The Round Table: Fixing the Presidents Cup, Quail Hollow stars and choking

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.

The Presidents Cup is 100% controlled by the PGA Tour so it’s not likely anything will change in the short term with respect to LIV Golf players participating. With the International Team decimated by defections, this year’s contest looks to be very one-sided and could have the event on life support. One option is to carry on and wait for the International team to rebuild. But there are other solutions ranging from kill the event entirely to different formats with different participants. How would you re-structure the Presidents Cup moving forward? 

Jim Deeks, Fairways Magazine (@jimdeeks): Usually greeted with ridicule and disbelief, I’ve said for years that the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup should be combined into one competition, pitting North America (US, Canada, and Mexico) against the Rest of the World (Europe, Asia, South Africa, ANZAC, and everyone else).  I think the current Ryder Cup makeup is rather elitist, and the Presidents Cup is one-sided.  Put ’em together and you’d have a truly international competition.  But, since that’s not gonna happen in my lifetime, and to answer your question, I’d say let the Presidents Cup die a peaceful death — that is, unless the international team actually surprises everyone with a great showing this time around.

Michael Schurman, Master Professional / Hall of Fame Member, PGA of Canada: I have long been an advocate of a mixed team event. Once the ladies are provided with some form of handicapping draw the players out of a hat. Men or women vs men or women according to the draw. It could be two ladies vs a man and a lady etc. In the final round, the entire event could be decided by a lady vs a man. Other than that Jay Monahan has to reel it in and discuss his future and the future of professional tour golf before the PGA is left in the dust.

TJ Rule, Golf Away Tours (@GolfAwayTJ): It could be ugly this week, although golf is a funny game and sometimes surprises us.  Let’s hope that’s the case this week or else there may not be much drama come Sunday.  I have mentioned it before, but I think that combining the men and women in the competition would add some intrigue and definitely even out the competition.  With the deep international talent pool including Brooke and several of the Korean ladies, it would be a great competition.  At least I would be more interested than I am this week!

Hal Quinn, Freelance Writer, Vancouver: It is cruel and unusual punishment that golf fans have to endure “USA” chants every year, even worse in Olympic years. Putting up with it in Ryder Cup years is enough. The non-Americans (what’s an International, anyway?) have won this thing just once. Fahgettaboutit! Let it just go away. No one will notice.

Peter Mumford, Fairways Magazine (@FairwaysMag): I’d love to see any competition that includes the best players, regardless of which Tour they play. Involving women would at least give the Presidents Cup a unique look and make it more competitive. Wresting control from the PGA Tour is not likely to happen though, and if they still control this competition under these same rules, then fan disinterest will likely kill it very soon.

Pick one player from each team at the Presidents Cup that you think might be the star this week?

Deeks: Justin Thomas and Corey Conners.

Schurman: Believe it or not, this might be the first ‘big’ golf event I didn’t watch in close to 40 years. I don’t care. CFL vs NFL. Miracle on ice.

Rule: I really hope it’s Taylor Pendrith.  He has come out of relative obscurity (not for us Canadians but in the world of golf) to make the team and he has a game that plays well in match play.  So, I’ll predict that he will have a big week.  For the Americans, I’m going to go a similar route and take a long hitting rookie in Cameron Young.  He has had an exceptional year and is poised to surprise many in this year’s event.

Quinn: Yikes, tough one. Answering requires knowing who’s on the teams. Would pick Hadwin, but was told he didn’t make the cut, but the bomber Pendrith did so he’s my non-American pick. For the bookies’ massive favourites, any American.

Mumford: I certainly hope it’s not any of the loudmouth hair-on-fire circle-the-wagons for the PGA Tour types, so I’m going with Adam Scott for the Internationals and Jordan Spieth for the Americans. Two class acts that could restore a little decorum to a golf world gone mad.

At the conclusion of the Fortinet Cup in Napa, CA, Max Homa chipped in for birdie on the 72nd hole to tie Danny Willett at 16-under. Willett still had a four-footer for birdie himself, so make it and he wins, miss it and he ties. Unbelievably, Willett three-jacked it, handing the title to Homa. Can you think of a worse display of putting on the final hole to lose a tournament?

Deeks: I’m in London and didn’t see it… just millions of mourners for the Queen.  But it sounds like they should’ve been mourning Danny Willett as well.  His fate brings to mind Scott Hoch at the Masters, Doug Sanders at The Open, and Jim Deeks in several club matches over the years.  So, I sympathize.

Schurman: On an individual basis Hale Irwin fanning a tap-in the British Open is tough to beat as is I.K. Kim missing from 12″. The team award goes to Stewart Cink and Retief Goosen in the US Open. Cink needed a 15-footer to tie then he missed a tap-in and then missed another tap-in. Making his lapse worse was Goosen then missed from two feet too. Between them, they took six putts from 15′ feet. but four of them were inside two feet.

Rule: I felt for Willett when I watched that highlight.  He was clearly trying to win it by jamming the first putt in the back of the hole and you have to admire that and admire the way he handled it after the loss.  It was just an amazing few minutes and I can’t think of any one final hole where there was less of a chance of winning for the eventual champion.  There have been many bad putts on the 72nd hole of events in the past and the two that stand out the most are Scott Hoch at the Masters and Doug Sanders at St Andrews.  Another one that just came to mind was the 3-putt by DJ at Chambers Bay, handing the title to Jordan Spieth.  Those were all in majors, so they’ll be remembered much more than Willett’s collapse in Napa.

Quinn: This one had a bit more at stake (what is a Fortinet, anyway?). Coming off a 3-putt on the final hole that cost him a spot in the 1987 PGA Championship playoff, two years later Scott Hoch missed a 24-incher on the first playoff hole that would have won him The Masters. Of course, in his pre-Sir days, Faldo won it on the next hole. The gaffe was immortalized in the cruel but accurate newspaper headline: Hoch (As in Choke) misses putt.

Mumford: Sanders and Hoch always jump to mind when we talk about major putting hiccups, probably because they get mentioned so often. Sanders was a good and colourful player at the time but certainly not one of the PGA Tour elites. And Hoch never was. Dustin Johnson’s three putt on the 72nd hole at Chambers Bay to lose the U.S. Open is the worst I can think of – an elite player at the top of his game and a massive brain fart at the worst possible moment. He might not have won the playoff, but we’ll never know. I hope Spieth sends him a thank you note every year.




The Round Table
The Round Table is a panel of golf writers, PGA members and industry experts.

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