh, but I believe on current form (chose winners 3 out the last 4 weeks on prediction league, I think) that this will see the return (albeit might be slow) of Kaymer :-)

    P.s You heard it here first

  • Comment number 57.

    Manina - Why worried about Molinaris form? He had a good run at Gleneagles and has generally had a good season, I like him as a player and think if his putter was a bit sharper could even make it into the top 10. See him as an ideal 4 somes player and would expect and hope he plays in both sets. I can also see him challenging for Majors over the next few years and along with Peter Hanson i think he's a very underrated player

  • Comment number 58.

    Post 1 has an excellent point. Everything is political and it annoys me intensely when people are blind to the realisation that sport takes place in a context and is not somehow isolated as an entity divorced from the world in which we live.
    Nevertheless, whilst golf has in large part been highjacked by the more affluent and the corporate eg 35 years ago everyone could afford to play at turnberry or ballybunnion now it costs an arm and a leg - we must accept that it is still not entirely exclusive with the many public courses and efforts to encourage all to play and watch the game. It is a tragic state of affairs that Sky has the rights to the Ryder Cup and not the BBC - what a wonderful job the Beeb did with the Olympics and what value for £11/month as campared with £40 odd for Sky. See the politics in sport now?

  • Comment number 59.

    @5 TRJ

    It might just be me,but he just seems to be "under" the radar a little bit,but this I suppose could also be a good thing as there will be less pressure on him in the RC,as towards all the media pressure that is being heaped on poor old Kaymer.

    I just believe Kaymer earned his place on the team and instead of knocking him for being" off "form,maybe a little bit of positiveness(?) would do him a world of good and we could see the return of a hugely talented (and European ) player

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    #59 - I Hope and believe that you are right, In the fullness of time i dont doubt that we'll start to see Kaymer, and Also Paul Casey challenging amongs the worlds elite in big events.

    Picks
    Bubba, Scott, Woods
    Hanson, Colsaerts, Wood

  • Comment number 62.

    Ah, the Ryder Cup, the most over rated competition of all time. Woods does not care about it, so that is another good reason the Europeans should win.

  • Comment number 63.

    #60 - so why are you reading / commenting on a GOLF blog. Troll on, please

  • Comment number 64.

    All this talk of who should be partners etc is nonsense, just wait and see what happens and watch and enjoy it!

    Lets discuss stuff we can help each other on...who can help me with this....my pro told me i would be more consistent golfer if i changed to playing a fade instead of a draw. i have played with a draw for almost 20 years, is it worth the change? anyone else ever totally changed it up?

  • Comment number 65.

    Comment 60 is so silly on so many levels!

  • Comment number 66.

    How can a competition be over-rated? Surely everyone rates it purely based upon their own personal enjoyment of the event, and thus its rated exactly as highly as it should be?

  • Comment number 67.

    #62 Thank you for your valued opinion. Aren't you the guy who said that Mickleson was going to win the Open?

  • Comment number 68.

    60, choperado - I'm sure I won't be the only person to post along these lines, but that is an idiotic post. Perhaps you should go and find a blog covering a "real" sport where people run, jump or throw?

    I also wouldn't be surprised if you posted it soley to get a reaction. Well done, you got one

  • Comment number 69.

    Sparticus - Far be it from me to tell any pro they are wrong, But for us amateurs a swing that is repeatable and does the same thing every time is far preferable to trying to designate a specific ball flight. I'd always just go with whatever is most likely to hit the green or the fairway. So in your case unless you have a bad case of the snap hooks i'd probably stick with the draw.

  • Comment number 70.

    Sparticus, #64- My initial reaction would be if you are happy hitting a draw, and can do so consistently and predictably, do not change it.

    Martin kaymer's been discussed alot on this thread- look at what happened to him when he tried to change his swing to promote a draw rather than a fade; he's never really recovered. It's never a given you'll get your 'old' swing back if the 'new' swing doesn't work out. Even a coach as highly-rated as Butch Harmon has never tried to take some of the quirks out of Dustin Johnson's swing (such as the cupped wrist at the top of the backswing) because he knew Dj was happy playing that way.

    Jack Nicklaus prefered to play with a fade as he felt it gave him better distance control. But most people aren't Jack Nicklaus. Like I say, if you're happy with your constency with a draw, I'd be thankful for that and keep it!

  • Comment number 71.

    Post 49 sees jamesmathew up to his usual tricks, although slightly disappointing to see that he has a follower at post 50. If you don't like the system whereby Donald and Westwood got to No. 1, then let's hear your proposal for a better system?

