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.
With Tiger Woods impending return to play, Ryder Cup captain Davis Love is being asked if he would make Woods a captain’s pick for the U.S. team this fall. What would Tiger have to do to garner any attention from Love?
Jim Deeks, Fairways Magazine (@jimdeeks): Tiger would have to win at least one tournament and finish very high in every one he plays. Even at that, I would hope (if I were Davis the Third) that Tiger would also make it clear to me that part of the reason for his return was to demonstrate a glorious new attitude about his place in the world… i.e., NOT at the centre of the universe… and that making and playing on a team like the Ryder Cup is foremost in his thoughts and hopes. Tiger’s previous Ryder performances were lacklustre, as I remember, and he seemed almost disdainful of his time in these things. (Hey, here’s something I just made up: “There’s no I in team.” Neat, huh?)
TJ Rule, Golf Away Tours (@GolfAwayTJ): I don’t think having him play at this point is realistic. As much as I’d love to see him there, it would likely be more of a distraction than anything and won’t help a young American team come together like they need to. It’s time to pass the torch to the younger boys and let them run with it. Saying that, if he wins just once this year, I’ll request to change my answer!
Craig Loughry, Golf Ontario Director of Handicapping (@craigloughry): Tiger would have to win or be ranked in the top 15 neighbourhood to be considered a Captain’s pick. I don’t see any other way around it. It’s not like Tiger has an absolutely compelling record in the Ryder Cup to make him an automatic selection.
Hal Quinn, Freelance Writer, Vancouver: I think he’d have to do more than make a hotel reservation in Dublin, Ohio, to get the captain’s attention. And though it would be like Leicester winning the Premier League, he shouldn’t play in the Cup unless he makes the team.
Peter Mumford, Fairways Magazine (@FairwaysMag): The American record for “past-their-prime” captain’s picks has been abysmal over the past twenty years. Remember Curtis Strange, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk? The theory is that these aging warriors can provide veteran leadership for rookies and younger players. The 2016 U.S. team is certainly not lacking leadership. Moreover, Tiger has never been much of a “team” leader and he brings a record of being on the losing side in all but one Ryder Cups he played. To be a Captain’s pick this year, he’d have to win a couple of tournaments and maybe a major – and even at that I’m not sure I’d want him on my team.
Dave Kaplan, Freelance Writer (@davykap): Wow, this conversation is a little premature! The guy hasn’t even returned yet and people are actually talking about his chances at making the Ryder Cup? Tiger really shouldn’t even be a possibility based on the fact that (a) he hasn’t won an event on the PGA Tour since 2013 and (b) his Ryder Cup record really isn’t very impressive (13-17-3). But, since it is Tiger Woods — and people are insane! — I’ll play along. He needs to win obviously! If he wins an event when he comes back, we can start talking about whether or not he would be a good addition to the team. If he doesn’t win, he needs to be in contention (Top 3) in at least two of the three remaining majors this year. Otherwise, it will be a wasted pick.
Frank Mastroianni, Freelance Writer: I absolutely would not pick Tiger Woods for the Ryder Cup team unless he comes back, proves he can play and play regularly, and make it to within the top 20 players in the Ryder Cup Standings. These would all be difficult things to do, but for Davis Love III, probably all Tiger would have to do is make a phone call.
John Daly turned 50 last week and will embark on a new career on the Champions Tour. Based on five PGA Tour wins including two majors and his high profile, is Mr. Daly a realistic candidate for inclusion in the World Golf Hall of Fame?
Mumford: You’ve got to be kidding! Who writes these questions? Daly’s record doesn’t come close to even the minimum requirements for enshrinement. As for character, Daly is a buffoon. Is the Hall of Fame hard up for cash? The only way Daly gets a nod from the World Golf Hall of Fame is if they add a circus wing. Or maybe if they create a special category for “player who squandered the most talent”. Otherwise, the closest Mr. Daly will ever get is a parking lot outside the gates where he can set up his RV, hawk John Daly merchandise, play guitar and drink beer.
Rule: Based on his play alone he falls short of what I think is necessary for Hall of Fame credentials. I mean Mike Weir won 3 more PGA Tournaments and only one less major, and I don’t think anyone is debating him as a HOF candidate. However, add in his popularity with fans and impact on the game, good or bad, and you could maybe make a case. You could make the argument that he helped to grow the game, he is certainly one of the most popular figures in the game over the past quarter century, hard to argue that! But in short, no, I don’t think he deserves to be there, and there is no chance that they ever include such a controversial figure in that exclusive club!
