Fifth Straight Presidents Cup Win By U.S. Dampened By Rain, Stale Format
Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, "absorbed nearly 2 inches of rain" during the four days of competition in this weekend's Presidents Cup, which "made for a long slog for golfers and spectators alike," according to Bob Baptist of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH. Play each of the first three days "was delayed by inclement weather, and Friday’s and Saturday’s sessions were suspended by darkness and had to be completed the next morning." With heavy rain "forecast for late yesterday afternoon and evening, the start of the singles matches was moved ahead by three hours, and other than some morning showers, the event escaped more rain -- although it pounded the course again after play finished." Last night’s closing ceremony, "including a concert by jazz saxophonist Kenny G, was canceled early in the day." PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said, "We just didn’t see how we could conduct it given the ground conditions, the result of all the rain." Muirfield Village is the "only course to have played host to the three major match-play competitions." It held the Ryder Cup in '87 and the Solheim Cup in '98 (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 10/7).
ON THE CLOCK? ESPN.com's Farrell Evans wrote under the header, "Let's Tweak Presidents Cup Format." A win by the International team might have given the event "the kind of jolt that the Ryder Cup received in 1985 after the Europeans won the cup," but the U.S. won 18.5-15.5, its fifth straight win of three points or more. Evans: "I got mostly good golf, but the outcome was predictable. ... Something has to change for there to be any interest when the matches go to South Korea" in '15 (ESPN.com, 10/6). GLOBAL GOLF POST's Brian Hewitt writes critics have "long claimed the Presidents Cup is a) not relevant; b) a made-for-TV commercial money grab with Tim Finchem's fingerprints all over it; and c) a poor relation to the Ryder Cup." Those critics this week "got armories full of new ammunition." A regular American sports fan "was too busy keeping track of college and pro football, baseball playoffs and wondering when the government was going to reopen" (GLOBAL GOLF POST, 10/7 issue). GOLFCHANNEL.com's Ryan Lavner wrote, "Blow this thing up. Start from scratch. Change the format. Alter the selection process. Do something, anything, to generate more interest in the Presidents Cup." The biennial event "is not the Ryder Cup -- never will be -- and that’s OK," but it currently "has no identity." GOLFCHANNEL.com's Rex Hoggard wrote the Presidents Cup is "never going to be as compelling as the Ryder Cup as long as the PGA Tour clings to the current format" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 10/6). GLOBAL GOLF POST's Ron Green Jr. writes the event "is a good idea but it needs help." Organizers should "shorten it by one day," as the event "is one day too long." The Ryder Cup "gets it right with 28 matches stuffed into three days" (GOLBALGOLFPOST.com, 10/7).
OH CAPTAIN! In N.Y., Karen Crouse writes golf was "the big loser" at the event after U.S. captain Fred Couples and International captain Nick Price "whiffed" in their pairing for yesterday's singles competition. The event format "called for them to pick their matchups the way people do their fantasy teams, in an open draft." The circumstances were "tailor-made to manufacture enough buzz to help cut through the nasty weather and a day crammed with NFL games and baseball playoff action." The possibilities "were thrilling," but the lineup that Couples and Price came up with "was considerably less so." For instance, instead of having Tiger Woods and Adam Scott, the top two players in the world, go against each other, Woods played Richard Sterne while Scott played Bill Haas. Price said, “I did my pairings this morning to try and win the Cup, not to put 1 or 2 together. ... You can’t go to your opposing captain and say, ‘Let’s put Adam and Tiger together.’ Maybe the commissioner could do that, but I’m not going to do it.” U.S. team member Phil Mickelson: "The captain's role is not to set it up for television. The captain's role is to put the players in the spots where they are needed" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/7). ESPN.com's Bob Harig wrote it was "strange" that Couples and Price made "no attempt to set up Sunday singles with a few marquee matchups." Price especially "seemed to want the least interesting pairings he could make" (ESPN.com, 10/6).