  • Comment number 72.

    It puzzles me what posts such as 1, 60 and 62 are trying to achieve - is it just old-fashioned trolling? Ah well, each to their own.

    Re post 1: I played with a banker on Monday and we have an MP as a member. I'd like to have a conversation with them, but they always spend their time laughing at me, rubbing their hands together in an evil manner crying "mwoaaa-ha-ha-haaaa" whilst planning world domination. Still, at least it gives me time to get some putting practice in.

    Re post 60: Surely the accuracy element of golf has some war uses - such as finding the little hole that caused the Death Star to explode in Star Wars.

    Re post 62: Thanks for telling me that - maybe I won't bother watching and get some DIY done instead.

    Hmmmm ... Better get some work done

  • Comment number 73.

    ... and the idiocy continues with post 62. What nonsense. One of the European players - I forget who but I think Oliver Wilson - said that the Ryder Cup was so special that he would pay to play in it. The US players who started talking about wanting to get paid (Mahan and Woods amongst them I think) should be ashamed. It's not like they are short of a few bob is it? Thankfully that storm seesm to have died down

    Sparticus - re the draw / fade. One reason that many people say that a fade is preferable to a draw is that its easier to control. It has backspin rather than overspin so will land softer and not run on. As Trevino said - "you can talk to a slice but a hook won't listen". But if it's not your natural shot then I would try and manufacture it. Stay with what you know is my advice.

  • Comment number 74.

    "72.At 13:27 5th Sep 2012, eight for six for one wrote:
    It puzzles me what posts such as 1, 60 and 62 are trying to achieve - is it just old-fashioned trolling?"

    Good day Ed, I mean 84641. In short, yes, probably.

    So is post 49.

    So are 99% of jamesmathew's posts

  • Comment number 75.

    I can't answer for Jamesmatthew, BMG, but i will give my own response. I think the systme's fine by and large, but thanks to a quirkiness of the system we've spent a good portion of the last 12 months with a #1 player whose never threatened to win a major.

    Now, I'll start by saying I don't dislike Luke in the slightest. But most players careers are judged on their performance in majors, not a run of top-10 performances in the Middle-of-Nowhere Open. Luke got to number one by doing alot of the latter and almost none of the former. He doesn't even have the run of near-misses/chokes (delete according to preference) that Lee Westwood does.

    Luke first got to #1 in May 2011. Since that time we've had 7 majors played and he's not come close to winning any of them. Do you really think therefore he should be held up as the best player the sport has to offer? The fact is, that Rory is showing far more like the standard of play that I personally would expect from the # 1 player (3 wins in two events with all the best players of the world in the field).

    I get the feeling you won't agree with my assessment, but that's how I feel.

  • Comment number 76.

    Ross1980 #75, One thing I will say is that I respect the fact that you have at least got a reasoned argument, which is something I have yet to see from old Einstein mathew.

    I do actually agree with a lot of what you say. It is a bit of a quirk that Donald got to (and stayed at number one). But there are a few reasons IMO why it seems more quirky than it is. For instance:

    Comparison with other sports. EG Tennis. For the most part (not always) the #1 player in tennis is a major winner, and there have been a few dominant ones (Sampras, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic).

    Winning ratio. In golf, you usually lose, however good you are. In tennis, for instance, the top player will usually at least make a semi final birth if not win.

    Comparison to Woods. Most of us grew up or have lived through the Woods era, where one or more majors per year, several other wins per year and a 30 or 40% winning ratio seemed normal. It wasn't. But now we expect the #1 player to rack up lots of major wins and dominate like Woods did.

    I think the norm (if there is such a thing) will be somewhere between the two - the #1 ranked player will perform consistently and will probably have a major or two. Rather like McIroy is right now I suppose.

    I agree that a major cements a golfer's status, and that Luke Donald (and to a lesser degree, Westwood) has attained #1 without really showing anything like dominance. However, remember that he won both money lists last year.

    I challenge you to come up with a system that gets over this issue without throwing up any other, bigger deficiency. You could weight it in favour of majors, but then players like Bubba, Oosthuizen, Schwartzel, O'Meara and whoever would have made number 1, which would be even worse.

    In the absense of a truly dominant player, the world number 1 will end up being the most consistent.

  • Comment number 77.

    #75 Ross1980

    OK, in which case who, in your opinion, was the World #1 in place of Luke and can you outline the objective method you used to come to your conclusion?

