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It’s Ryder Cup Week!

It is finally here! The Ryder Cup! By far one of my favorite events in all of sports. The bi-annual event between Team USA and Team Europe kicks off this Friday. The 39th edition of the Ryder Cup is at Medinah Country Club outside of Chicago. The US team is led by Captain Davis Love III and the European squad is captained by Jose Maria Olazabal. Both men are Ryder Cup veterans and have played against each other in the past. This is going to be good.

The PGA Tour just finished is season with the Tour Championship at East Lake C.C. In Atlanta. Seventeen of the players in the field of 30 are competing in the Ryder Cup. All 12 Americans were in the Tour Championship and 5 of the European Team members were as well. There is a truckload of talent between the two teams. All 12 of the Team USA members are ranked in the top 25 in the Official World Rankings. Team Europe has 7 players in the top 25. This is the most talent ever in the Ryder Cup.

So here are some questions. Will we see Rory vs Tiger? Who is DL3 going to pair together? Can the Europeans overcome what is expected to be a hostile US crowd? Can Team USA live up to the expectations and win?

First, I think we will see Rory vs Tiger on Friday. I think DL3 and Jose Maria will give the fans what they want to see. That is the only way to guarantee McIlroy and Woods play against each other. Sunday singles matches is near impossible to line them up. Unless both captains put them up in the first or last match on Sunday figuring the other will do the same. So I think we will get this matchup during the four-ball or foursome matches.

Pairings. Of course we all know that Captain Davis will go with the pairing of Woods/Stricker right of the bat. That is why Steve is on this team, to be paired with Tiger. This pairing has worked in the past. Keegan Bradley has said he wants to play with Phil Mickelson. I think it makes sense. Put a steady Eddie rookie with The Ryder Cup veteran “Phil the Thrill”. That would be a solid pair. Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson have also said they would like to play together. Both are calm and cool customers. I think that pair could be sneaky point hogs for Team USA. And what about FedEx Cup Champ Brandt Snedeker? Who does this Ryder Cup rookie play with? Furyk? Dustin Johnson? Capt. DL3 has so much talent on this roster that I am not sure if he can go wrong with whomever he runs out there.

Finally, I believe the crowd will be a HUGE factor. In this day and age of Twitter, Facebook and the Internet, fans on the grounds will know exactly what is going on all over the course and be able to react accordingly. This could prove to be an advantage for the Americans. The fans will instantly know match status and how hard to route on the US Team or worse…jeer and heckle the Europeans. That will be something Team Europe will have to deal with for sure.

My prediction: Captain Davis Love III brings the Cup back to stay on American soil.
Team USA wins 15 1/2 – 12 1/2.

You can follow me on Twitter @ GolfMonger


Hunter Mahan is a bad sport

So Hunter Mahan says he will probably not watch the Ryder Cup matches in two weeks when they take place in Chicago at Medinah Country Club. Give me a break! Talk about a spoiled sport. In an interview he gave this week at he stated that having been there and competed in it…it would be too tough to watch. He will probably just tune in at the end of each day to check the scores. What a load of crap!!!!!

Hunter Mahan is like the kid in the neighborhood that didn’t get picked for the game. Come on, we all knew this kid when we were young. If he did not get picked to play in the game (no matter what sport it may be) he would grab his stuff, get on his Huffy bicycle and peddle his butt home crying to his mommy that the mean kids wouldn’t let him play. That is what Hunter Mahan is doing now about the Ryder Cup. He did not get chosen as one of the four Captain’s Picks to see his going home to pout and not watch the matches.

Bravo Hunter!!! You jerk!! How about a little professionalism? How about a little patriotism? How about acting like a grown adult? So you didn’t make the team. To quote our good friend, and the Sports Monger himself, Jason Havelka “Life’s tough…wear a helmet!”

