Solheim Cup…Make it a World Cup

August 25, 2009
Why not this much excitement every week?  Maybe because US players never win anymore, but probably just because the SOlheim Cup was fun for everybody(AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Why arent they this excited every week? Because US players never win anymore? Nah, probably just because the Solheim Cup was actually entertaining(AP Photo/Mike Groll)

The Solheim Cup was the most tweeted, blogged, and overall the most talked about event for the LPGA of the season, and for a sport that is struggling to keep sponsors, it was pretty vital.  LPGA tournaments are dropping like flies these days.  Classic events are going away and new ones are not springing up in the near future.

But last week, the ladies showed that they can be interesting, play well, and even at times, be more entertaining than the men’s game.

So what should the LPGA do to capitalize on last week’s success?

Well, the format of last week’s Solheim Cup is a very popular one.  Everyone loves a good Ryder Cup setup.  You start chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A!,” and Americans who have never seen golf of any kind before automatically are glued to the set and are bigger experts than Dottie Pepper.

And, don’t forget, the power of how the rest of the world likes to root against the US (not necessarily out of hatred for our country, but more of a “I hate the Yankees because they spend so much money,” kind of thing”(I was referring there to the New York Yankees, not Americans as Yankees there)).

I am aware there is already a Women’s World Cup of Golf, but they didn’t have me plan it, so obviously, its all wrong.  The LPGA schedule, unlike the men’s schedule, is full of holes.  Plenty of room to take a shot at another event here or there, and here is my masterplan.

Alright, so you got that US team?  Add Canada in with them, and name them something thing like Northern North America.  We can work on names later.  The European team is fine as is.  Asia can easily put together a team, and probably trounce the rest of the world with very little effort.  South Korea has 47 players on the tour alone, and its a little bigger than Indiana.

Then take Mexico (Lorena Ochoa), South America, Australia, South Africa, and any Antarcticans if they happen to spring up and create a 4th team called, World, or something.  So you got 4 teams so far,and you give them a bit of a golf icon as their captain to spark a little more interest:

The Northern North: Golf Icon Captain guy, Lee Trevino, he seems right for this role, maybe because he was in Happy Gilmore.

Europe: GICG, Seve Ballesteros, hands off the ladies, Seve.

Asia: GICG, YE Yang? Nah, not yet, Vijay Singh maybe.

The Black Knight could motivate anybody.  Hed have the world team doing pushups all day.

The Black Knight could motivate anybody. He'd have the world team doing pushups all day.

And everyone else… World?…yeah. GICG: Gary Player seems like a perfect fit.

So everyone plays eachother once.  That is three weekends right there.  Plus you can have the events either separate, or have all four teams play at the same course.  After the four teams have played, they are seeded based on how badly the Asians beat them, and a playoff situation is set up.  1 plays four and so on.

So say Asia is number one and Europe is number four: They would play in say, Seoul for the right to play in the championship while the US and Mexico played at Brookline to get there, too.

It would set up a cool scenario of not only trying to win to get to the championship, but golfers and fans having to TV-watch like other sports do in the playoffs (obviously the timing would be a bit messed up by the 13 hour difference between Seoul and Massachusetts, but bear with me).

Moving on.  They play the championship at some predetermined location, and the champion of the first year guarantees the championship being played on their turf the next year.  This is key because anyone who has ever missed a 4 ft putt in the Ryder cup will tell you, home soil is a little friendlier.

The champion wins a lot of pride and flag waving, but really that is why sponsors will love this.  You do not need a huge purse, and people will come to these events if they are scheduled right.  People will even watch them on TV.

Also, with golf’s addition to the Olympics this will be a great tuneup.  Who wouldn’t like to hear Nick Faldo say, “Michelle Wie going after her first gold medal, but she has to take on Anna Nordquist, who beat her mercilessly in the World Cup last year.”

It sets up different types of matches and easier to follow TV coverage, and gives LPGA fans and non-fans an easier time trying to find something they haven’t had in the last few years, someone to root for.

I am all for having Jessica Alba golf every week, but Im sure she has better things to do, and Id rathr just see good golf.

I am all for having Jessica Alba golf every week, but I'm sure she has better things to do, and I'd rather just see good golf.

The other alternatives I have seen for the Ladies’ circuit to get their sponsors back are more about wearing tight outfits, and teaching supermodels to golf.  So, I think this is a viable alternative.  Not that I wouldn’t want to see Gisele pout like Sergio after knocking one in the water on 18, or even just grabbing her ball out of the 18th hole, but I would prefer just good golf.

The Solheim Cup brought the best out of the LPGA players, fans, and even perked up the sleeping sponsors.  It was much more interesting than a Tiger-less Wyndham Championship.

There is no reason the LPGA cannot create something similar on a more regular basis.

Just name it after us, The First Annual Blue Duck Ladies World Cup.  Quack.

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Carebear’s British Open Preview/ Predictions

July 15, 2009
Can two guys recreate the Duel in the Sun 32 years later?

Can two guys recreate the Duel in the Sun 32 years later?

