Blog Entry

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

Posted on: August 26, 2011 10:08 am

EDISON, N.J. -- Corey Pavin, wherever you are, accept this belated olive branch.

Like many, I spent the latter half of 2010 having a field day with your captaincy of the U.S. Ryder Cup team, belittling the sieves that passed as team raingear in Wales, poking fun at your colorless quotes, making cracks about your height, questioning whether your wife was actually running the show.

There's only one thing left to say after the developments of the past few hours: Bring back captain Corey, because the guy steering the Presidents Cup team is steering the team headed toward the Great Barrier Reef.

U.S. captain Fred Couples, in a remarkable admission, said Thursday night in Seattle that he has already told Tiger Woods that he's assured one of the two captain's picks, even though Woods' season has been punctuated by missteps, missed cuts and missed fairways.

Couples is having none of it. Or all of it, whichever way you hook or slice it.

"In my opinion, when you’re the best player in the world for 12 straight years and you’re not on a team, there’s something wrong," Couples said.

That's the crux of the critical blowback here. Woods was indeed the best player on the planet for 12 years. Problem is, we're in Year 14 now.

“I don’t know how you can criticize someone for choosing Tiger Woods," Couples said. "If he goes there and doesn’t play well, I would be shocked."

Hopefully, Couples doesn’t scare easily, or he could be in for some fainting spells when the matches begin in Australia, based on the way Woods has played in 2011. Perhaps Couples missed the parts at the PGA Championship where Woods missed the cut, hit balls in 22 bunkers, and hit a 20-foot putt so fat, it came up six feet short of the hole.

Woods hasn’t won in 23 months in the States and others have blown past him so fast, he has plummeted from second to 36th in the world, a spiral that will continue because he is ineligible to play for four weeks and his last PGA Tour win is about to fall off his two-year ranking period.

Couples sounds about as stable as Captain Queeg, rolling around two ball bearings in his hand and trying to figure out who swiped the strawberry ice cream.

This call is wrong for so many reasons, it's nothing short of astounding. Let's list a few.

At No. 11 in points is Jim Furyk, who has had a forgettable season on the whole. But Furyk is the reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year, a guy who won the FedEx Cup last year after finishing with three wins. Furyk, unlike Woods, has shown far more recent signs of life, including T9 last week.

Keegan Bradley not only isn’t on the team, he's 18th in points despite two victories in his rookie season. Phil Mickelson noted this week that Bradley is the perceived front-runner for tour player of the year, opined that Bradley ought to be the first player named as a captain's pick. Oops. Mickelson and Bradley are represented by the same management firm, so there's a bias here, but Mickelson's got a point. No other American won a major this year. Woods hasn’t won a major since mid-2008.

Even though Bradley, now No. 18 in points, was unable to amass a single Presidents Cup point last year, he is 10 spots ahead of Woods in the standings. Woods is 28th and sandwiched between immortals Kevin Na and D.A. Points.

Couples, a guy who will never be confused for Vijay Singh for his work ethic, is taking the easy way out. The captain's picks are not set to be finalized for four more weeks, until after the Tour Championship in Atlanta. What, he didn’t want to face questions for a month about his two at-large options?

Even for those who believe Woods deserves a pick, there is absolutely no defensible reason to announce the selection a month early. Too many other players who play well over the next month could get left at the curb as they angle for the last remaining spot.

The doltish Couples move certainly underscores the fact that the Presidents Cup is an exhibition, and not held in nearly the same esteem as the Transatlantic swordfight called the Ryder Cup. Making the pick now makes the PrezCup, a thinly veiled Ryder knockoff, look even more farcical.

Think the PGA Tour, which invented and runs the Presidents Cup, wasn't giggling in the hallways when their savant captain tabbed Tiger on Thursday? Moments after Couples told reporters in Seattle that Woods was already a lock, the tour sent out Couples' comments in a blast email, cementing the deal and trumpeting to all the world that Tiger was on the team.

Twelve years ago, after watching a couple of balls take cruel bounces at the 1999 U.S. Open, David Duval stoically answered a question about the caprices that had just cost him the title. "There is no such thing as 'deserves,'" he said. Well, looks like he was wrong. In a game known as the ultimate meritocracy, Woods was grandfathered in based on his resume from two years ago. If he handed any employer a resume with a gap that large in is performance history, the boss would say, "so, what's the deal with the last two years?"

If Woods wanted to earn a spot on the team the right way, he should have played last week in Greensboro, his last chance to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs, which began this week at The Barclays. He was outside the top 125 positions required to make the FedEx series, tied in with rookie Will McGirt, who not only played well enough at Greensboro to get in the series, he was an overnight co-leader at The Barclays on Thursday night. Woods didn’t play. He said he had family commitments. Then he participated in a corporate PR stunt for EA Sports last Tuesday, sending a nice message of indifference while others were trying to grind their way into the FedEx picture.

Couples is so out of touch with affairs on the tour, he was unaware that Woods had not qualified to play in the FedEx series, and told him he wants him to add another tournament before heading to Australia to play in the Aussie Open (where he will receive an appearance fee) and Presidents Cup. Couples didn’t even wait to see whether Woods followed through and signed up for a Fall Series event before picking him. The Australian Open is Nov. 10-13 outside Sydney and the cup matches follow the next week.

Couples' assistant captain is Jay Haas, whose son Bill is 10th in Presidents Cup points at the moment. Guess who gets bumped if anybody makes the slightest move over the next four weeks and displaces him from the automatic-pick perch in the top 10? Right. Haas would then need to be picked to make the team. Awkward.

Plenty have compared Couples' decision to pick the skidding Woods as comparable to International team captain Greg Norman's decision to tab Adam Scott two years ago. Scott was in a months-long slump, and Norman figured being on the team might give the young Aussie a lift. What people forget is that Scott finished 1-4, however.