Loughry: Mr. Daly, this is a tough one, he doesn’t have many wins, but two were Majors, and he tried winning during Tiger’s era, unfortunately for him. So, no I don’t think he gets the nod into the Hall of Fame, he needed more wins, and I don’t think he can win enough on the Champions Tour to get in either if that’s a next question.
Kaplan: Daly is as borderline a Hall of Fame pick as it gets. If this choice is made on criteria alone, then he is in with his two major victories. However Long John really has not had a Hall of Fame calibre career. He has only won 5 times on the PGA Tour and has not had exempt status since 2007. That’s not very good at all. If I had the deciding vote, I wouldn’t vote him in.
Mastroianni: I think way too much is made of who is or is not in the Hall of Fame. John Daly would bring out more spectators than the majority of golfers in the HOF. I think that is probably what matters most to John Daly too. I would indeed see him as a realistic candidate, but I’m sure the golfing “establishment” views it otherwise.
Deeks: I hate to say it, but yes, I believe he is a viable candidate, although that record (5/2) is pretty flimsy. But I highly doubt that he’ll ever be elevated to the Hall, at least during this century. Despite his popularity among people who think Donald Trump would make a good President, those who look poorly on recurring alcoholism, poor role modeling, disdain for rules and standards, brash and unpredictable behaviour, bad judgement, and clown wardrobes will undoubtedly find it impossible to reward him with honour and respect.
Quinn: I was the only member of the media within 2-3 holes of JD when he had the DT’s at the Air Canada Championship (though to read about it later you’d think it was a scrum); watched him cross his arms on a gigantic loudspeaker and put his head down and go to sleep on stage as Hootie and the Blowfish rocked loud and long; was told by a PGA pro who was driving the cart that JD had a couple of Miller Lites per hole on his way to a 68 at one of the Blowfish Monday after the Masters pro-ams; and I still don’t believe half the stuff in his auto-biography. White trash is what white trash does, and I know that Halls like to say that membership is based on performance not lifestyle, but that’s BS. Two Majors are not enough to outweigh the baggage.
When tournaments can’t complete play by Sunday night as we saw this past week at the rain-soaked New Orleans event, it causes problems for sponsors, TV broadcasters, spectators and players. Are you OK with a Monday finish or should the Tour impose a Sunday deadline regardless of how many holes are complete?
Rule: I’ve never been involved in organizing a professional golf tournament but I can only imagine that having tournaments roll over into Monday only causes havoc with all aspects of not only that tournament but more importantly the following week. And I’m sure the players would love to know that their Sunday night or Monday morning flight won’t have to be switched last minute. I know they try hard to get at least 54 holes in to make it “official” but I think it’s a good idea to restrict it to a Sunday finish each week.
Loughry: I think you have to get at least 54 in, if you can’t do that, then reschedule it to another date, and yes there would be challenges with that with such a packed season. Most players travel late enough the next morning/afternoon to get to the next venue, it’s not that disruptive. So, Monday finishes are so few and far between that I don’t think they need to make any other adjustments.
Mumford: Isn’t the New Orleans event rained out every year? Maybe they need a new date on the calendar. Monday finishes are no good for anyone. Except for Majors, I suggest that Sunday night be the deadline no matter what. The PGA Tour is fixated on completion of at least 3 rounds but why? Go with the number of holes completed by the last group on the course. If that’s 47 holes, just take every player’s score for their first 47 holes and declare a winner.
Quinn: The crowd was so sparse Monday morning I thought it was an LPGA Tour event. Sure its inconvenient, weather usually is — for example, it’s too hot to cut the lawn in Vancouver in early May — but when the winner is taking out over a million bucks (U.S.), they better play at least 54.
Kaplan: There should definitely be a Sunday deadline. Monday finishes are the worst! They destroy all of the tournament’s momentum and drama, create complications for players teeing it up the following week, and make my life harder as a columnist. Tournament officials all have access to weather apps and know how to read a Doppler! If a storm is expected on Sunday, they need to get creative on Thursday and Friday and make the players complete as many holes as possible prior to the weekend.
Mastroianni: I’m fine with a Monday finish. It makes the dreaded start to my week much more bearable. It causes problems sure, but the contingencies are there and I’m sure the players don’t mind a crack at making more money. I think it’s less of a problem as it is a nuisance.
Deeks: I feel very badly for those sponsors, broadcasters, spectators and players when the weather doesn’t cooperate. But to me, a Monday finish is all but irrelevant. And I’m guessing that the only group that wants a Monday finish is the sponsors, who want to make sure that their logos and commercials are still seen by the seven spectators and three viewers who are still interested. When all is said and done, no one is going to care whether Joe Bleau won a 36-hole event on a Sunday, or a 54-hole event on a Monday.