  • Comment number 78.

    @ the real Jimmy
    Picks euro s. Dyson, p Hanson, juust Luiten,
    US D Johnson, Sergio,Woods

  • Comment number 79.

    Ross - Luke got to number 1 by winning 6 events in 2 years on the 2 major tours, this included some big events like a WGC and twice at the BMW, the Euro tour flagship event. Its therefore a fallacy to say he made it to number 1 with consistent top tens, he did it by winning.

    Now i will concede that its is a blot on his record that he's not figured in majors and i will concede that the standard of Mcilroys golf is higher at present than we have seen since Woods spiraled downwards a few years ago, but that shouldnt diminish the fact that the over the period Luke spent at number 1 he was there deservedly.

  • Comment number 80.

    cheers guys. i reckon most of you are right about not changing. i'm doing okay as i am and i'm happy enough. hard to ignore the pro sometimes though but i feel he thinks i have more time than i do to work on my game, i should remind him of my office day job where i cant swing the bats about! although i do some cheeky putting sometimes! dont tell my Boss!

  • Comment number 81.

    The arguement that Donald and Westwood didnt deserve Number one is daft. What should they have done?! got to number one and then have the tour say 'hold on a second, you have got here by being the best golfer over the last few years but we dont think you should be number one, hang about number two please until Rory arrives?!'

  • Comment number 82.

    @Ross1980.....Welcome to the sensitiveness of BMG...every time I make a similar comment as your #75 (which I totally agree with every bit of it) BMG comes in and says I just hate Luke and Lee....which is not the case. I merely want to see a proper number 1 who is exciting and winning majors at the top of our sport...not someone like Luke who is the most consistent player in world but never actually wins much. (5 PGA titles in his career to Rorys 3 this year so far) or Lee who wins these events in Asia with a below average field and then chokes his way to a top 5 in the odd major.

    Rory is a breath of fresh air and finally we have a true star at number 1!

  • Comment number 83.

    BMG- I would actually rather it were more biased in favour of Majors than Rank-and-file events- either that or scrap ranking system of subsidising the weaker events/lesser tours with artificially high ranking points. It's your opinion that favouring majors will lead to a worse ranking system, but it's not like by giving more weight to majors you'd end up with Todd Hamilton becoming #1 as a cosnequnce.

    77- I can't provide a totally objective measure to demonstrate my totally subjective opinion that Luke wasn't the best player in the world during that period. I'm not even suggestng that to be #1 you need to be a major champ but Luke's dubious record in Majors ought to count against him more than it did. I haven't got the necessary stats to hand to show who was the best major performer in the 2 years since, say Jan 2010, but I think that's be a good palce to start.

    To be honest, until McIlroy found his mojo again, I don't think theres been a clear number 1 golfer since Woods had his coming together with the fire-hydrant. And that's coming from someone who's no fan of Woods.

  • Comment number 84.

    #82 jamesmathew

    The trouble is, you never seem make well reasoned posts like #75. I don't know whether it's your intention but you come across to me (and it's only my opinion, others are available) as somewhat agressive and opinionated.

    To criticise BMG for a lack of sensitiveness (sic) in a post where you use a phrase like "chokes his way to a top 5 in the odd major" is hilariously ironic.

  • Comment number 85.

    jamesmathew, i can see your point but you have to admit Lee and Luke are top golfers. I'd be surprised if Luke doesnt win a Major next year. i do admire how you argue against the little boys club that exist on here aswell!

  • Comment number 86.

    Ross - You certainly arent the 1st person to suggest that the points weighting on majors should be even greater, but when Bubba won the masters he jumped from something like 21st to 4th. The rankings are meant to be a measure of how good a player someone is, there is a strong argument to suggest that you cant go from being the 21st best player in the world to being the 4th best player in the world in the space of one week, and therefore the weighting for winning a major was too high, and not too low.

    And anyway if you were to measure a players quality based on performance in majors why would you even look at the world rankings? Why not just look at their performance in a majors?

    Still i must congratulate you on making a valid and well reasoned argument on the matter, I think you are the 1st person to actually do so in an articulate way

  • Comment number 87.

    This whole argument about number one really falls down to statistics. LD and LW have shown their consistancies that have got them to the top of the rankings, RM has got there by showing he can win, they are all different in their own ways and all deserve to be there. Its good to see British guys at the top and I would have the three of them pass around the top 3 spots all day long. Looking to the RC does it not show we have a match winner in RM and we have guys who are gonna go about their business and get us valuable points?

