Sports Outside the Beltway

Corey Pavin named US Ryder Cup Captain for 2010

The United States pulled a stunning upset in the biennial matches last September. From AP-

Corey Pavin has been selected the next U.S. captain for the Ryder Cup, leading a team in 2010 that will try to successfully defend the cup for the first time since 1993.

Pavin is a former U.S. Open champion with 15 victories on the PGA Tour. He played in three Ryder Cups and had an 8-5-0 record.

The 49-year-old Pavin takes over for Paul Azinger, who helped the U.S. end a decade of European dominance at the Ryder Cup with a 16½-11½ victory in September at Valhalla.

The U.S has not had a captain consecutive Ryder Cups since Ben Hogan in the 1940s.

Many people expected 2008 Captain Paul Azinger to return. Who wins the Ryder Cup comes down to which team makes the putts and other shots needed for a victory. I think the position of team captain is highly overrated.


Ryder Cup Final Day

The USA did not play as well Saturday as it did on Friday, but maintained their lead going into today’s single matches. As it stands now, the USA leads Europe by the score of 9-7. The last time the USA led going into singles play by that score was 1995. Europe rallied to win that particular Ryder Cup by the score of 14.5-13.5.

Today’s pairings-

12:03 PM: Kim (USA) vs. Garcia (EUR)
12:14 PM: Mahan (USA) vs. Casey (EUR)
12:25 PM: Leonard (USA) vs. Karlsson (EUR)
12:36 PM: Mickelson (USA) vs. Rose (EUR)
12:47 PM: Perry (USA) vs. Stenson (EUR)
12:58 PM: Weekley (USA) vs. WIlson (EUR)
1:09 PM: Holmes (USA) vs. Hansen (EUR)
1:20 PM: Furyk (USA) vs. Jimenez (EUR)
1:31 PM: Cink (USA) vs. McDowell (EUR)
1:42 PM: Stricker (USA) vs. Poulter (EUR)
1:53 PM: Curtis (USA) vs. Westwood (EUR)
2:04 PM: Campbell vs. Harrington (EUR)

Comments- I like Kim leading off, but feel Azinger has left the USA too weak from the 8-11 slots. This is almost always where the decisive point is scored. I would have put Furyk and either Holmes or Weekly 9-10 or a combo of the three of them 9 to 11.

Faldo on the other hand has arguably his two best players in matches 11 and 12. Match 12 in singles play has only once determined the winner on Sunday in the last 37 years. That was in 1991 halved his match with Bernhard Langer giving the US a 14.5-13.5 victory. Before that you have to go back to 1969 when Jack Nicklaus conceded a putt to Tony Jacklin in the final match resulting in the Ryder Cup’s first ever tie.

Who will win today? My original prediction is not going to be even close. Be wiser now, I predict one of the two teams to win a squeaker today. The winning score being no worse than 15-13.


Ryder Cup Day Two

The USA goes into the second day of matches with an impressive 5.5-2.5 lead. Not since 1981 has the US won both morning and afternoon matches on the first day of play.

Today’s pairings-

Kim/Mickelson vs Harrington/Karlsson
Leonard/Mehan vs Stenson/Casey
Perry/Furyk vs Garcia/Westwood
Cink/Campbell vs Rose/Poulter

Captains Paul Azinger and Nick Faldo are using the same teams as yesterday’s morning matches. The only difference being the order of players.

The matches come on NBC television at 8 a.m. Yes I’ll be watching most of it, and will update this post periodically during the day.

8:20 Update- The Palm Beach Post totally screwed up the morning pairings today in today’s paper. They used to have one of the best golf writers around in Craig Dolch. Craig took the buyout rather than lose his job when the Post cut 1/4th of its newsroom staff last month. The quality of the paper has suffered ever since.

Here are the correct pairings

Cink/Campbell vs Rose/Poulter
Leonard/Mehan vs Jimenez/McDowell
Kim/Mickelson vs Stenson/Wilson
Furyk/Perry vs Harrington/Karlsson

1130- Poulter/Rose defeat Campbell/Cink 4&3. Matches now stand 5.5 USA Europe 3.5


Ryder Cup begins today, USA leading 5.5-2.5

The every other year event will begin teeing it up this morning at the Vahalla Country Club in Louisville Kentucky. At the last meeting, the Europeans routed the US by the score of 18.5 to 9.5.

No question about it, the US faces another uphill battle this year. Not just because Tiger Woods is out but because half the squad has never played in the matches before. Therefore I predict another Europe victory, this time by the score of 16.5-11.5.

Health and time permitting(I will be having both a occupational and physical therapist coming to my home between 9 and 11) I’ll post some of today’s happenings. So look for updates as the day goes on.

820 am update- Europe’s team of Harrington and Karlsson birdie the first hole to go 1 up over Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim. Is it 2010 yet?

833 update- Europe’s 2nd team of Paul Casey and Henrik Stenson also win the first hole. Europe is ahead in both the opening matches already.

