Weekend Wrap – 2014 Ryder Cup

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 10.33.54 AM2014 Ryder Cup
Gleaneagles PGA Centenary Course
Perthshire, Scotland

What a fantastic weekend of golf at the 2014 Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup is for many the best golf event, even better than any of the four major championships. The atmosphere, the team competition, the format (various forms of match play), and second-guessing the captain’s picks all make for great discussion and entertainment.

For many years now the USA Ryder Cup team has been the underdog. Since the days the european team could pull players from all of europe instead of only the United Kingdom, the europeans have had the advantage. The last victory the USA team had on european soil dates back decades. This Ryder Cup was no different, the USA team coming as heavy underdogs.

Friday

Friday’s rounds consisted of morning fourballs and afternoon foursomes. Fourballs being best ball format and foursomes being alternate shot format. See last week’s Ryder Cup formats post for details.

Early Friday the USA team looked good, and was in a good position having won two of the four matches, tied the 3rd and lost the 4th. By morning’s end the USA team was up 2 ½ to 1 ½ and in good shape. The pairing of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed was solid with a 5&4 drubbing of Stephen Gallacher and Ian Poulter.

The afternoon foursomes however would be a different story. The USA team would only manage ½ point while the european team scored 3 ½ points to take a 5-3 lead.

17th

Saturday

Just the same as Friday, the USA team would once again score 2 ½ points in the morning fourballs to edge back into the competition.

Just the same as Friday, the european team would score 3 ½ points to the USA’s ½ point in the afternoon foursomes.

At day’s end Saturday, the european team had a commanding 10-6 lead. 10-6 leads are not insurmountable, as was proven twice in the past by the USA and the european team in 2010, but the odds of a comeback Sunday for the USA team were slim.

Sunday

Sunday’s format is 12 singles matches. Every player on each team plays an individual match. Europe only needed to record four points to retain the cup, out of 10 matches. Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlory, and Martin Kaymer all scored early points, along with Justin Rose a half point. This setup a great scenario which allowed 38-year-old Ryder Cup rookie Jamie Donaldson the chance to clinch the cup by closing out Keegan Bradley 4&3.

Conclusion

The outcome of the 2014 Ryder Cup was not a big surprise. Most pundits figured the european team would win. Many question USA captain Tom Watson’s captain’s picks and his pairings, but in the end the european team would have likely triumphed regardless of what the USA brought to the table.

Ryder Cup Formats

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 10.33.54 AMThe Ryder Cup is here.  Below is a description of the various formats which are contested in the Ryder Cup.  For reference, each Ryder Cup team has 12 players.  During Friday’s and Saturday’s matches, some players do not play and it is the captain’s choice as to who that would be.

Friday and Saturday Morning Fourball

A “Fourball” match is a golf match which of course, involves four golf balls in the group.  In fourball there are two two-man teams.  Each player plays his own ball the entire match.  On each hole the best score of the two players per team is used as the team’s score.  So if player A makes par and player B makes a birdie, player B’s birdie is the score of the team.  That score is matched against the best score of the opposing team on each hole in match play format.  Winning the match outright gives the team one point while halfing or tying the match results in one half point being awarded to each team.

This format is also referred to as “best ball” or “better ball.”

Friday and Saturday Afternoon Foursomes

“Foursomes” matches are better known in the USA as “alternate shot” matches.  These are very high stress matches where each two player team plays shots alternately.  Player A tees off then player B plays the next shot.  Shots alternate until the hole is completed.  This format is tough and pressure packed because one player who makes bad shots can cause his playing partner, and thus the team, much trouble.

Each match is worth one point for the winner or 1/2 point in the event that the match ends in a tie, or “halved.”

Sunday Singles

Sunday at the Ryder Cup is all about individual match play.  All 12 players on each team play individual matches against opponents on the other team.  Each match is worth one point, or 1/2 point for halved, or tied matches.

Singles matches can be tough to setup by the captains.  They must “load” the matches with their best players in what they perceive to be the most important positions.  For example let us say that one team faces a large deficit going into the Sunday singles matches.  The captain would “front load” his picks with the best players in the hopes that those players would score points quickly, and get their team back in contention.

Killer Course – Gleneagles

Ah it has been two years in waiting…  It is RYDER CUP WEEK!  What a great time this is for the golf world.  The Ryder Cup is arguably the most exciting, and most patriotic of golf events.  Team USA or Team Europe?