Hunter Mahan has only himself to blame for not making this team. After the Masters in April he was in first place on the Ryder Cup points list. Then he played like a dog for the next four months. He missed the cut at The Players Championship, finished 38th at the US Open, 19th at The Open Championship and missed the cut at the PGA Championship. His best finish was 8th at the AT&T National at Congressional. Yes he was 9th on the points list for the Ryder Cup, but he had not played well all summer. So why would DL3 take him?

I think Hunter Mahan is a very good golfer. In fact I have picked him to win several tournaments in a fantasy golf pool that I play in. But my opinion of Hunter Mahan the man has changed tremendously after his comments this week. It is ok to be disappointed that he did not get picked. It is even ok to be angry and feel like you were screwed or over looked. But come on Hunter….show a little class. Don’t stomp your feet and take your toys and go home. We all thought you were better than that.

“Life’s tough…wear a helmet!” Words to live by Hunter.

Can anyone beat McIlroy???

Can anyone beat Rory McIlroy for the 2012 FedEx Cup and $10 million prize?? The list is short. Tiger, Phil and Dustin Johnson are the only ones that have a chance (in my opinion that is). They are the only 3 players that have been playing at a high enough level to try and keep up with Rory. He is playing so incredibly well right now that I am not sure that he can be caught.

The Tour Championship at East Lake C.C. Is next weekend outside Atlanta. The top 30 holders in FedEx Cup rankings are in the field. They all better hope that the week off will cool McIlroy down some to get everyone else a chance. There are some great names in the field next week. Lee Westwood, Brandt Snedeker, Louis Oosthuizen, and Bubba Watson are all within striking distance but I still believe only 3 guys have a shot at this thing.

Rory has played so well that he can finish as low as 29th at East Lake and still have a mathematical shot at winning the Cup! 29th!! That is next to last!! It is very likely that he will win this thing…..unless…..

Tiger wins next week then he is champion. Or if Phil wins then he is champ. Or if DJ wins and Rory finishes 3rd or worse. These 3 are the only people playing on the same level as McIlroy. In my opinion it will be one of these four men that will be walking away with $10 million in their pocket next week.

I know football season is in full swing now but man these FedEx Cup playoffs have been exciting!!!

Ryder Cup Captain makes his picks

Captain Davis Love III announced his picks to round out the remaining spots on this year’s US Ryder Cup Team. He announced the four spots in this order, Dustin Johnson, Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker and Steve Stricker. DL3 announced at the press conference broadcast live on that the players were announced in no particular order other than by height. He laughed and stated that was as good a way as any to announce them.

I am very happy with these four being selected to the team. Johnson has been playing as good as just about anyone the last few weeks. And his length and power are perfect for the “big ballpark” that is Medinah. Davis Love III said that was one of the reasons he picked DJ. Furyk is a no brainer in my opinion. The team needs his experience. This will be his 8th Ryder Cup appearance. Stricker is on the team to be partnered with Tiger Woods period. End of story. Snedeker is wielding the hottest putter on the planet since The Open Championship. That will be a giant asset in the Ryder Cup matches. As we all know….putting has both won and lost the Cup for the Americans in the past. Snedeker can help win the Cup with his putting.

I am not even going to go into who was left off the team. It does not matter. I believe Captain Davis Love III put together a squad that can win the Ryder Cup back from the European team. When asked how he thought his players would prepare for Medinah, DL3 responded by saying “They will be playing a lot of golf over the next few weeks competing for the FedEx Championship and a whole lot of money.” He said he is pretty sure that they will be focused.

This team is deep in talent and the four Captain’s picks rounded out the roster nicely. The 2012 Ryder Cup will be exciting and should end with the US team celebrating victory on American soil!

World Am is in full swing

Good morning from rainy Myrtle Beach! Of course it is raining…the World Am is in town! The World Amateur Handicap Championship has been played in Myrtle Beach For 29 years now. It has more than 3,000 folders from all 50 states and more than 20 foreign countries and rain. I have to laugh. I have live in Myrtle Beach for 14 years and it always rains during the week of the World Am. This time it is the effects of Hurricane Issac that have reached the Carolinas.

