The U.S. seems strong but it’s worth mentioning that a few guys who look like solid bets to be on the team — Bubba Webb and Tiger to name three — haven’t had much success in the event. I think it’s a coin-flip as most Ryder Cups are these days. But in the meantime keep talking Monty! It only adds to the anticipation.
Bigly (if I am using that correctly). Significantly. Props to Chamblee for qualifying but qualifying is one thing and contending is another. The nod goes to Watson and it’s not really close. Adding to that Brandel’s qualifier was just 18 holes. Tom Watson contended into Sunday! These two are really not quite comparable. Watson’s was far far more impressive.
I’m guessing he’ll dig deep here to make the Ryder Cup team on points. That driving range “episode” — it was hardly an episode. It showed SOMEBODY WHO CARES and somebody who uses the range as Francesco Molinari does as a place to try out the shots you will actually need in competition. So if the shots are lousy you have a reason to be upset. As for the poor play in Germany he’s too smart and too talented not to learn from that. I’m bullish on him in every way.
That is incisive Alan and I agree with all of it. The difference between 63-hole and 72-hole golf is the difference between being No. 50 and being a consistent winner and contender of which there’s maybe a half dozen tops.
He can win again at a regular Tour event against a B-field. It won’t mean that much to him. Carnoustie — The Open! With his kids there! — meant the world to him. Too much. As for this week from the little I know of the course it just doesn’t strike me as a good course for where his game is.
Justin Thomas. He is the game’s most complete player and comes in with a ton of momentum. And a softish parkland course like Bellerive is right in his wheelhouse. Sleeper: I took Schauffele at Carnoustie and I’m afraid his profile is too high now to qualify as a dark horse so I’m going with Luke List. He has one of the best long-games in golf and early word is that Bellerive is a bomber’s paradise.
Tiger Woods. Plenty will focus on a disappointing finish at Firestone but even this week I saw plenty to be encouraged by. A couple of days of intense practice and we’ll see a dialed-in Tiger in Missouri.
I’ll always think of him as a savvy negotiator (witness the mega-TV contract he nailed down for the Ryder Cup with NBC). In terms of challenges there’s the matter of boosting the PGA Championship to the status of something more than the afterthought major and of finding the right venues for the newly rejiggered schedule.
I guess the question of “Who is the favorite?” on a weekly basis will become only more meaningful in an era of broad betting interest in golf. It’s not like picking horses. Having said that Woods’s past success at Firestone is not any kind of predictor of whether he can win this week.
It’s definitely something to consider. Also worth considering will be the many people on that bubble who haven’t recently played their way into contention. Getting there regardless of the outcome has to be worth something to Jim Furyk.
Monty’s claim was enough of a hedge (“Well almost ever”) that I wouldn’t bother trying to refute it. And I agree that the Europeans are very very strong this year. And that their strength has been overlooked/downplayed amid the hype surrounding all the youthful talent the Americans will field. Sometime ago our own Alan Shipnuck boldly predicted a U.S. romp. I disagreed with him then and I disagree now. I expect this to be close and I expect Europe to win.