by Jeff Skinner
After taking a few shots from Greg Norman, Fred Couples has lofted a few mortar shots of his own back at Norman. The opposing Presidents Captains are now in a war of words that sounds more like trash talking NFL players than it does professional golfers.
Traditionally, President Cup Captains, and even Ryder Cup Captains refrain from trash talking or criticizing their opponent. This team match has had a significantly different flavor as compared to the “Death Match” Ryder Cup. Remember that in 2003 captains Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, both the epitome of class and sportsmanship, agreed to a tie and to share the Presidents Cup since darkness kept the playoff from continuing. No chance that would ever happen in the Ryder Cup.
Norman started the verbal combat when he challenged Couples’ selection of Tiger Woods. “I can understand the name of a Tiger Woods and his history of what he’s done on the golf course.”
“But I pick the guys who I think are ready to get in there and play and have performed to the highest levels leading up to it,” were only some of the comments where Norman slighted Woods and Couples.
Couples obviously has had enough and now has stepped in to defend his pick. “I have no problem with Greg. He can say whatever he wants, but I’m not really into that. I play golf with my clubs,” Couples said.
“Robert Allenby is his (captain’s) pick, and Aaron Baddeley, and they’re Australians and I think they’re great picks. But I think I can sit here and say Robert Allenby hasn’t won a tournament in 10 years.”
“The truth is, Tiger Woods is the greatest or the second-greatest player to ever play, and he’s going to be down in Australia, and I hope he plays up to his capabilities,” Couples said. “But I think Tiger is used to getting picked on, and it’s irrelevant to me.”
Maybe the captains are playing the role of carnival barker and trying to drum up some interest for The Presidents Cup. Maybe it will work but they could be creating just enough ill will to create a real rivalry at The Presidents Cup.
Either way the trash talk will probably continue until they tee it in November and then they can let their clubs do the real talking.