The final pick; Jack’s view; is anybody watching?
Each week we ask our panel of writers, PGA members and golf industry experts to weigh in with their views on the hot topics of the day.
Davis Love will make one more selection for his Ryder Cup team following the Tour Championship on Sunday. Who do you think he’ll pick and who should he pick?
Jim Deeks, Fairways Magazine (@jimdeeks): Even though Bubba deserves it on points, I’ll be surprised if Davis picks him. I think he’s just too much of a basket case, and not very popular with the rest of the guys. My guess is Daniel Berger, for no reason other than it won’t be Furyk, and Justin Thomas has a first name that’s too close to Dustin, and that risks Davis getting confused when doing his draws. Seriously, it’ll be Berger or Thomas.
TJ Rule, Golf Away Tours (@GolfAwayTJ): Well, it looks like it’s down to Bubba, Justin Thomas or Daniel Berger. I think it will be hard not to pick Bubba given he’s ranked 7th in the world. But maybe it comes down to team chemistry, and I’m guessing Bubba isn’t the most popular guy in the locker room, especially since he was once voted as the player that other players “would least likely help out in a bar fight”! I hope it isn’t Bubba because I’m not a fan, but I sense it will be. It would be great to see one of the young guys like Thomas or Berger get a shot at some Ryder Cup experience.
Dave Kaplan, Freelance Writer (@davykap): The pick is likely going to be Jim Furyk, but it probably should be Bubba Watson. Furyk has lost more Ryder Cup matches than any other American in history, but he nonetheless always seems to get the nod anyway. Watson is 3-8 over his Ryder Cup career, but his booming length and crafty wedge game would be more of an asset to the American squad than anyone else that I can think of.
Craig Loughry, Golf Ontario (@craigloughry): He should pick Furyk (yes I know he’s a Vice Captain), he’s better actually playing on the team though. Love will probably pick Bubba though, but I wouldn’t expect him to play much if he does.
Peter Mumford, Fairways Magazine (@FairwaysMag): Bubba Watson has been practising with the American team which would lead you to think he’ll be the pick. Jim Furyk is the other possibility for Davis Love, even though Mr. 58 has a terrible Ryder Cup record. I think he should select either Ryan Moore, Kevin Na or Daniel Berger based on their recent play but Love is too much a by-the-book kind of guy and the U.S. Ryder Cup Gold Ribbon Task Force playbook likely wouldn’t allow that anyway.
Jack Nicklaus said recently that he thinks all the Ryder Cup excitement, hype and pressure needs to be dialled down a bit. Is Jack correct? Has the Ryder Cup become too much?
Deeks: I think Jack has a point. Some people take it far too seriously, starting about 30 years ago with Seve and Azinger. It’s a golf exhibition, not a Game of Thrones.
Rule: I normally agree with what Jack says, but on this one I have to disagree. I love the hype. It’s one of my favourite events to watch, and my country isn’t even involved! Can’t wait for them to tee it up on the 30th.
Kaplan: The Ryder Cup itself has not become too much, but the lead up to it is getting ridiculous. Stop dragging this selection process out, like it’s the College Football Playoffs Selection Show! Just pick 12 guys and get it over with already!
Loughry: I love Jack, but he’s off the mark here. You can’t have too much of a good thing, so any and all PR around the Ryder Cup is a good thing. Let’s not forget it only comes around every couple of years, and it is VERY emotional on both sides for a few hundred million people. This is what makes it so great.
Mumford: Perhaps. But you can’t put the Genie back in the bottle. There’s no way to dial the excitement back. It’s also a reflection of what’s happening in society in general – especially in the U.S. where there’s a polarization of everything, a we-versus-them attitude on steroids. Thank goodness the Ryder Cup is only every two years.
The PGA Tour had a rare week off this past week so instead we were able to watch on television (via “LIVE” taped replay) some or all of the following: a so-called LPGA major in France, a Web.com “Finals” event and the geezer Tour’s Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. Did you watch any of them” Do you think golf fans or even sports fans in general care much about Tours other than the PGA Tour, especially when the NFL has started and baseball is heading into the playoffs?
Deeks: I only watched a bit of the LPGA major, but only because Brooke Henderson had an outside chance. Once I saw the weather, and Brooke making pars not birdies, I turned off the TV. Wasn’t aware or interested in the Web.com or Champions Tour events. And even then, I don’t go out of my way to watch the PGA Tour that much, either. (I did watch both men’s and women’s Olympic golf, though.) NFL football bores me to distraction. If the Jays don’t make the playoffs, I won’t watch baseball, either. All in all, I’m a very dull person.
Rule: Yeah, not a great weekend for golf watching, especially with the hype of the NFL’s second week, and I had to watch to see if my suicide pick survived (they did). If I was to have watched any of the golf tourneys last weekend, it would have been the LPGA major since we have some gals who can compete now, although they weren’t in contention last weekend, so I didn’t watch any golf on Sunday. If the Golf Channel had shown Tiger playing a fun round on his home course, it likely would have had more viewers.
Loughry: Sad to say but this time of year NFL is king, and it’s not just me, look at the ratings. I caught highlights of the Evian, but that was it. Other than that it was all about pigskin, and a little baseball.
Kaplan: I did not watch any of them because I was too busy watching the dumpster fire that is September Blue Jays baseball. Those other tours do not move the needle at all and wouldn’t cause me to flip the channel unless Brooke Henderson was contending or leading at a major. In fact, the PGA Tour needs to give up their insane strategy of trying to make the FedEx Cup Playoffs compete with the start of the NFL season for ratings. That is crazy! Move the FedEx Cup to late August when the MLB season isn’t yet in its final stretch and the NFL is just starting to pump out trashy, exhibition games. Likewise, move the PGA Championship to May and the Players Championship to March. That way there is a major/big tournament in each month of the golf season and the PGA Tour wouldn’t have to worry about going up against footbaw!
Mumford: The 24 hour Golf Channel needs new content to feed the addicted. They can only show re-runs of Bagger Vance so many times. I occasionally watch the LPGA but I don’t watch the Web.com Tour or the Champions events or any other minor league. That goes for other sports too. Can you imagine watching Class A baseball? The PGA Tour has gone to great lengths to extend their brand all over the world at many levels. But one only has to see the actual fan support at these events to understand that, apart from friends and family, not only is nobody watching, nobody cares. It’s unsustainable.