Rude: Love gets his wish with Medinah setup
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
MEDINAH, Ill. – Spraying it off the tee:
• U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III wanted a course with little rough, and he got it. So expect far more birdies at Medinah than at the PGA Championship in 2006 or ’99.
Love chose that setup for myriad reasons: He likes courses without hack-it-out rough; he knows it will be more fun for players and fans; and he thinks it favors his team, which has more long hitters than Europe.
“When we got over there (Europe), the fairways (pinch in) at 280 or 290 yards and there’s a lot of deep rough,” Love said Tuesday at Medinah. “I’m not real clever, but I would just do the opposite of them and have it go the other way.”
The rough is not close to the Medinah grass height we’ve seen in the past. It’s so benign that Keegan Bradley actually was asked Tuesday whether as a kid he putted greens slower than Medinah’s so-called rough.
Bradley said no, but remarkably he did compare the alleged rough here to the first cut at Augusta National, which is not really rough. Hence, there’s far less pressure off the tee for players.
“Any time you step on the tee, you can just rip it,” said Bradley, a Ryder rookie who is likely to pair with his pal Phil Mickelson. “It suits a lot of guys on our team ... I played with Bubba (Watson) today, and he ripped it as hard as he could every hole.”
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• Having listened to Lanny Wadkins over the years, there’s little wonder why he was such a good Ryder Cup competitor. He has talked about the importance of playing to your personality, adding, “I played angry.”
He went a step further here on Golf Channel’s “Feherty Live” Monday night. His take should be mandatory reading for every Ryder Cup player, or anyone who competes in golf.
“Just get ready for a fight, No. 1. And No. 2, you have to go out there – friendliness is gone. I didn't play Ryder Cups happy. I'm not sure I did a whole lot in golf happy. But Ryder Cups, it was all about how badly can I beat this guy; and if I can beat him that bad, let's beat him worse. They have to take that to heart. If I was going to tell the American team something right now, it would be to get ready to step on their neck and twist your foot. I mean, that's what I want to see happen. ... You've got to be mean. It's a whole different attitude. It only comes along once every two years. You've got to want to just take care of business.”
Step on your neck and twist your foot. Then shake hands afterward and have a beer together.
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• Over the years, probably unfairly much of the time, U.S. players have been accused of caring less about the Ryder Cup than the Europeans do. Jim Furyk, for one, made a point to emphatically dispute that notion after the 2010 matches.
Well, the wide-eyed Bradley seemed more jacked up than ever, and it was only a Tuesday practice round, albeit in front of a good crowd, with Mickelson, Watson and Webb Simpson.
“I had the most fun I’ve maybe ever had on a golf course,” he said. “It was honestly one of the highlights of my career today.”
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• This is not Wales 2010, and no one on the first tee will be singing, “There’s only two Molinaris ...” Francesco Molinari of Italy is on the European team again, but brother Edoardo is not.
No one has to tell the present one. “It definitely feels different this year with out him,” Francesco said.
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• Tiger Woods hasn’t been on a winning Ryder Cup team since the ’90s. And you thought he was overdue to win another major championship?
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• Now if we were going to try to start a big international sporting event and one of us said, “Let’s start it at 7:20 a.m.,” surely reasonable dissent would prevail.
But the Ryder Cup starts at 7:20 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. That means golf fans on Chicago’s North Shore probably have to get up, at the latest, at 5 a.m. to see the start. Earlier if they like to eat breakfast.
I mean, who starts a global sporting event at 7:20 (a.m., not p.m.)? That’s 5:20 a.m. on the West Coast.
There must be a better way. Like maybe a four-day competition? Like playing faster and starting later? Like something?
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• Sloping greens at the nearby Chicago Golf Club, one of the country’s best tracks, were running at 15 on the Stimpmeter on Monday. Yes, 15, plus there was wind. As a result, not only were several putts knocked off greens, a few were putted into a bunkers by single-digit handicappers.
Your fortunate correspondent witnessed one such player hit two putts in a row off the green into a bunker. Worse, your correspondent hit a par-3 in regulation and didn’t finish the hole after hitting his second putt into a bunker on a diabolical green.
At times it felt like golf in a cement parking lot. Been around the game awhile and have never seen anything like it. The Chicago Golf Club logo features the words “Far and Sure.” With regard to putts Monday, it was more like “Too Far and Unsure.”
But, hey, many visiting golf dignitaries are in town, and this isn’t the first time a highly regarded course was sped up for the occasion.
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• Ran into Mike Keiser, the Bandon Dunes owner and premier golf visionary, on Tuesday and learned that he has given up efforts to build a links course in southwest Ireland. Too many governmental obstacles.
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• It struck this observer as odd that hit-and-giggle celebrity golf was a part of the Ryder Cup. Have covered every Ryder since the 1980s and have never seen that.
But on second thought, the 10-hole Captains/Celebrities Challenge was a good idea because it was an added attraction for spectators, something more than just watching a practice round with nothing at stake.
As it happened, Lanny Wadkins and Hal Sutton won for the first time in ages, teaming with Michael Phelps and George Lopez.
The casual event served nostalgia and national and local Q-rating. Former captains Lee Trevino, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Corey Pavin, Tom Lehman and Dave Stockton also played. Justin Timberlake and Bill Murray swatted it around, as did former Chicago sports stars Ernie Banks, Stan Mikita, Scottie Pippin and Richard Dent.
Not bad for the paying customer on a normally slow Tuesday.
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• Not sure who will elevate his voice to an excited level first, Tim Finchem or Jason Dufner. Hunch here it’s Dufner, particularly if he wins a match or two.