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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Woods is Missing!

Always the man to put the "i" in team, Tiger seems to have something missing on his rain jacket. Does his Nike contract preclude this? What do the other players think about this? I'm sure they are thrilled that he gets the preferential tailoring treatment. Answers on a postcard please...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another sunny day in Wales

Nick Faldo in his inappropriate closing remarks at the last Ryder Cup made the Welsh Tourism Board apoplectic. He said "Don't forget your waterproofs" and this after the WTB had spent millions securing the event. Well, the politically incorrect Mr. Faldo could prove to be correct as the weather forecast from Friday is rain every day. That said the weather forecast is about as reliable as the US local forecast, so we'll see.

Quite why the US team sought to block out the sun on a dreary Welsh day on their arrival is unclear. Five of the team came in disguise with their sunglasses firmly on. Perhaps Captain Pavin didn't see them with their "shields up" as they were standing behind him. We thought he was in charge and yet he allows this to happen for the official arrival. Oh, yes, he has banned tweeting, but wearing sunglasses on a dull grey Welsh day made his team appear aloof and it's only Day 1.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Looks good on you though!

That's the worst jacket I ever saw....looks good on you though! It seemed the most appropriate line to steal from Caddyshack having seen these simply awful jackets the US team may be forced to wear should the weather in Wales turn nasty. What was Captain Corey thinking or was his arm twisted by The Captainess? I, for one, can't wait to see if Tiger and Phil put these on. Along with the purple cardigan featuring large red logo the US team is going to make quite a sight. Calling Marty Hackel...white courtesy phone!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Has the Ryder Cup jumped the Shark?

Fonzie was the first to do it, TV comedy Friends did it and now the Ryder Cup has joined the illustrious roll call of shark jumpers. There are not one, but two instances this week that conclusively prove that the governing bodies of the event have lost the plot.

The first, reported by the vigilant Stephanie Wie is that the wives of the players have been given a $7,500 dress allowance for the opening Gala Night dinner. No, that's not for the whole team, that's each. Just another great example of how out of touch the governing bodies are with the state of the game. Twenty-four millionaires are given a total of $180,000 for dresses - in Wales that would buy a row of houses, not a row of sequins!

I'm not quite sure what seed entrepreneur, Samuel Ryder would make of such an outrageous waste of money. I suspect he was a more frugal man. When he came up with the simple idea for The Ryder Cup in 1927 it was a match. Just a match between Great Britain & Ireland and the United States of America. Professional golfers playing a good course in a team format designed to find the best twelve. No wives, no hoopla, just the players and their caddies walking down the fairways. And now look at it, $7,500 dresses for the wives when the economy is in dire straights, 4 vice captains on each team, inferior golf courses and more hangers on than a U2 concert.

I wish we could get back to Mr. Ryder's original idea of 12 v. 12. I know it's not going to happen and that's a shame. The money generated by the event supports European Tour golf (when in Europe) and the PGA of America (when in the US) but one can look back and dream of a purer time in the game when the game was more important than the haute couture.

Of course another week couldn't go by without a Monty story. This time he is reported to have requested that the European Team room be soundproofed. The possibility of an American overhearing his inspirational nightly team talk is just too much for him and so, as above, more money wasted on a ludicrous request. Just who is saying "yes" to this request...we deserve to know. And while you are rebuilding the room please ensure that all the green M&Ms are removed from the European team room (they deserve yet another Spinal Tap moment)

Note - Surely, the $7,500 dress allowance will be spun by the time you read this...either in charitable donations or disappearing altogether

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

FedEx Cup - The Reset Explainer

You simply cannot make this stuff up. The Tour's website has a 750 word explanation of how the "points reset" works. More complicated than any set of "Play Offs " in any sport anywhere in the world and roundly criticized by the players and confusing all who watch such things and absolutely guaranteeing that players that have no rightful place in the Majors actually qualify for the Majors. Fear not, the FedEx deal is up in 2012 and word is they are not happy and heaven knows who would step into their shoes on this confusing mess. Read it Here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tour Championship sans Tiger

No Tiger at the Tour Championship repeating his non-kissing of the Trophy. ( I can't bring myself to capitalizing the word Tour!) I guess that isn't too much of a surprise after his, er, slow start to the season, but it's still a big disappointment for the Ponte Vedra VPs. The next time the world sees TW is at the Ryder Cup, where for some reason everyone seems to think the Euros will win hands down. Well, that's not going to happen and the design of the event is such that it always comes down to the final day singles. Like Gentle Ben famously said "I've got a good  feeling!"

The FedEx Play Off system still favors those who play well for 3 weeks, rather than those who play well for the season and the expected moaning from the players who didn't make it is audible. Notables missing the East Lake event include Ryder Cuppers Cink, Fowler and McIlroy. Read their comments here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Packaging the FedEx Cup

It's opening day of the NFL and the 3rd event of the FedEx Cup, The BMW. The mere presence of the NFL impacts every sport and the final two weeks of the FedEx Cup will not be spared the mercy of mighty professional football. The PGA Tour needs to find a solution to this. Golf's version of the "Play Offs" lasts 4 weeks and going up against the NFL is just bad business. I'm sure the CMO of FedEx is hanging on the Nielsen data for the final events and checking if they are getting the bang for their substantial buck. There is a solution and that's to move up the events on the calendar and many people have suggested this. The Commish is resisting until he knows how the rest of his tournament sponsorship deals are looking. He may face a bigger issue soon - FedEx pay at least $50 million a year for this series of events - that's a lot of packages and as value for money goes we may be at the beginning of the end.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Are you awake out there? The US Ryder Cup picks

Is anyone still awake after Corey Pavin's press conference. You won't need Ambien after listening to him at the Stock Exchange. The press would have been better served asking the Vice Captains questions, because Corey is just not good in that environment. What's up with all those Vice Captains by the way? Sluman was smart and was unavailable.
When Pavin read the names one by one, there was not a tinge of excitement in his voice. There were also no surprises. Woods - how could he not pick Woods?, Cink - see Woods!, Zach Johnson (the other Johnson is already in team) and Fowler. I think Fowler was a good pick and will add some fun to The RC - especially if he ends up playing the European version, McIlroy. Who knows maybe Captain Pavin can even get Rickie to the barber before the match starts. At least it will give him something interesting to talk about!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Killing the game one slow shot at a time.

A fun story by serial PGA Tour observer (er, basher), Geoff Shackelford. Read here his thoughts on slow play on Tour and how they could use ShotLink data to actually do something about it. It's been 16 years (yes, you read that right) since a fine was imposed on a player in a Tour event. Now that is impossible - except for the fact that the Tour has decided not to make the players ever receive a penalty, even though everyone knows it is absolutely ridiculous for a round of golf to take more than 4 hours.
Growing up playing golf we would regularly play in 2 1/2 hours - that's 4 people playing their own ball. No running, just walking swiftly between shots and hitting it when it was your turn. When will the Tour and other official bodies realize that in this "instant world" kids don't want to spend 5 hours playing golf. They don't want to spend 5 hours watching either and as a result, Tiger or no Tiger the TV numbers are down. All of the governing bodies have a responsibility to get the game moving - if they don't the slow professional game of golf will continue to slowly erode the fan base and kids will simply go do something which takes up less time. Go on PGA Tour - fine someone and see what happens!