Corey & Monty Show comes in a bit fuzzy

Ryder Cup captains Corey Pavin (left) and Colin Montgomerie address the media at the PGA Championship.

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SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Normally you would have to tune in to “As The World Turns” or “All My Children” to secure your classic soap-opera fix. But if you were out here by the shores of Lake Michigan, you had an even more delectable alternative.

You had the Corey & Monty Show.

Having sat through Ryder Cup captains Corey Pavin and Colin Montgomerie at a news conference, two thoughts come to mind:

One: It’s 30 minutes of our lives that we’ll never have back.

And, two: Are Samuel Ryder and Walter Hagen sharing a beverage somewhere, wondering what has happened to their beloved competition?

Actually, here’s a third thought: Bill Belichick is a proverbial Shecky Green compared to Pavin. Honestly, could someone please tell Pavin that he’s involved in a team golf match and not working toward a Ph.D in nuclear physics at MIT? Honestly, you’d have thought he was delivering the Emancipation Proclamation instead of answering questions about golf, for goodness sakes.

Consider the way Pavin followed Montgomerie’s exchange with a reporter. Asked if he were in Pavin’s position if he would choose Tiger Woods for the U.S. team, Montgomerie cut into a series of his trademark facial expressions. “A very difficult question,” he said. “Dangerous and undiplomatic.” Then he laughed and said, “But of course I’d pick him, yes.”

A reporter, presuming it would add to the levity, soon followed with this softball to Pavin: “(If you were in Montgomerie’s position) would you pick Padraig Harrington?”

Oh, the possible answers for good fun were plentiful, but Pavin responded with this: “He’s a reasonably smart guy and he’s going to pick the team that he feels is going to represent Europe the best. I wish him the best.”

Way to bring the house down, Corey. Heck, it’s as if the man is convinced he’s trying to solve the economic crisis, not serve as captain for a golf team.

Mind you, this stuff came well after Pavin and Montgomerie had been hit with questions of the sticky variety that led the American captain to say, “Let’s straighten this out right now,” and his European counterpart to offer, “Let me clear this up.”

You half expected Nixon to pop out from behind the curtain and insist, “I am not a crook,” but, alas, that never happened. Instead, the soap opera continued with our captains on the isle of denial.

Montgomerie, first.

Having been asked about a radio report from the previous day that indicated a “super injunction” was in place to ban what are being called embarrassing personal photos of himself, the south Scotsman bristled.

“I can categorically say that there’s no injunction. I apologize for this,” Montgomerie said, and when the matter was pursued a short time later, he added, “Excuse me, I’m here to talk about the Ryder Cup.”

Pavin’s thorny issue was hardly so personal, yet because it involves Tiger Woods, it generated publicity. Golf Channel’s Jim Gray had reported that Pavin told him Tuesday that Woods would be a captain’s pick, a statement that was being denied a day later.

“(Gray’s) interpretation of what I said is incorrect,” Pavin said. “That is an incorrect quote.”

Call it golf’s version of Luke and Laura, but this Corey and Monty stuff by now was making you shake your head – particularly as you watched them up on stage fielding questions as if they were being asked about a cure for the common cold.

Fighting the urge to just laugh out loud, I thought that a potential phone call Pavin might make for good listening. Imagine, if you will:

Pavin: “Tiger, hi, it’s Corey.”

Woods: “I have a bad connection. This my pal from Isleworth, Corey Carroll?”

Pavin: “No, it’s me, Corey Pavin. Your Ryder Cup captain.”

Woods: “Oh, yeah. You hit the 4-wood that time, didn’t you?”

Pavin: “That’s right. Good memory. Four-wood into the 18th hole to win the 1995 U.S. Open. You know your history.”

Woods: “Actually, it always stuck in my mind, because of that 4-wood thing. I used a 4-wood once.”

Pavin: “At Shinnecock, in 2004?”

Woods: “No, when I drove the 326-yard first hole at Dad Miller. I was 12.”

(Long pause.)

Pavin: “Ah, well. That’s great. Actually, I wanted to call . . . ”

Woods: “To welcome me to the Ryder Cup team? I heard the news. You said I would be a captain’s pick if I didn’t qualify. Thanks.”

Pavin: “Actually, I didn’t say that. I . . . ”

Woods: “What do you mean, you didn’t say that?”

Pavin: “I was misquoted.”

Woods: “So, you don’t want me on the team?”

Pavin: “I didn’t say that . . . ”

Woods: “So, you do want me on the team?”

Pavin: “I didn’t say that either. What I meant was . . . ”

Woods: “You sure say a lot for a guy who doesn’t say things. Would you mind spelling things out? Yes or no for me and the Ryder Cup?”

Pavin: “It’s not that simple, Tiger. I need to see a little more of your game.”

(Click.)

Pavin faced several more questions from different angles about Woods, and each time his face and his answers got more rigid. Check back Sept. 7 when he makes his four captain’s picks, is basically what Pavin said. He added that he was looking at plenty of players, “maybe 20,” which holds out hope for a lot of guys, perhaps even Ky Laffoon.

It was at about the time things were losing steam that the soap opera did what soap operas do best – take a sudden turn. When the news conference was over, Gray and Pavin got into a heated exchange, Pavin’s wife Lisa – apparently, she is one of 17 assistants on the coaching staff since this is a competition to save world peace – was even involved and . . .

Drats! The PGA of America broke to a commercial.

Soap opera to be continued.

Whether it ever involves golf is to be determined.

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