Time to save the Presidents Cup before it becomes irrelevant
Australian Adam Scott says a change of format is needed or the event risks living forever in the Ryder Cup's shadow
Published on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 10:16AM EST
We all still remember the excitement of the final day of the Ryder Cup. Does anyone remember last year's Presidents Cup? Didn't think so. Adam Scott is hoping something can be done to change that.
The Australian said Wednesday the format of the Presidents Cup needed to be drastically overhauled or risk living forever in the shadow of the Ryder Cup. He's hoping something can be done in time for the next edition scheduled for 2013 at Muirfield Village in Ohio.
“Someone needs to take a lesson from the Ryder Cup,” Scott told reporters ahead of Thursday’s Australian Masters at Melbourne’s Kingston Heath course. “We’ve got to get the competition back in the event. The last three have been walkovers to the U.S., to be quite honest. We need to change the format so it’s not all done by Sunday.”
Scott, who has played in the last five Presidents Cups, said each team should have a chance to win on Sunday’s final day of the event.
“Most of the five I have played in have been done and dusted by Sunday apart from the first one in South Africa which was a tie,” he said.
One of the reasons mentioned for the U.S. domination is the fact that the alternate shot and team events play into the American's hands as the International players don't normally play these types of formats. As such, they are generally scheduled at the beginning of the competition which leaves the Internationals in a hole by the time the Sunday singles come around.
There's also the fact that the International players are drawn from several different Tours whereas the European side in the Ryder Cup is composed of players who primarily play with and against each other on one or two primary Tours.
A quick check of the most recent world rankings shows only three players who would be eligible to play for the international side in the top 30 (Australian Jason Day would be the fourth at No. 31) while 16 American players occupy the same space in the rankings.
Then again, since this is the one international team competition the American's are winning these days don't look for them to loosen the choke hold on their opponents too quickly.
THE COACH BEHIND THE KID: Chris Fry over at the PGA of Canada speaks to Canadian golf pro Dan Webb, the man behind 14-year-old Guan Tianlang of China who recently won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and booked his ticket to next year's Masters.
PANIC GOLF: Nate Schweber of the New York Times ventured out to a golf course in the Bronx to find out how prevalent panic attacks are on the course in the wake of Charlie Beljan's episode last weekend at the final PGA event of the year. Schweber was surprised to learn of one episode of a player suffering an attack, not because he was playing poorly, but because he was playing too good.
NO COMEBACK: Tiger Woods was on the ballot when the PGA Tour began voting on its annual awards, but only in one category.
Even though Woods missed four months with an Achilles heel injury last season, failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs and finished out of the top 125 on the money list for the first time in his career, he is not under consideration as PGA Tour comeback player of the year.
Neither is anyone else, for that matter. (A good case could also be made for Canada's Graham DeLaet, who returned from a serious injury of his own to retain his exempt Tour status with more than $1-million in earnings this year... but we digress)
The tour has changed the definition of the award, which began in 1991 and over the years had been given to players who came back from injury (Steve Jones, Steve Pate), a life-threatening illness (Paul Azinger) and bad play (long list, but notably Steve Stricker — twice).
Now it will be awarded to a player “who through courage and perseverance has overcome extraordinary adversity, such as a personal tragedy or debilitating illness, to make a significant and meaningful contribution to the game of golf.”
The award will be determined by PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and the four players on the policy board, assuming there is a candidate.
It is not unprecedented for no one to win the award: There was no one on the ballot in 2009 and 2011. That's partly due to what now has become a running joke, with Stricker becoming the only player to win the comeback award in consecutive years — in 2006 after he started the year with limited status and was considered for the Ryder Cup team, and in 2007 when he won a FedEx Cup playoff event and was No. 4 on the money list.
Andy Pazder, the tour's chief of operations, said potential candidates down the road could include Jarrod Lyle, who is in Australia recovering from a recurrence of leukemia, or even someone like Chris Smith, whose life suffered a crushing setback when his wife was killed in a car crash.
For Woods — and J.B. Holmes, who had brain surgery last year — there was little doubt they were going to return to play.
LYLE UPDATE: Speaking of Lyle he says he has some hopes of returning to the PGA Tour in 2014 if he continues his current recovery from leukemia.
The 31-year-old Lyle, who was first diagnosed with the disease at age 17, learned it had returned shortly after the recent birth of his first child, a daughter. He has since undergone chemotherapy, received a transplant of donor blood from umbilical cords and is making a strong recovery.
“I do want to get back to golf at some stage but I guess if I never hit another shot I'll be happy. As long as I've got my health and as long as I've got my family, I'm a happy boy.”
MORE BELLY ACHING: Graeme McDowell says a ban on the anchored putter is coming. The former U.S. Open champion says he was recently told by USGA boss Mike Davis that golf authorities believe long putters anchored to a player's belly, chest or chin gave an edge in pressure situations.
"It just makes it physically easier to stroke the putter when the nerves are there (and) I think we should be levelling the playing field (by banning it),” he was quoted as saying by the Herald Sun in Australia. “I think it's probably something they're disappointed in themselves that it's got to this point. They probably should have nipped it in the bud many, many years ago."
Ryder Cup teammate Ian Poulter is also in favour of a ban but stopped short of saying anyone who is currently using a long putter is cheating.
"The fact is that they've opened up a can of worms and it's only become an issue because so many people have actually converted to it,” he said as he prepared to defend his Australian Masters title. "That's the problem they face because they allowed it to happen in the first place. It should have been stamped out a while ago."
Adam Scott, who has been among the most vocal of the anchored putter brigade, says if the evidence was so overwhelming, everyone would be using a long putter.
“There’s no actual evidence that putting with an anchored putter is better, easier,” Scott said. “Or, if it is, I would assume everyone would be doing it.
“It’s not just about the professional game either, it’s about the game in general, and we don’t want to be turning people away from the game of golf because of the way they putt.”
RYDER CUP: The PGA of America has a new chief executive and a new president, and it might not be long before it picks a new Ryder Cup captain. Davis Love III has some insight on the selection, at least one aspect of it.
“I can guarantee you it won't be me,” Love said after he finished his final round of the year at Disney.
The Americans have not had a captain serve more than once since Jack Nicklaus in 1987, and the last U.S. captain to do it twice in a row was Ben Hogan in 1947 and 1949. Love said he hadn't been asked, and he wouldn't be interested.
At least not for 2014.
“I love my team; I love the way they played, everything they did,” he said. “If I had another chance, the only thing I'd change is winning. It would almost be wrong for the guys who played for me and played so hard and so well ... to try to make up for it. I don't think it would be good. Maybe down the road if they had a gap.”
Love doesn't understand why the PGA of America is hung up on a captain being in his late 40s, or having won a major. He has yet to figure out how winning a major translates into being a good captain. He said players argued for Jay Haas immediately after the 2004 Ryder Cup. Love figures with the Champions Tour, television and news coverage, the older players still know what's going on.
David Toms, Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson appeared to be logical candidates for the next several years. After that?
“If there's a gap where they don't have anybody who fits, and they asked me to do it 10 years from now, I'd do it — maybe,” Love said. “Back to back? I don't think so.”
"I feel like I have played so well this year but I don't have a trophy to show for it yet. I would really love a bit of silverware to put on the mantel." -- Adam Scott who has 5 top-10 results, including a second place finish at the British Open, and earned almost $3-million this year on the PGA Tour
Files from the AFP and The Associated Press were used in this report