Who Will Be Named the Team USA Ryder Cup Captain in 2020?

Team USA has yet to choose their leader. There are five players in the running according to various sites, however I believe that there are only two should be considered. I feel either would provide the type of leadership that Team USA needs to defeat the powerful Europeans.

As we know, Team USA has not performed well despite being the odds on favourites. It is a perfect example of “it looks good on paper”, but in reality their chemistry wanes and as a result are coming up short. Well, maybe in 2020 at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, Team USA will pick a Captain that will provide the type of leadership required to unite these great individuals into a cohesive unit. Continue reading

Davis Love III – 2016 US Ryder Cup Captain

Davis Love III will be the 2016 US Ryder Cup Captain. This is his second try at the helm; is first being a loss at Medinah in 2012. As a reminder, the 39th Ryder Cup was held at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois, U.S. The team captains were Davis Love III and José María Olazábal for Europe. As defending champions, the European team was down 10-6 going into the last day! Depending on which side of the fence you sit, the results were either a miracle or a meltdown! The Europeans rallied and won the match 14 1/2 to 13 1/2. It was the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history!

There is little question that “how” Love failed to keep his team together on the last day will be a focal point of future conversations. There will be plenty of second guessing and armchair quarterbacks who think they have the answer. But, the decision is made and now is the time for the potential US players to start thinking as a team.

Names like Fred Couples (who I actually would prefer) and Paul Azinger (2008 winner at the Ryder Cup as US Captain) were bantered about. In the big scheme of things…..it does not matter.

Adam Sarson makes a great point:

The role of the captain at the Ryder Cup is to put your team in the best possible place for success. Love did that at Medinah and it didn’t work out, while Watson very clearly didn’t do that and unsurprisingly, it didn’t work either. The PGA of America tried to hit the home run with Watson and it didn’t work, so they went with the safe, reliable play in Love but all of it will mean nothing if the players don’t perform better at Hazeltine and get a little bit of luck along the way as well.

The players have to take ownership for how they play at the Ryder Cup. Past records are fine, finger-pointing is not helpful, and hoping for a magic solution just does not cut it. If the US Ryder Cup Team plans to beat the Europeans in 2016, the players are the ones who have to step up.

The ifs, ands, and buts will change 50 times before they players tee it up at Hazeltine National Golf Club from 30 September to 2 October, 2016. The only thing I am confident about is that it will be interesting to watch Davis Love III navigate his way through all the minutia in attempts to bring the Ryder Cup back to the US.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

The Ageless Fred Couples

Fred Couples is a fan favourite! His calm demeanor and unflappable disposition are traits that all golfers envy. Turning pro in 1980, “Boom Boom” has thrilled the golfing world with 15 PGA Tour Wins, 11 Champions Tour wins and a plethora of other wins outside of the PGA. During the 1990s, he was considered one of the players to beat. His silky smooth swing and long drives never appeared to falter.

After winning the Shell Houston Open in 2003, Couples fell off the radar. Fading into the sunset, this Major Champion’s career seemed to be over. However, once he joined the Champions Tour something strange happened. He started winning again. Adding two more Majors on the Champions Tour for good measure, he became a fan favorite all over again.

In 2013, Couples was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Long overdue, in my opinion, it was not until his career was revitalized on the Champions Tour did Couples regain enough notoriety to be nominated for the induction.  He was very proud of that moment and said:

“Thanks for taking a kid from Seattle and putting him into the Hall of Fame. This is the coolest night of my life.” – Fred Couples, on his 2013 Induction

Interestingly, even during his darkest times as a player, Couples always played well at the Masters. Not any other Major. only the Masters. Finishing 6th in 2010, he is always in the mix. Is it possible he could win his second Masters? It would be great to see.

