The 2012 Ryder Cup was last week. Every two years Europe and the USA face each other in a battle royale that brings out some of the loudest and craziest fans as any event on the PGA TOUR. Even crazier than the fans at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Arizona! This year the Ryder Cup landed just outside Chicago, Illinois, at the Medinah Country Club. Lots of big names were in the field on both sides, including guys like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, and Sergio Garcia. The full playing field is listed below:
Davis Love III (Captain)
Fred Coiuples (Assistant Captain)
Mike Hulbert (Assistant Captain)
Jeff Sluman (Assistant Captain)
Scott Verplank (Assistant Captain)
José María Olazábal (Captain)
Thomas Bjorn (Vice Captain)
Darren Clarke (Vice Captain)
Miguel Angel Jiménez (Vice Captain)
Paul McGinley (Vice Captain)
I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of the Ryder Cup. There is just something about team events that I can’t understand. That’s why I am not a big fan of golf being added to the Olympics. But that’s a topic for a different blog post. I wanted to focus on some things that happened during the 2012 Ryder Cup.
As many of you know, I am Tiger’s biggest fan. He has changed the game of golf over the years, and sans his scandal a few years ago, is still one of the, if not the best golfer in the world. He will be turning 37 this year, and while he doesn’t look that seasoned, he is running out of time to break Jack’s majors record. Regardless, he still had three wins this year, and is hitting the ball better than he has since leaving coach Hank Haney.
Tiger has played in the Ryder Cup several times, and while he hasn’t had the best record among his peers, he still shows up when he needs to. Tiger just doesn’t play well in team events. But when Davis Love III decided to bench him on Saturday morning, he managed to spark some chatter among golf bloggers, news reporters, and golf fans across the globe. Never mind that Tiger, playing with friend Steve Stricker for the second day in a row, would lose in the afternoon. This was the first time Tiger had ever been benched during the Ryder Cup.
Love might have made the best decision because the USA dominated in the morning losing only one match. I’m curious if the sponsors were upset with Love sitting Woods. I pretty much watch golf because of Tiger. I have a feeling I’m not alone. Tiger sitting on the bench was not the only thing that made the news at Medinah.
Screaming For Bubba Golf
People call it “Bubba golf”. I call it silly and unprofessional. Bubba won the 2012 Masters Tournament when he struck a wedge from the right rough to beat Louis Oosthuizen on the second playoff hole. After the tournament was over, photos showing the angle he had started showing up online and all over Facebook. Give him a bucket of balls and he couldn’t hit that show again. But he did, and won the event with a smile on his face and a tear in his eye.
Bubba also has a pink driver. They weren’t originally available for purchase, but after he won the Masters, PING began to market them. The driver isn’t cheap, but it does look cool in your hands. While Bubba was crushing his pink driver, one of the announcers said that he didn’t carry a 3 wood. It was driver or an iron off the tee every time. I’m not sure if he’s the only player to do that, but that’s just silly. The whole grip it and rip it attitude is fine for weekend golfers, but on the PGA TOUR guys should play better and smarter golf. Bubba might be a good player, but I would be shocked if he wins another major.
During the Ryder Cup, Bubba made some noise. Literally. While in the first tee on Saturday, Bubba encouraged fans to cheer and chant as he was teeing off. Guys on the other team did as well. There are videos online showing the obnoxious and intoxicated fans screaming as players reach the tee. Thanks, Bubba. That is a trend that golf could do without.
On Twitter, I saw Rick Grayson say, “Bubba is good for golf.” He might be out there having fun, but I seriously don’t think encouraging fans to make noise and act like they are at a hockey game is good for the game. I professionally disagree with both Bubba and Rick on this. Oh, and some buddies I play golf with in Scottsdale said Bubba is a jerk in real life. I haven’t met him, but as he gets older, I hope he shows a little more respect for the game. If fans begin chanting on the first tee in 2014, we can thank Bubba for that.
8 Birdies: Lighting Up
On Saturday, Tiger had 7 birdies. But that wasn’t the headline. Nicolas Colsaerts had 8. Talk about stepping up and getting the job done. The PGA TOUR likes to say, “These guys are good.” Making 8 birdies during the Ryder Cup while the whole world watches solidifies that statement.
Like I said, Tiger made 7 birdies on Saturday. Tiger has won on this course a few times, so he knows the layout and is comfortable here. But when the other team plays that well, you can’t be upset losing.
Rory Sleeps In
On Sunday, Rory arrived to the course in a police car. He claims he didn’t know what time it was. Then he said the Golf Channel reported his tee time, and he thought he had an extra hour before needing to show up. He blamed the time zone changes. But let’s think about this for a second. For the sake of argument, let’s say his tee time was initially 12:30 CDT. He claims he was still on EST, which is an hour ahead. So why is he arriving late? He should have been an hour early!
Where was his caddy? He was at the golf course with the clubs, and had no idea where Rory was. What about the captain? He didn’t know where Rory was, either. Don’t sit there and make excuses. If you were out late, man up. Hopefully some more details will come out as he starts to realize his excuse doesn’t make any sense.
Like I said, I’m not a huge fan of the Ryder Cup. But there were some stories making the headlines last week. Congratulations to Europe, you deserved it. Pop a few bottles of champagne, celebrate, and we will see you all next year. Fore!!! By the way, I had two buddies from Switzerland in Chicago for the event. It was fun following them on Facebook. They were also in town for the annual Proponent Group summit. Hopefully they had fun.