The 2009 British Open is being held at Turnberry for the first time since 1994.  15 years ago, Nick Price took down the Claret Jug with a young Jesper Parnevik nipping at his heels.  Turnberry presents the unique challenges that make the British Open a change of pace from other tournaments on the PGA tour schedule.  It gives guys a taste of what many of the European players deal with on a weekly basis, and most of the players are happy to get back to the States when its over.

Weather seems to always be a huge focal point when the tour jumps across the ocean and this year should be no different.  Tiger spoke in depth about the wind after his practice round on Tuesday, and talked about how this is a ball striker’s course.  Looking at past champions, Nick Price, Tom Watson and Greg Norman you would think you may see a big name take the Jug, but there are so many solid strikers teeing off that it is pretty wide open.

So, without further ado,

My Four Horsemen
Tiger Woods

Tiger has become the British Open king in the last few years.  He has won two of the last three Opens he has played in, and has the shotmaking ability and precision with his irons to keep his Trans-Atlantic dominance in full effect.  Throw in the fact that he has already won three tournaments this year and has been driving the ball quite well, and it would be irresponsible not to pick him as a potential winner.

Martin Kaymer

Martin Kaymer is hot right now.  The young German has won the last two tournaments on the European tour and this may be the week that he makes his big splash on the world scene.  19th right now in the World Golf Rankings, Kaymer has got a shot if he keeps his strong play going.

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy: Perfect Swing, Jackass Hair

Rory McIlroy: Perfect Swing, Jackass Hair

I am always going to side with the European players when it comes to the British Open.  Even though before Padraig Europeans haven’t had a huge amount of success at the Open Championship, they are just so much more adapted to the style of play necessary to tackle the courses and the weather in the big tourney.  McIlroy is also an easy choice because he is extremely talented.  He has finished in the mix in many tournaments on both sides of the pond this year, but has yet to really show the golf world what he is capable of.  There is no better stage for the young Irishman to show his ability.

Boo Weekley

Boo has had some injury trouble so far this year, but I love the guy.  He is the type of American player that the Brits really like.  He is a cartoon American, a gun toting, southern accent twanging, camo wearing, American caricature, but he is also a great ball striker who hits it straight and can hit it low.  Boo showed some signs of life at an easy course in Hartford a month ago, and hopefully he will put it together at Turnberry.

Who’s Really Hot Right Now?

Other than Martin Kaymer:  Hunter Mahan.  He finishes top ten every week now.  Not really sure if he can contend on this course, but he has surprised me all year.  If Hunter could put a whole week together, he might have a few wins this year.  Very close to a US Open championship.

Old Guy that could Contend:

Greg Always had his priorities straight:  Hair, bitches and trophies take notes Rory.

Greg Always had his priorities straight: Hair, bitches and trophies. Take notes Rory.

Greg Norman: Throw some money down on Greg.  He won at this course once.  So what it was 23 years ago.  He was leading this event going into the last round last year.  Greg makes enough money off of wine to not feel the pressure of winning anymore, and even more of a reason to favor the 54yr old Aussie, he doesn’t use MacGregor equipment anymore.  He swings actual golf clubs now, but then again, Paddy’s won 2 in a row with Wilson.

2 More Longshots

Robert Rock and as always, Ryuji Imada.  Rock lost in an epic playoff in the Irish Open that was a baby-British Open.  Don’t expect a similar result, but I’d look like a genius if one came.

Best Potential Storyline

There are a few good finishes that could come out here.  Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods facing eachother down on the Isles would be pretty cool.  Rory is everyone’s expected heir apparent, but hasn’t shown it yet.  I’d expect expect him to shake in his footjoys in a showdown against his idol, but maybe we will find out on Sunday.

Sergio losing in 2007 is one of my favorite recent golf memories, but it was only after Padraig put two in the water on 18 to give him a shot to blow it.  This brings in the potential for a 2009 meltdown.  Who will be the victim?  My guess: Lee Westwood?  Paul Casey?  Who knows?  Expect a choke, though.  If Ricky Barnes was playing I’d pick him.  He wears the dumbest hats.

A Warning for the TV Audience
This weekend should be a commentator’s dream come true.  Check out the Results from Turnberry’s last Open.  One David Feherty finished fourth, Nick Faldo finished eighth, and if they decide to bring Peter Jacobsen along, he finished in a tie for twenty-fourth.  Faldo’s actually playing this week, too.  Johnny Miller was rehearsing for his lines in Tin Cup when the tournament took place.

Before becoming the semi-funny guy thats not Mccord, and not as serious as Baker-Finch, David Feherty put up a solid week at Turnberry.

Before becoming the semi-funny guy that's not Mccord, and not as serious as Baker-Finch, David Feherty put up a solid week at Turnberry.

So, on that note I will conclude.  Having Tiger back in the Open Championship returns it to prominence in 2009.  The course that was the site of the famous Duel in the Sun in 1977 should make for a great venue and no doubt, the British crowd will be as boisterous as ever.  If you’re a night owl, you can really take it all in.  Set down in the recliner at 1:30AM thursday morning and start pounding beers.  They only tee off at the first so you got tee times for the next 9 hours.  That means Calcavecchia and his athletic frame will be done with eighteen before you get up for work.  So enjoy another good week of what has been a solid season for golf thus far.