845- Mickelson-Kim vs Karlsson-Harrington match now all even after 3 holes. Harrington’s tee shot on the 3rd hole finding the hazard.

850- Stenson-Casey team wins hole 2 and goes two up vs US team of Justin Leonard and Hunter Mahan.

855- Mahan/Leonard team wins 3rd hole to bring match back to only 1 down for US. Mickelson/Kim and Karlsson/Harrington match birdies on hole 4, that match remains even.

The first of my therapists arrive any moment now. My next update will be delayed.

902- Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia birdie the first hole to give them a 1-up lead over Kenny Perry and Jim Furyk.

11:45- My therapists have come and gone, but I’m feeling exhausted. After eating my lunch I’m going to lay down. I’m only 5 weeks and 2 days out from having open heart surgery. My stamina isn’t the best.

As I write, the US is leading in more matches than are square or have Europe ahead.

Mickelson-Kim vs Karlsson-Harrington- Even through 16
Leonard-Mahan vs Stenson-Casey US 3 up through 15(Match is dormy)
Cink-Campbell vs Rose-Poulter- US one up through 14
Perry-Furyk vs. Westwood-Garcia- US two up through 12

If the above holds, the US would lead 3.5-.5 going into the afternoon. Wow.

I may re-continue blogging after I get some rest.

1158- Leonard/Mahan defeat Stenson-Casey 3 and 2. US 1 Europe 0

1218- Mickelson/Kim halve match with Harrington/Karlsson. USA 1.5 Europe 0.5

Afternoon matches have been announced

1245- Mickelson/Kim vs Harrington/McDowell
100 Stricker/Curtis vs Poulter/Rose
115 Leonard/Mahan vs Garcia/Jimenez
130 Holmes/Weekly vs Westwood/Hansen

12:53- Campbell/Cink defeat Rose/Poulter 1 up. USA leads 2.5 Europe .5

Why didn’t ESPN show the first tee shots of the afternoon matches? There isn’t that much going on in the morning still that they can’t handle the afternoon too.

615- I don’t yet have the stamina to live blog all day. Got a solid rest this afternoon after taking off around 1 pm.

The US won 2 of the morning matches, and split the other two to take a surprising 3-1 lead. If the afternoon match scores hold, the USA will be up 6-2 at the end of the today. Truly incredible, no serious golf writer or prognosticator predicted that score before play. Right now Weekly-Holmes are 1 up over Westwood-Hansen with 4 holes to go. The USA has won all the matches so far concluded in the afternoon, with the exception of Rose-Poulter defeating the USA team of Stricker-Curtis.

The US could have another half right now, except for Jim Furyk and Kenny Perry squandering a 3 up lead in their morning match. They ended up halving with Westwood-Garcia.

715 Update- Holmes/Weekly come to 18 with a one-up lead then both drive the ball in the water. The US is likely to only halve the concluding match.

It is also terribly reminiscent of the morning match when Kenny Perry’s drive found the water too. Resulting in another halved match. Two good drives and the US could be up 6.5-1.5 today,

727 Update- Westwood/Soren win the final hole and halve their match with Weekly/Holmes. The US is up by 3 pts. Who would have thought it?


Ryder Cup course damaged by storm

The biennial matches begin on Friday. From AP-

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Strong wind felled a TV tower and some trees at Valhalla Golf Club on Sunday, five days before the start of the Ryder Cup.

Kerry Haigh, managing director of championships and business development for the PGA of America said the television tower fell on the 12th hole.

“The PGA of America is working to clean up all affected areas and is confident that when spectators arrive on Tuesday for the first full practice round, Valhalla will be ready for the biggest event in golf this year,” Haigh said.

Less than a month after Hurricane Wilma, Trump International was ready for the 2005 ADT Championship. Vahalla’s damage has to be much less severe, I think the course will be ready in time for play.


Paul Azinger names his four Ryder Cup Captain’s selections

Three of whom have never played in the matches before. From AP-

The U.S. Ryder Cup team was completed Monday morning when captain Paul Azinger named Chad Campbell, Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan and J.B. Holmes as his four at-large selections.

They join Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Kenny Perry, Anthony Kim, Justin Leonard, Boo Weekley and Ben Curtis, who qualified for the team based on a points system that ended at the PGA Championship.

Before taking the job, Azinger lobbied for and received changes to the system, which included an overhaul of how points were earned — based on winnings instead of top-10 finishes — and more time to make his picks. He also got an increase from two to four choices.

On Sunday, European captain Nick Faldo added Ian Poulter and Paul Casey to his team of Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Robert Karlsson, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Soren Hansen and Oliver Wilson.

The Europeans have won three straight Ryder Cups and five of the last six. The Ryder Cup will be played Sept. 19-21 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.

Chad Campbell was the only pick by Azinger who has played on a previous Ryder Cup team. Overall I find Paul Azinger’s picks reasonable, but ultimately futile. I strongly believe the US is in for another trouncing later this month.


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