At the last Ryder Cup, on USA soil, Team USA blew a large lead on the last day.  This year the cup is on Team Europe’s soil, in front of Team Europe’s home crowd.  Let us take a look at the home of the 2014 Ryder Cup, Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 10.41.19 AMLocation

Gleneagles is located near Auchterarder, Perth and Kinross, Scotland (see map to right). This is the lower 3rd of Scotland, approximately 1-1.5 hours southwest of St. Andrews. The course is located inland, and is therefore not a “links” style course. Links courses “link” the land and the sea technically.

Design

Jack Nicklaus took on the task of designing the course in 1988 and the course was completed in 1993. The course winds through and over hilly terrain with classic scottish mountain backdrops.

Five sets of tees challenge players of all levels. The Ryder Cup tees will be at roughly 7,300 yards. Course rating from the longest tees is a tough 77 with a slope of 145. Tough indeed.

Bunkering takes on more of a flatter and wider american style and less of the round and deep pot-bunkers found on traditional scottish links courses.

Ryder Cup

As the course architecture is slightly more american than scottish, there’s not necessarily a distinct advantage for Team Europe. The primary advantage the european team will have is playing in front of their boisterous home crowd.

17th

17th

The stretch holes of 16-17-18 should provide some great drama. 16 is a 518 yard par-5 which is reachable in two by most players at the Ryder Cup level. Expect to see many birdies and even some eagles on this hole. Hole 17 is a long par-3 which stretches to 194 yards, slightly downhill. The green is guarded by plenty of bunkering, rewarding accuracy. Hole 18 (below) is another par-5 which is even more reachable than hole 16. This finishing hole is perfectly designed to reward aggressive play and should be the location of many dramatic moments in the 2014 Ryder Cup.

18th

18th

Contact

Auchterarder
Perthshire
Scotland PH3 1NF
www.gleneagles.com

This Guy May Be Beyond Anger Management Training

Golf is hard.  Golf is frustrating.  Golf can make you go crazy.   Case in point is the video below, where this player has clearly lost his mind.  Mute your sound if you are offended by some choice expletives by a golfer who apparently has had enough of the game, forever.  He pulled each club out of his bag following a member/guest tournament, and snapped each and every one.

This player didn’t keep his cool, and probably was not using better tools from Frogger!

Perhaps this guy needs some anger management training?

Posted in Fun |

Weekend Wrap

TPC Four Seasons 18th Green

TPC Four Seasons 18th Green

Champions Tour
Hawaii Championship
Kapolei Golf Club
Kapolei, Hawaii

There’s a popular new player on the Champions Tour, Davis Love III. Davis Love III is a 20-time winner of the PGA Tour and who turned 50 in April, but waited until this past week to participate in his first Champions Tour event. The 50 and older field proved to be tough competition for Love III, who finishes in a tie for 64th in the 81-player, no-cut field.

After two rounds, two players were tied for the lead: Fred Funk and Paul Goydos. Funk fired a final round 69 which included a fantastic hole-in-one on the 16th hole with a 4-hybrid from 200 yards. The ace wasn’t enough.

Paul Goydos rode a four-hole birdie streak to victory for his first Champions Tour victory in his fifth attempt. Goydos birdied holes 14-17 for a two shot lead, but made it interesting by blowing his approach over the 18th and having to get up and down for bogey to secure a one shot win over Funk and Scott Dunlap who fired a fantastic final round of 65.

Web.com Tour
Web.com Tour Finals
TPC Sawgrass
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

This is a huge time of year for up-and-comers in professional golf, and for professionals who have made it to the PGA Tour but didn’t perform well enough to keep their tour cards. The Web.com Tour Championship is the last opportunity for players to secure positions high enough to secure their 2015 tour cards.

Notables who came through and will have 2015 privileges include Sam Saunders, the 27-year-old grandson of Arnold Palmer.

Utahn Tony Finau first appeared on the scene on Golf Channel’s big break series. He secured his tour card by finishing in in the top 25 for the regular season on the Web.com Tour.

“Half Man, Half Amazing” is the slogan for the very popular Andres Gonzales from Olympia, Washington. Gonzales has been close on the Web.com and will finally get to showcase his skills on the big stage. He is sure to be a fan favorite.

Players who once played on the big tour, lost their cards, and gained them back include Alex Cejka, Jason Gore, Bud Cauley, and Sean O’Hair.

