Bradley, Mahan & Simpson Named to Ryder Cup Team

September 2nd, 2014 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson ended the suspense this evening and named his three Captain’s picks to fill out the American Ryder Cup Team. With much fanfare and speaking from the Saturday Night Live set in New York City Watson named Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson to join his team as they try to win back the cup in Gleneagles Scotland.

The Americans are without the services of Tiger Woods (injury) Dustin Johnson (hiatus) and Jason Dufner (injury) and are looking to win the Ryder Cup on foreign soil for the first time since 1993 at The Belfry. The captain then was Watson and he has been given the difficult task of beating a team that has won five of the last six matches.  3 picks

The nine members who made the team on points are Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker and Bubba Watson.

Bradley had made some points for himself when he played with Watson earlier this season at Gleneagles and has been dubbed the “emotional heart” of the team. He finished 13th on the points list and seemed to be a consensus pick.

Hunter Mahan finished well down the points list at 25th but his recent win at The Barclays propelled him high up on Watson’s list.

Webb Simpson was also a bit down the points list at 15th and his play recently has been feast or famine: MC, T5, MC, T9. But Watson played with Simpson at The Greenbrier Classic and must have liked what he saw.

The three other names that were very much in consideration for selection were Ryan Moore, Brendon Todd and Chris Kirk.

Kirk just won the Deutsche Bank Championship to make his statement before Captain Watson. Kirk finished ahead of both Mahan and Simpson at 14th on the points list.

Brendon Todd was thought to be a contender for the team as he was 12th on the points list, ahead of all three captain’s picks but his play has faltered the past month.

If Ryan Moore is disappointed that he missed out on the cup we can understand. With Dufner out, he was the next player on the points list but lackluster play in the FedEx Cup Playoffs may have cost him a slot on the team.

All three of Watson’s picks can certainly be justified. But it was obvious that Watson valued experience over everything else. Each of Watson’s picks has former Ryder Cup experience and Moore, Todd and Kirk had none.

Watson already had three rookies on his team in Reed, Spieth and Walker and wanted players that had been there before.

Captain Tom went with experience instead of going off the board and taking a chance on some new blood.  We’ll get to see if his formula works when pay starts on Friday, September 26th.

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McGinely Tabs Poulter, Westwood & Gallacher as Ryder Cup Picks

September 2nd, 2014 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

Paul McGinely ended the speculation this morning as he made his final selections for his 2014 Ryder Cup Team. The lucky trio of players to join Team Europe in Gleneagles is Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and hometown boy Stephen Gallacher.  McGinley

McGinely expressed what a difficult task it was due to the fact that so many European Tour players had played so well in the run-up to the Ryder Cup.

McGinely said that the call to tell Luke Donald he wasn’t a selection was the toughest phone call he had to make as Donald is a close friend.

Poulter and Westwood bring years of Ryder Cup experience while Gallacher is a rookie but has been playing the best of the Captain’s Picks recently. Gallacher will also be the fan favorite as he grew up a few miles from Gleneagles.

These three join an already impressive team that includes: Thomas Bjorn, Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson.

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Chris Kirk Makes Ryder Cup Statement: He Wins

September 2nd, 2014 No comments

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Saturday Swing Tip: Butch Harmon’s 1st Tee Fix

August 30th, 2014 No comments

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G.O.A.T. Ice Bucket Challenge

August 27th, 2014 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

The Ice Bucket Challenge continues to spread across the globe and raise millions for ALS. It may have reached its zenith today when The Greatest of All Time took the icy plunge.

Jack Nicklaus and his crew from North Palm Beach did the deed today and challenged all his employees to do the same.

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Tiger’s Next Swing Coach…A Major Decision

August 26th, 2014 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

Tiger Woods is back in the market for a new swing coach. You would think that there would be plenty of candidates for the job. I mean every year Golf Digest gives us their Top 50 Teachers so Tiger already has a list of top guys just sitting there.

Any of them would take Tiger’s call…for sure. Well maybe some of them. Tiger has already burned through a few of them.   tiger n butch

The perennial top teacher in the world is Butch Harmon and his record is unmatched. No one coach had helped more golfers win more majors or coached more number one players that Butch. But El Tigre already burned that bridge.

During their time Woods won 8 majors in 24 starts, 34 PGA Tour titles and never missed a major due to injury. But Tiger moved on from Harmon in 2003 in search of the perfect swing.