  • Comment number 88.

    Jimmy, I'd be intersted to know the releative field strengths of the 6 events that Luke won in that period. AFAIK, the only two PGA Tour wins he had in that peirod was the WGC Matchplay (where he doesn't have to beat the whole field) and Disney World (which most of the top players were absent from, though I will conceed there was a alot on the line and he showed alot of b@lls putting together the back 9 he did that day).

  • Comment number 89.

    86- Jimmy, using the rankings as a means of determining the best golfer is actually a fairly recent phenomenon. The traditrional criteria for invites to the various majors was performances in the other majors plus positions of the current and previous money lists (in addition to qualifying the The Open & US Open). I don't think Jack Nicklaus was ever World Number 1 in any criteria other than by general acclimiation

  • Comment number 90.

    In terms of Field strenght Ross the BMW which he won twice is the strongest field on The European tour, The Scottish Open is always a decent event, You missed the Transitions on the PGA tour which was again a very decent event.

    I dont really understand argument about not having to beat the whole field on a matchplay event, only 1 man can win just as with any stroke play event, the odds of winning aren't reduced by it being matchplay.

    Its notable that you say that you mention money lists being an "olden days" criteria for measuring the best golfer. I guess winning both money lists should count for something then?

  • Comment number 91.

    @Sparticus ... yes ofc Luke and Lee are fantastic golfers and will always be remembered as some of the best golfers of their time...but like Monty they just lack that major win. I for one would love the next two majors go to Luke and Lee as no one deserves a major win more...but unfortunately I think Lee's time has passed and for Luke it isn't getting any easier.

    It is an interesting debate tho as we have seen there are two sides to it...and its not just mine and everyone elses here...some people actually agree and see my point. Luke nor Lee will ever see the number one spot again...IMO!

  • Comment number 92.

    Not sure why but my attempt to steer this away from World Number 1 status hasn't shown up...
    (If you can't beat them - join them!)
    Do most people realise (I'm talking normal people, not jamesmathew ;-) that the ranking already favour Majors over run-of-the-mill tournaments?
    A 'lesser' tournament ranking can increase slightly if a large amount of high-ranked players enter, but generally 2nd place in a major works out the same as a win at the BMW - or winning both the Australian and S African Opens combined. I don't see an issue with that being unfair.
    It is calculated over 2 years though - if more weighting is required, maybe better to be over a rolling 12 months PLUS the previous year's major results. Eg. currently would be major results from 2011, plus all events from Sept 6th 2011 to Sept 5th 2012?

  • Comment number 93.

    Don't think Europe will win the Ryder Cup. Don't even think it will be close.

  • Comment number 94.

    92- yes I do realise that Majors are ranked highest, with 100 pts- it's the only official definition of a Major, as it happens.

    Jimmy- the point about not beating the whole field is exactly that- such are the quirks of 18 hole single-elimination matchplay that the number of potential challengers to you winning is necessarily reduced.

    Anyways, everything I've said re: OWGR #1 is my own opinion on the matter, nothing more. I'm not suggesting for one second that I should be put in charge of World Golf or the OWGR or anything. I'll happily let the thread get back on the intended topic.

  • Comment number 95.

    #93- care to elaborate?

  • Comment number 96.

    At the risk of drowning in the perennial Luke Donald, #1 and Majors debate. Luke Donald is a poor driver of the ball. He is not just a short driver of the ball he is not particularly straight either. Some may argue that at least 2 of the majors (USPGA and US Open) place perhaps too high a premium on the driving aspect of golf. Augusta is now set up to really favour long bombers off the tee.
    Luke's strong assets of excellent iron play and superlative short game which can, for the other 48 weeks of the year, mitigate his problems off the tee cannot unfortunately do so for majors. Golf is an all round game but due to major course set ups Luke will always be disadvantaged in these tournaments. It is nothing to do with choking or being an unworthy #1, it is simply a result of the specifics of major tournaments. To draw a parallel in tennis, no-one suggests that Federer or Sampras were unworthy #1s because they could not win at Roland Garros. Unfortunately for Luke Donald at least 3 of the Grand Slams are played on what for him would be the equivalent of clay.
    Europe to win RC by 2 points btw.

  • Comment number 97.

    Sorry Ross - I should have pointed out that i dont understand the relavence of not having to beat every player, I did of course understand the literal meaning.

  • Comment number 98.