Throughout Fred Couples’ career, he has been plagued with a back injury. There is little doubt, that his long powerful swing attributes to his medical woes, but he always seems to recover long enough to compete. His current challenge is to keep healthy long enough to continue playing on the Champions Tour. Beating Billy Andrea in a playoff at the The Shaw Charity Classic  this weekend is strong evidence that “Boom Boom” is continuing his winning ways.

Fred Couples has a very interesting swing. The most important aspect of how he generates power is how long he holds the club on his down swing before he releases his hands towards the intended target. It really is amazing. The following video really demonstrates the power he generates in a very short distance.

He also releases his club head “down the line”. He explains the importance of not following your hips during the golf swing, but clearing the hips and releasing the club head on its swing path.

Fred Couples has provided many memorable moments from the golf course such as: his only PGA Tour Major win at the Masters in 1992, his play during five Ryder Cup teams, four Presidents Cup teams, and, of course, his crazy long drives. For me (actually saw this shot live on TV), his most memorable golf shot is his hole-in-three on the 17th hole, TPC Sawgrass, at the 1999 Players Championship.

“I don’t really know how hard I was trying on my third shot,” Couples, a two-time Players Champion, admitted years later (he shot a 77 in that opening round, by the way). “If I don’t make that shot, I think I shoot 80, 81 and probably miss the cut. Three days later, I was in fourth place.” (PGA.com)

Fred “Boom Boom” Couples is one of my all time favourite professional golfers. I enjoy watching his silky smooth swing and his patient approach to playing golf. He may not be the best-ever, however he is definitely one of the more entertaining players.

Who is one of your all-time favorite golfers? I would like to know!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

The Masters – Day Two

Say goodbye to many of the favourites! The second day of the Masters was crazy. The veterans struggled and the rookies shined. Talk about a role reversal for many of the active players. This is great for the Masters and golf in general. It will allow some younger players to make their mark and share the headlines with the stalwart favourites!

Old LionHowever, this is not the real headline for Day Two of the Masters. The actual headline is “the aging veterans bare their teeth”; great players from the past who always seem to shine during the big tournaments. Given their age, the were paid lip service as to their chances of winning let alone making the cut, yet here they are….in the running for another green jacket.

These timeless gladiators always play well at the right times, but who are they:

Fred Couples – 54 years old, 1992 Masters Champion. With his silky smooth swing and gentlemen persona has been a fan favourite forever. Currently tied for 7th place, he has a great chance to make a run on moving day!

Vijay Singh – 51 years old, 2000 Masters Champion. His struggles of late have not affected his performance at this Major. Winning eight tournaments in 2004, he is a proven champion and has the ability to shoot low. He is currently sitting tied for 26th.

Larry Mize – 55 years old, 1987 Masters Champion. Mize was not a big name in golf when he played. He was a journeyman player who occasionally rose to the top of the pack. Regardless, as a past champion, he is playing well and tied for 26th.

Bernhard Langer – 56 years old, 2-time Masters Champion (1985, 1993). Langer has been at the top of golf for a long time. His timeless swing, cool composure and fierce competitive spirit have enabled him to stay competitive through the years. He is a fan favourite and tied for 26th.

Miguel Angel Jimenez – 50 years old, 42 professional wins. Never a Major Champion, Jimenez earned his way to the Masters through solid play over the past year. His cigar smoking, devil-may-care attitude enamours him with the crowd. Currently sitting tied for 46th, it is unlikely he will win, but the fans will be the big winners watching him play.

Sandy Lyle – 56 years old, 1985 Masters Champion. This Scotsman was a journeyman player. He represented the European team five times on the Ryder cup with two wins. He currently is tied for 46th.

These six are part of the elusive half-century club. There were all great players and continue to demonstrate that playing golf at an elite level is not limited to younger players. The 2014 Masters does not have the drama for 2013, but definitely has the excitement!

The golfing world would be turned upside down if one of these were to player win the first Major of 2014. It would be interesting to see the media spin on how an aging veteran topped of the golfing world. What do you think?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!