But I digress. This is an amazing event. It is 3,000+ golfers, playing over 50 courses along the Grand Strand, over 4 days. Every night once play is done the participants and their guests (spouses) get to enjoy “The World’s Largest 19th Hole” at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. It is catered by a variety of restaurants in Myrtle Beach an provides free drinks and live entertainment. It also has vendor booths, demo areas and on-site instruction from PGA professionals.

This venue is truly incredible. People roaming around, cocktail in hand commiserating on how bad they played that day or in some cases how well. Then they discuss the courses they played. Most enjoy the courses, but there always the one that say it was terrible (probably because they shot 10 strokes over their handicap that day). But there are people from all over the country and the world in one place soon the same thing….taking golf. I sold a driver to a guy that was from France. The only words of each other that we could understand were the golf terms as he was describing what he was looking for in a driver and I was trying to tell him how great the Razor Eclipse driver was and what the price was. But we were still 2 guys talking golf!!! Awesome experience!!!

I do not play in the event. I have to work during the day. But each year I work a vendor booth for Razor Golf. They are a club manufacturer out of Tampa, FL. The owner is a friend and in return for my labor I receive food, drinks, and most importantly, any new clubs that Razor Golf has developed!!

So I look forward to the next three nights at the “19th Hole” and chatting it up with the golfers from around the world. I will eat some great food. I will have a few cocktails. I will make some new friends. And when it is all said and done I will watch them all leave town and start looking forward to next year as I say “I really need to play in this thing one of these years!”. Just like I do every year.

Golf Training Aids to Avoid #1

I co-host a weekly talk show on ESPN Radio 100.3 The Team in Myrtle Beach. Each week I try to find products in the market that will help our listeners golf games. My searches have led me to find some really strange items. So I also share those items as “things to avoid” in your search for improving your golf game. So I have decided to start sharing these items here on SportsMongerOnTheGreen.

The Foot Wedge
Now…we all know what a foot wedge is. It is when you move your ball with your foot to improve your lie. (Don’t act like you haven’t done it before). But this is an actual training aid that is named The Foot Wedge. It is a plastic wedge designed to use on driving range mats or on grass. Designed to stop swaying, you put your back foot on the wedge at address and swing the club.
So….you jack your back foot in the air to force your body weight forward and to stop you from swaying backward. Won’t you be off balance again once you take the wedge away????? An why would I pay $14.95 plus shipping and handling for something I can build myself for free??? And the kicker…Don’t call it a Foot Wedge!!!! That is the 15th club in the bag that cheaters use!!!!!

I mostly am amused by the name “The Foot Wedge”. Too funny all things considered. Let’s face it friends, what is the best way to improve your game??? Hit the range and practice!!! Golf is hard! No gimmick or training tool can replace good old fashioned driving range time.

As I continue my search for quality golf training products I am certain to discover more bad or funny ones too. And those are the products I will share with you. I will save you the time and give you the items not to buy.

Hit ’em straight!!

Hello From Myrtle Beach!

My first blog post to Sports Monger On the Green…what should I write about?? On the heels of the PGA Championship I think the state of major golf tournaments is a great topic! With his record setting victory at The Ocean Course this week, Rory McIlroy broke a string of 16 consecutive majors with a new winner. That is a run that we have not seen in a long time thanks mostly to Tiger Woods.
The PGA Tour has a large pool of very talented golfers. More so now than at any other time in its history in my opinion. It seems like anyone in the field could win any week. There are consistently new names in the leader board each week. I love it! Watching these young aggressive golfers attack the golf courses each week is amazing. I am not surprised anymore when I turn on the TV and don’t see a “household” name on the first page of the leader board.
It is a very exciting time to be a golf fan!!!
I am glad to be joining Sports Monger on the Green at this time. We will have lots to talk about!!