Picking Woods is akin to juggling dynamite. Couples, especially has ensured that a decent faction of Americans will be pulling against the U.S. team. 

Nice call, captain America.


Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: November 23, 2011 10:54 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons this really about golf or about off the course things done by T. Woods.  I don't know if they had captain's picks back then, but if Jack Nicklaus had been picked sometime in the late 70's or early to mid 80's based on being the greatest player of all time over a guy who won once or twice during the two year period leading up to the Ryder Cup (sort of like Bradley and Haas)...would you have had a problem with that? 

I am not sure I would have.

Since: Aug 16, 2011
Posted on: August 30, 2011 8:45 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

Unless there is a side bet between the teams on who can bag more scantily clad women during competition, Tiger was a bad choice...

Since: Dec 30, 2007
Posted on: August 30, 2011 1:08 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

Has anyone heard if Tiger accepted or would accept the invitation?
I think he might have already decided to pack it in for 2011.
He's had a terrible year, he' baled on the Barckay's and this might
just be a way of Couples saving face in giving Tiger an invite anyway.
At any rate Tiger will always be the greatesst golfer of this generation
and still very popular.  He would not dampen the interest in the PC, if
he decided to play. Half would be rooting for him, the other half wanting
him to fall on his face.  Either way they're watching.  PS: doesn't
Norman have a similar problem with the Japanese Vunderkin?

Since: Dec 19, 2010
Posted on: August 29, 2011 11:06 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

Tiger is done, but good for golf publicity

Since: Aug 8, 2011
Posted on: August 29, 2011 3:50 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

Why do you think the PGA was happy Tiger was chosen idiot!

Since: Jun 13, 2007
Posted on: August 29, 2011 1:27 am

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

@ Natisaurus,
No where in your post did you offer an opinion.  Everything was either 50/50 or the way he is currently playing I would or wouldn't.  Its fine to join the discussion but at least have something to offer. But the part of your post I most disagree with is  "If the selection is base soley upon honor, then of course Couples made the right choice." because by far, that is the furthest thing from honor I have ever seen. Fredy either caved to financial influence or the media, both of which are neither honorable nor defensible.

Since: Jun 29, 2011
Posted on: August 28, 2011 1:28 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

Come November 21st we will all know whether or not Freddie made the right decision.
HardToBeat20, In that we can all agree.

Now, forgive me if I correct a few of your comments. Never did I mention a rule or definition as to the Captain's Picks being the best two players available. I just took it as common sense as anyone who had the power of "two picks" in any team competition to pick the best two available players. You are right, we can discuss this for all eternity but I think you missed my objection and point to Couples decision, and that is "as he is currently playing". Now some can argue his excellence at the Master's, his phenomenal 12 year record, and others his inconsistencies at the PGA and over the last two years. I'm inclined to go with his latest effort. That is not to say he won't perform well at the President's Cup. Afterall, he has been a surprise on many other tournaments in the past and he played well at the last Ryder Cup. I feel the odds are at best 50-50 that he performs well. I guess we can agree to disagree.

I'm not a Tiger hater. I have enjoyed watching his marvelous shots in the past and was lucky enouugh to be  present at a couple of his major wins. It's just that until he has shown us that he can perform like Tiger of old or better than other possible team selections I don't think he deserves to be included on the team. If the selection is base soley upon honor, then of course Couples made the right choice.

There is no denying that Tiger sure peaks our interest one way or the other. Just look at all the comments - some are pretty good!

Since: Aug 27, 2011
Posted on: August 28, 2011 5:39 am


The Tour is basically over after the FedEx Cup Champion is crowned. After that, it's football season. So the President's Cup is meaningless and there is not even any prize money. So why watch it?

There are still PGA events in lesser towns with lesser fields, featuring players just trying to earn a living or perhaps get a win to get in some of the majors. Nothing wrong with that, but the season doesn't mean much to anyone else except the players.

In my opinion, the PGA has made golf relevant for only special events--the four majors, the FedEx Cup; the Memorial, the Players Championship and a handful of high prize money other events. Most of the best players do not play except for these tournaments and the "secondary" events will eventually go away due to lack of fan and lack of sponsor interest. THe PGA should require players to play in every event--at least every third year--in order to maintain a quality field in all events.

There was a time when we watched most events--at least on TV. No longer the case. Lack of quality fields and 5 hour rounds have turned off the TV crowd and will kill the game over time.

Since: Jul 30, 2011
Posted on: August 27, 2011 8:38 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

The PC is an exhibition - period. Freddie is using his pick to give TW much needed hand up. This has been done before, with success and will be done again. I applaud this as it is about being a true leader and a move that just just might give a person who has been kicked around a chance to build some confidence. If TW is going to return to form then golf needs him. This could be the turning point for him...To be part of a team - to feel that people are pulling for him. How much do we have to kick somebody? Maybe the people that openly criticize TW are seeing a part of themselves in him that they don't like? Freddie is doing so much with this pick and it is time to help fellow teammates, folders, people instead of beating on them continually. What do all of the TW haters want anyway - would you all like to hammer on him until he has nowhere to turn to? He is worth saving and the thing he knows best is golf. Let's see if he can get his game back first and then he can work on the rest of his character. I am not an American but I am a golfer and a person of compassion. We need more Freddies. It is so easy to criticize a leader and that is precisely what Freddie is.

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: August 27, 2011 8:01 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

Bad call. If my memory serves me correctly Tiger has not peformed all that well in past cups. The Cup will now about how well Tiger plays thus detracting from all other competitors and the match itself. One thing for certain - Tiger will not decline to participate.<br />

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