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: Jan 7, 2011
Posted on: August 27, 2011 7:27 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons


Since: Jan 17, 2007
Posted on: August 27, 2011 7:09 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

Hey, Cholly!  It's 100% certain that TW will NOT "kick the crap out of" one single "Euro" in the PC, because it does NOT involve any Euros, you dummy!!

Since: Oct 9, 2008
Posted on: August 27, 2011 6:55 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

I agree.  When Tiger kicks the crap out of his lot of the Euros, you haters can line up to do deep knee-bends.  U-S-A!!!

Since: Aug 27, 2011
Posted on: August 27, 2011 2:34 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

Welcome to junior high english.    Your assignment for today's essay is "I like Tiger because......".  &nb
sp; Please note that
blank papers will not be accepted.

Since: Aug 27, 2011
Posted on: August 27, 2011 2:27 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

It's an exhibition for heaven's sake.  It won't even be on live TV.  Why not just send the players who are playing well.  It's on tape delay at the height of football season. Will we ever have life without Tiger????.  I thought Tiger was the biggest phony of all time but now I am not so sure that Freddie doesn't surpass Tiger.  Captain ???  Of what.....Freddie has made the most cowardly decision in the history of team golf.   If Tiger had an ounce of integrity he would say "Thanks, Fred, but I am not playing well enough...pick one of the other guys"  but, then, he's Tiger isn't he?  Integrity is not his strong suit.

Since: Aug 27, 2011
Posted on: August 27, 2011 10:40 am


If there is no criteria other than "captain's pick" to round out the field, why not make them ALL captain's picks?

You could round up Arnie and Jack--they have a history of playing pretty well. Add the "tom-toms" (Watson, Kite, David); how about Johnny Miller and Hale Irwin? Don't forget David Duval and Lee Trevino. Maybe even Hubie Green. I've probebly left out a bunch of really good playhers from the past--and that's what Tiger Woods is--a really good player from the past.

The other side could do the same. Guys like Colin Montgomerie, the 'nicks" (Faldo and Price), Roberto DeVincenzo, Ian Woosnam etc.

That field would really attract a lot of fans and might even be worth watching on TV. Nobody would CARE who wins, just be fun to watch them compete again.

How cool is that?

Since: Aug 18, 2010
Posted on: August 27, 2011 10:25 am

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

Tiger does make the event more watchable.  Many will watch because of him and just as many will be pulling against him as for him.  I have been cracking on Tiger for two years, and I don't see him getting any better, so I guess I am not doing a great job of motivating him.  To all of his apologists, how about getting back with me when he actually wins something.  Until then, he is no longer the best in the world; not even close. 

Since: Nov 8, 2009
Posted on: August 27, 2011 10:10 am

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

I believe you called Corey Pavin's pick of Woods for the Ryder Cup into question last year also,Elling. Why do you hate him so much. 35 years old with 71 pga wins and 14 major championships. No matter how he is hitting the ball, I think he knows how to win. Oh yea, he finished tied for the best record at last years Ryder Cup... out of the 24 best golfers in the world.

Since: Aug 27, 2011
Posted on: August 27, 2011 10:09 am


If you are playing to WIN, then you pick the BEST players, based on something tangible and recent. For example--the stroke average from the majors and other quality field tournaments like the Memorial, the FedEx series; the Players Championship. Then you would have those that CURRENTLY are playing well.

Choosing anyone else makes this nothing more than an exhibition. YAWN and YAWN.

If you have nothing else to do that weekend, you MIGHT watch some golf on TV--but the game is about as BORING to watch as watching clothes dry. I say that having been a golfer most of my adult life and the playing part is lots of fun. However watching golf--mostly putting--is really boring and 5 hour rounds are REALLY boring.

So Couples needs to decide whether this is a PR stunt or whether the President's Cup has any relavance as a competition.

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: August 27, 2011 8:51 am


That's "...inept hobbyist in the infidelity department."  Great to start off the day with an error...

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