Ladies Welcome

For the first time in centuries, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews is a mixed club, meaning male AND female members, a result of a recent vote which was overwhelmingly in favor of adding women members. Previously the club was only open to male members.

Photo courtesy of Tony Korologos at HookedOnGolfBlog.com

Photo courtesy of Tony Korologos at HookedOnGolfBlog.com  © 2013 – Used by permission

The changes are effective immediately.

“I can confirm that The Royal & Ancient Golf of St. Andrews is now a mixed membership club.” ~R&A secretary Peter Dawson

The vote was 85% for and 15% against in a club which has some 2,500 members. Yes, that does mean slightly over 300 members voted against allowing women into its membership.

The club is also fast-tracking as many as 15 women to join in the next few months.

Clarification

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club should not be confused with the Old Course at St. Andrews. They are two separate entities. This vote does not relate to whether or not women can or cannot golf on the Old Course, which welcomes female players.

Love Can Hurt, But Please Don’t Hurt the Golf Course as a Result

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the logic here, but then again in the cases of love and relationships sometimes logic is not possible. A 23-year-old man in Orchard Park, New York broke up with his girlfriend and was so distraught that he decided to destroy parts of a golf course with his vehicle.

The man drove up the 18th hole toward the 18th green, but then decided to head for the 9th green where he did 3-4 donuts. Damages to the course exceeded $50,000.

Fortunately the golf course was equipped with a very good video surveillance system and was able to identify the vehicle and get a license plate number. They traced the vehicle to the owner and found his vehicle, complete with grass from the golf course on his tires.

This is a very unfortunate event for the course and its ownership, especially in a time where the golf economy is struggling. All our best to the unfortunate golf course and its ownership. They have a temporary green setup while they implement repairs. Certainly this situation will not help their business.

Tuesday Tip – Gravity

Kris MoeFrogger resident pro Kris Moe has some great videos on YouTube, both part of the Frogger Golf offerings and his own golf schools/instruction.

In the video below Kris shows us how we can use gravity to our advantage to help with the golf swing.

First, gravity can help us “drop” the club and hands down properly through the impact zone.  This motion is crucial and helps us generate club-head speed, power, and thus distance.

Second, by using a weight we get the feel for our natural instinct to clear the body and hips.  If a weight is coming down toward us we are naturally inclined to “get out of the way.”  Getting the hips to release and getting the body out of the way for the swing is important.  Doing so can help us release the club on the proper line.  Improper lines produce slices and hooks.  Getting the hips and body out of the way also helps us generate even more speed and thus more distance.

The gravity drill is simple and very effective.  It can be done with or without a weight and can help get the proper feel for the downswing, even moments before you hit your first tee shot.

 

Weekend Wrap – $10,000,000 Style

Golf BetsPGA Tour
Tour Championship – FedEx Cup Playoff Final Round
East Lake Golf Club
Atlanta, Georgia

The Tour Championship is the final event on the PGA Tour and the last of four playoff events. In the Tour Championship there is much on the line, primarily deciding the winner of the FedEx Cup and the huge $10,000,000 prize. Second place is nothing to sneeze at either, a cool $5,000,000.

On top of the possibility of winning the $10,000,000, the event itself has a first place prize of $1,400,000. Some player situations could mean they would win the event and the $1.4 million, but not the Cup. Other player situations were setup where the player could win both. Such was the case for Billy Horschel, Bubba Watson, Chris Kirk, and Hunter Mahan.

Last week’s BMW Championship winner Billy Horschel started the final round tied with FedEx Cup favorite and world #1 golfer Rory McIlory. Many press and fans had already anointed McIlory the prize. Horschel had not.

Horschel fired a tremendous final round 68, separating himself from second-place finisher Rory McIlory.

“It just gives me so much confidence, so much thrill to accomplish something like this, especially with the guys I was going up against. “

There’s no doubt that Horschel is currently the hottest golfer on the planet. Ironically his play this season was not good enough to earn himself a spot in the upcoming 2014 Ryder Cup. The hot play came after the qualification period, and after the captain’s picks were made. That’s fine with Horschel. He’s got $11.4 million more in the back today than he did five days ago. If he’s bored during the cup, he can count his blessings.

The next stop for Horschel on tour is the 2014 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas. One might think the local casinos will be rolling out the red carpet for a chance at a piece of the $11.4 mil?

Rounding out the top five finishers in the FedEx Cup are Chris Kirk (2nd), Rory McIlroy (3rd), Jim Furyk (4th), and Bubba Watson (5th).