Could he go back to the best? No way. Harmon said he wouldn’t do it and he also said Tiger would never call. There can be only one alpha dog in the house. Butch and Tiger are alpha dogs…big, really big alpha dogs. They were very successful together but coexistence isn’t possible now.

Tiger’s second coach was Hank Haney and while Haney has had good success, he’s 11th on the top coaches list; he wasn’t a dominating personality like Harmon.

tiger n hankHaney’s instruction served Tiger well and the Haney Swing won Tiger six majors (one on a broken leg) and 31 PGA Tour titles. But as Tiger does he is constantly looking for something new and that wasn’t good enough.

Soon after Tiger’s comeback from the scandal he jettisoned Haney. Shortly thereafter Haney dished on Tiger and his relationship in his book The Big Miss. End of story.

Tiger doesn’t tolerate those that speak outside the Tiger Circle. Hank isn’t getting any Christmas cards from Tiger.

Tiger just axed number two on the list, Sean Foley who probably got there because of his association with Tiger. But Tiger’s failure to win a major with Foley shouldn’t be cause to think that Foley’s methods don’t work.

Hunter Mahan just won The Barclays, his sixth PGA win with Foley. Justin Rose won the U.S. Open under his tutelage and also has six PGA Tour wins. Mahan is 19th in the world, Rose is 5th. Foley can coach and maybe it was just a bad fit with Woods.

Butch had a great point when he said Foley had the toughest job of all Tiger’s coaches. He got Tiger post scandal and what he had to work with was a soon to be broken Tiger. Woods hasn’t won a single major under Foley but the telling fact is that he has missed four majors due to injuries while with Foley.

So the next candidate for Foley’s old job should realize that like baseball managers “you get hired to get fired.”  tiger n foley

As far as likely candidates, the web is full of analysts trying to guess Tiger’s next move. But likely candidates should think long and hard before they sign on to Camp Woods.

It requires long hours, jetting around the world on a moment’s notice, the ability to fix a slice…and a hook, Track Man skills, the ability to communicate with Tiger but with no one else, thick skin, strong self-belief and the ability to live with the biggest alpha dog on the block.

One more thing: he must work cheap. Woods thinks that anyone associated with him gets enough juice from their partnership. And that may be true but Tiger has deep pockets and short arms.

Foley had said that teaching the best player in the world was always a dream of his. Tiger’s next coach may be getting Tiger Woods but he’s not getting the best player in the world any longer.

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Tiger Woods Leaves Sean Foley

August 25th, 2014 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

After four years of being the highest profile player and swing coach tandem, Tiger Woods has left Sean Foley.

Woods released a statement on his website stating his fondness for his friend and instructor but feels the time is right to make a change.

“I’d like to thank Sean for his help as my coach and for his friendship,” Woods said. “Sean is one of the outstanding coaches in golf today, and I know he will continue to be successful with the players working with him. With my next tournament not until my World Challenge event at Isleworth in Orlando, this is the right time to end our professional relationship.” 

“My time spent with Tiger is one of the highlights of my career so far, and I am appreciative of the many experiences we shared together,” Foley said. “It was a lifelong ambition of mine to teach the best player of all time in our sport. I am both grateful for the things we had the opportunity to learn from one another, as well as the enduring friendship we have built. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him.”

Both Woods and Foley praised each other and said that it was an amicable split and would remain friends.

Tiger is now looking for his fourth swing coach to help in his chase of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships.

 

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Hunter Mahan Peaks at The Barclays

August 24th, 2014 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

Admittedly, Hunter Mahan hadn’t had the best of seasons. With only five top tens in 21 events his 2014 season wasn’t what he had hoped it would be.

But as the season headed into the playoffs he started playing his best golf. He started with a T15 at the Bridgestone Invitational and followed that with a T7 at the PGA Championship. His game was rolling into form at a most advantageous time.

He peaked today with a win at The Barclays and suddenly 2014 went from bust to bonus.

Mahan’s win in the first playoff event propelled him from 62nd place to first place in the FedEx Cup standings and guarantees that he’ll be in the field at the Tour Championship.

And that’s not all: Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson has said he is looking for players that are playing well when he makes his captain’s picks for the team. I think Mahan has just made one heck of a case for his consideration on Old Tom’s team.

Click here for Doug Ferguson’s game story.

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Saturday Swing Tip: Foolproof Chips

August 23rd, 2014 No comments

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Top 10 FedEx Cup Shots

August 22nd, 2014 No comments

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