The Turnberry Lighthouse will be the backdrop for another big Major week.

The Turnberry Lighthouse will be the backdrop for another big Major week.


Carebear’s 2009 US Open Preview

June 18, 2009
Enough Said

Enough Said

The US Open is by far, the best tournament on the golf calendar.  It showcases the strongest and toughest golfers on a course that brings Fed Ex Cup hopefuls to their knees.  This year should be no exception.

There is plenty of drama leading up to the event.  Tiger won a couple weeks ago, and is playing some of his best golf since getting his bionic knee repaired;   Phil is trying to keep his mind out of his way with his wife battling a tougher fight than Bethpage; Sergio returns to the course where fans opened up to him so much that he saluted them…with his middle finger in 2002(I love New York), and Brian Gay tries to keep his dream season going with another win.

The elements will be a factor again at Bethpage as Thursday’s round will be plagued with heavy rain, and the outlook is gloomy the rest of the weekend as well.  So who will rise above the rain, the 7,445 yard course, the NY fans, and  the overall pressure of the biggest championship in golf to take the trophy?

Well, here’s my Nostradamus-like shot at picking the contenders:
My Four Horsemen:

Tiger Woods

I will never not pick Tiger.  In any golf event he is the favorite.  He drove the ball better than he has in years (maybe ever) at the Memorial.  He has switched to a 10 degree driver and it has paid off.  Woods also showed that he still has the balls to take a tournament with his precise approach shot on 18 two sundays ago.  If Tiger is still on, then no one else has a chance…  He could run away with this.

Camilo Villegas

Camilo is a strange little Colombian dude with a strange little Colombian swing, and a strange giant Red Bull buckle, but he keeps on putting up good scores and reminding Anthony Kim of what he could be if he didn’t drink Busch Light all day instead of practicing.
Camilo hits it long and hits greens.  He tends to run out of energy by Saturday, though, because he exerts himself by flexing every time a camera walks by.  It may be his time for a major victory.

Alvaro Quiros

Watch out Sergio.  This guy will replace you as Americas favorite Spanish golfer if he is even a little bit less of a bitch than you

Watch out Sergio. This guy will replace you as America's favorite Spanish golfer if he is even a little bit less of a bitch than you.

It is Quiros’s first US Open, and nobody knows who the hell he is, but he is basically a Bubba Watson, Sergio, Camilo Villegas hybrid.  Sergio because he’s Spanish, Camilo because he’s a prettyboy, and Bubba because he hits it 8 miles and wears big hats.
This guy averages over 315 yds off the tee.  If he hits it straight, he has a chance.  He has one win on the European tour this year (3 career), but has yet to be a factor on tour here in the States.  Watch out for the straw hat.

Nick Watney

Keeping with my theme of long hitters, Watney is a big lanky American with a great swing having a breakout season.  He almost took down Phil earlier in ’09.  He has 3 top 10’s this year and has only missed 2 cuts.  His tee time (1:14pm 1st hole) will be a fun one to watch, with all three guys JB Holmes, Watney, and Quiros capable of quarter mile drives.

Others names I wanna Drop:
David Toms, John Merrick, and Paul Casey.
ESPN is talking a lot about Ian Poulter.  That would be a victory for hair gel and visor-wearers everywhere.

Is there a potential Francis Ouimet in the field?

No.
Well, there never will be again, but if you want me to pick an amateur I have to go with Rickie Fowler.  He definitely has the game, but I doubt he has the mental ability to make the cut at Bethpage.  He dropped a 66 at the FBR earlier this year proving he can play with the tour guys and made the cut last year at the open, but this is not sunny California.

Best Potential Storylines:

There are a lot of them.   Kenny Perry coming back after his miraculous choke at the Masters to become the oldest major champion would be nice, Tiger winning is always good, Rocco beating Tiger will never happen but it would be pretty damn cool, but I think the outcome most are rooting for (other than Sergio running out of golf balls by the third hole Thursday) is for a Phil Mickelson victory.

Good Old Phil

Good Old Phil

Phil is going through a whole lot right now, and handling everything really well.  Mickelson will be the favorite among the New York fans, and is even turning people who are usually not big Phil guys into fans.  A Mickelson vistory would be a great storyline.  I still hate Bones, though.
My 1,000 to 1 shot:
Adam Scott pulls his head out of his ass (Or Kate Hudson’s) and takes the Open.


But Anyways:

The Masters is great early in the season, and Augusta is beautiful.  The Open Championship often gives golfers hell, and makes them play a game they’re not used to.  No one really cares about the PGA Championship, but the US Open is the most grueling, physically and mentally demanding challenge in golf year in and year out.

I almost made a pilgrimmage down to Long Island this weekend, but seeing as I’m broke and have HD I will do what we all should do.  Put some Pabst in a cooler, find a nice chair and prepare the mute button for Jim Nantz.  Count the mentions of Johnny Miller’s 63 in 1973 and enjoy Faldo talking about Poulter’s hair.  Lets hope for bad weather and pure irons, and this should be a fun weekend.