    # 96

    like the assessment - it would then suggest that THE Open is his only realistic chance - where he missed his first five cuts

    best result T5 at Turnberry and never really in contention - suppose his errant driving into long and whispy rough would see him off though

  • Comment number 99.

    Cut and Paste Alert!

    Medinah gears up for Ryder Cup (... an extract from PGA.com last year)

    As the home captain, Davis Love III will have plenty of say in how the course is set up, and if he has his way we can expect plenty of birdies.

    "With a tree lined, major championship style of golf course, I don't think you have to do too much to this golf course. Firm and fast greens makes the case for itself.

    "So I don't know if there's a way for it to be an advantage one way or another. We are both going to have super talented, long hitting teams that make a lot of birdies. It's more, I think, what's the most exciting thing to watch, and to me, that's making birdies rather than putting for pars. And you know, if I was setting up the PGA TOUR courses, I would lean more towards birdies than putting for pars. That's kind of how I would lean; more the way the PGA Championship is set up rather than super tough and impossible."

    The key question, however, is:

    How firm and and how fast will Davis Love III have the greens at Medinah, with a view to maybe "tricking up" the course and giving his team an advantage (.... a bit like Sam Torrance did at the Belfry when he narrowed the fairways and lengthened the rough to put the emphasis on accuracy off the tee, or when Azinger thinned out the rough at around 300 yards at Valhalla so that his big hitters could really "put it out there")?

    Remember: At the Barclays, where the weather was bright and breezy and the greens were firm, fast and furious (running at nearly 13 - 14 on the Stimpmeter), the world's undisputed number 1 and multiple-major winner, Rory McIlroy finished on -1, 9 shots back, T24th and almost last in the putting statistics.

    He said afterwards:

    "I think my putting just sort of let me down on the weekend a bit, but I think everyone was finding it tough out there on the greens."

    McIlroy said, "They are not as smooth as we are used to at times. They were a little firm, they were a little bumpy. But I felt like I played well enough to be in contention, anyway, and you know, the putter just wasn’t working throughout the week. So I think that was the biggest disappointment of the week."

    (That said, of course, Tiger also three-putted four times in one round at the Barclays, the first time he's done that in his career.)

    At the Deutsche Bank, however, where the greens were much more receptive and even-paced (running at around 10 - 11), Rory led the field in putting and in birdies, suggesting that if Davis Love III goes for soft greens he will play right into Rory's strong suit (i.e. target golf, just like at the "exceptional" US Open 2011 at Congressional and the "exceptional" US PGA 2012 at Kiawah Island) and possibly pay the ultimate penalty .... losing valuable points and forward momentum early in the game!

    Another key question is:

    When and where will G-Mac (... remember him, major winner and golfing stalwart at Celtic Manor, who is now a distant shadow of his former self) turn his game around and find some decent form before it's too late?

    G-Mac missed the cut at the Barclays and shot a final round 75 at the Deutsche Bank (... where even his non-selected playing partner Padraig Harrington managed a 67) to finish way down the field. Unfortunately, G-Mac's long game is short and crooked and his short game is long and extremely crooked!

    Not only that, but I'm becoming increasingly worried about Justin Rose (... one of my favourite players as you well know), whose putting ... indeed his all-round game and confidence ... have deserted him over the last few weeks. Justin seems to have an absolutely dreadful round just lurking around the corner these days! It's a case of "expect the unexpected ... when you least expect it"!!

    Cause for concern? Are the alarm bells ringing in JMO's head ... just like they are in mine?

  • Comment number 100.

    #92 drivethetenth

    Just to be clear, the weighting of events in the calculation of World Rankings drops off slowly over time until it drops off completely after 2 years. So, for example RM earned 100 points for winning the PGA and it'll be worth that for a few weeks. He also got 100 points for winning the US Open last year, but that's now only worth 45.65 points in the current calculation, as it was well over a year ago. It's all documented on the Official World Golf Ranking site.

    This seems a lot better than tennis where you keep the full points for 52 weeks, then it disappears completely.

    I think a lot of this debate comes from people's perception of the phrase "World Number One". Some people take this as meaning "Clearly and Obviously the Best Golfer in the World", whereas all any objective method can do is give each player a score, line them up in score order and tap the first one on the shoulder.

    With the latter meaning, there must always be a World #1. If you don't think it should have been Donald/Westwood/whoever, then please suggest who you think was better qualified, for there must always be one (ooh, I'm about to get all "Highlander").

 

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