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.
Just two months after another knee surgery, Tiger Woods won the Zozo Championship in Japan on Monday for his 82nd PGA Tour victory, tying the record for most career wins on the PGA Tour set by Sam Snead 54 years ago. Based on this win, Tiger moves to #6 in the World Golf Rankings. Is there any chance he won’t pick himself to be added to the US Presidents Cup team?
Jim Deeks, Fairways Magazine (@jimdeeks): In his 18th green interview on Sunday, Tiger was annoyingly cryptic when asked the very question about picking himself to play. I think he should. It would add an interesting element to an event that has never achieved much respect (mainly because the international team has only won one out of 12 competitions). Will he pick himself? Based on my recommendation, which I’m sure he’ll pay very close attention to, I’d say yes, he will.
Craig Loughry, Golf Ontario (@craigloughry): NO CHANCE he doesn’t take himself. He’s one of the best on the US squad, and everyone wants to see it (I do). TIGER TIGER TIGER. Can’t wait for the announcement on November 4th. Let’s all hope Captain America gets bumped off the team as a result, imagine Reed’s comments to the media? Imagine his wife’s! He may be the only player not liked by both teams. Tiger better take himself, that’s what you have Assistant Captains for: ASSISTANCE.
Michael Schurman, Master Professional / Life Member, PGA of Canada: I was an opponent of Woods choosing himself when he was 13th on the points list. However, this victory puts him squarely on the team. Somehow, I wish he wasn’t the Captain yet because his playing career isn’t over.
Dave Kaplan, Freelance Writer (@davykap): There is no chance that he doesn’t pick himself! He should be a front runner at this point. The guy has two wins in his last eight starts, including a Green Jacket. Plus, he’s brimming with confidence. I’d be very worried if I was Ernie Els.
Peter Mumford, Fairways Magazine (@FairwaysMag): If he doesn’t pick himself, who would he pick? Patrick Reed? The rest of the team might rebel. Phil Mickelson? Not bloody likely that Tiger would give up a spot to Lefty when Tiger knows he’s by far the better player. And that goes for anyone else too. Tiger will be an inspirational leader on the US team as both a player and the captain. Just do it.
Ernie Els also has to make his Captain’s picks on November 4th. Jason Day and Sungjae Im are virtual locks for a spot on the team, while Adam Hadwin is likely to be added. Corey Conners finished T6 at the Zozo Championship and is trying hard to make a case for himself but may be too far back to merit a selection. Who does Els add as his fourth pick?
Deeks: Sentiment and complete lack of logic make me think Ernie should pick himself, if Tiger picks Tiger. I honestly don’t know who’s high on the list of possibles for the fourth pick (other than Conners, as you suggest). But I would think Joaquin Niemann, from Chile, would be a great pick, based on his stellar rookie year, and stellar amateur career. It would be a nice boost to South American golf, too.
Loughry: I have no idea what Ernie is thinking here, but he has some tough sledding to do on an already semi-weak (on paper) team in comparison to the US Team. We need some sizzle in this event which has been WAY too lopsided to the US domination. If Sungjae Im and Day are locked into spots 9 and 10, then that leaves Byeong Hun An, and even Si Woo Kim in addition to Conners and Hadwin to choose from. They’d all make fine choices. But there can only be 12. Corey Conners and teaming him up with Hadwin might be awesome-sauce! And yes, a homely call, but I like team chemistry and Hadwin and Conners would team up nicely. One thing I am sure of, Ernie won’t be selecting himself for the team! Good luck with your choices Big Easy.
Schurman: I’d love to see Connors make it, but he won’t based on his quality of play. Yes, his career is really coming along but he isn’t quite there yet. Els will pick Byeong Hun An to provide a bit of travel comfort to Im because they are language common. And An deserves it through stellar play. Els other choice is Janewattananond. “Jazz” is the #10 player and is on form. No debate!
Kaplan: I’d be ecstatic if he took a flier on Ho-Sung Choi. Believe it or not, that guy is a crowd favourite and can really make some noise when he gets on a roll. Plus, his presence alone would make for must-watch television. Please, Ernie. Make this happen!
Mumford: I think Ernie goes with Day, Im, Hadwin and Byeong Hun An. Another South Korean to pair with Im could be crucial in foursomes and fourballs. It would be popular for the Asian market too. Personally, I’d prefer Conners, who is having a remarkable year, and is likely to be a regular on future Presidents Cup teams but he’ll likely have to wait until the next time.
CBS has announced that 71-year old Gary McCord and 72-year Peter Kostis won’t be back in 2020 on the network’s golf broadcasts. It was stated that the golf coverage was getting stale and they wanted to go in a different direction. Good move by CBS?
Deeks: The celebration party is still going on at my house! The “GOODBYE AND GOOD RIDDANCE, GARY!” banner is prominently hanging over the living room fireplace, and fireworks are planned for this evening. At long last, I can turn off the MUTE button on CBS golf broadcasts. I’ve been saying for years that CBS should “young-up” its broadcast crew… starting with the odious, unamusing, self-promoting McCord, but also extending to Jim Nantz, Kostis, and even Nick Faldo. Golf is now an international game, and the best CBS would do is continue to prop up old white guys to call the “action”. Let’s hope that the “different direction” will include younger, more diverse men (and women!) who are willing to speak freely and frankly, critically and honestly. If you wake up the crew, you’ll wake up the audience.
Loughry: Found the timing of this a bit surprising but its probably time for some new blood in there. “Getting stale” might be an understatement, coverage has been BLAND and VERY predictable and riddled with commercials for years. I often watched on mute and when recorded kept my finger on the fast forward button for commercial breaks that I got very proficient at timing and predicting. I liked both gents, but know they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. It’s the coverage I actually have the most trouble with, its too focused on leaders and a few marquee players who are T30. They really need new producers, otherwise we’ll really just get CBS golf coverage 2.0 or commentators trying too hard to sell the coverage. With a few more changes, it could be a good move by CBS. Remember how much fun everyone poked at Fox for their coverage of the US Open over the past few years? Well, they have some things right and are improving each year, causing others to take a fresh look at their broadcasts.
Schurman: Kostis is always boring! If he has planned his retirement well hopefully his investments will ‘marry’ with his lifestyle. I like McCord. He tries to add to the broadcast. McCord was the first person to be slightly daring with humour. When he began, he was funny but as time went on, we began to realize he had a library of ‘pat’ quips and his ‘well’ ran dry as he reused the lines over and over. As soon as Feherty arrived, McCord was done. Feherty has the unique ability to make a spontaneous, unscripted, extremely colourful, quick remark. Rarely does he reuse a line or joke. He is an original.
Kaplan: Yes. Solid move. It’s never good to see people lose their livelihoods but I think the entire current slate of golf commentators across all networks could use an overhaul. I’ve been saying it for years: If golf wants to make itself appealing to younger demographics, it needs younger, more relatable broadcasters and comedians in the booth. As it stands right now, non-major broadcasts are about as captivating to watch as a regular season baseball game between two teams you’re indifferent toward. That needs to change going forward.
Mumford: It could be a great move if CBS uses it to add some invigorating new voices to what used to be the gold standard in golf broadcasts. Currently, the entire telecast is tired and stale, not just McCord and Kostis. Personally, I liked the way Kostis did his analysis; McCord’s shtick was like watching an old comedy routine that was funny the first time but not so much the 1,000th time. But at least he had a sense of humour. The rest of them not so much. Especially Nick Faldo. Letting David Feherty go was a huge mistake but probably an indicator of the way they want their telecast to go. Bland, boring, don’t rock the boat. I hear they’re adding Davis Love, another bland man. I’m not inspired.