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: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: August 27, 2011 8:48 am

Couples call on Tiger absolutely correct

First of all, it's a captain's pick; it's not a writers' pick, nor is it a fans' pick.  Couples is fully within his rights here; it's his decision and his alone.  Tiger-haters are still having a field day right now, but Tiger is still Tiger.  Match play will be an excellent format for him.  You don't leave the second or third-best golfer of all time (depending on where you rank Sam Snead) off of your team when he is able to play.  
I've never understood the bile that people reserve for Tiger Woods.  I could name one current, very popular golfer and one old, beloved golfer whose "scoreboards" while they were/are married make Tiger look like an inept hobbyist in the infidelity.  I doubt that either would be subject to the judgement and hatred to which Tiger has been subjected, even if their private lives were subject to the same scrutiny as that of Tiger.  
Tiger's biggest "crime" is still bringing the "great unwashed" to a country club sport.  Funny how some of those "great unwashed" are the same losers who are still whining about Tiger, almost two full years after his personal "incident." 
Chew on this for awhile, Tiger-haters: all you are doing with your carping, whining, and insults is helping to motivate him.   By this time next year, those of you who hate him the most will be able to bask in the knowledge that you helped him make it back to the top.

Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: August 27, 2011 6:32 am

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

elling you just don't get it do you?  no matter how much you cry and whine YOU will not be one of the captains picks!  based on your performance from the last years of your golfing career you are the real loser.

Since: Aug 26, 2011
Posted on: August 27, 2011 3:47 am

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

Good on you! Very well said!

Since: Nov 14, 2007
Posted on: August 26, 2011 10:08 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

Who is watching without Tiger?  Come on Elling, stop playing the moral compass for the PGA and let the fans have what they want.  Look at it this way, if the PGA's popularity doesn't soon improve, you might be out of a job.  There are already plenty of columnists who state the obvious about other sports on a daily basis.

Since: May 2, 2007
Posted on: August 26, 2011 10:01 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

The remaining two players (the Captain's picks) are supposed to be the best two players that the Captain feels can help the team win. These players are "picks" because current "merit players" may not be performing as well as other (non-merit) players such as Keegan Bradley has recently exhibited.
Natisaurus - I just googled "rules for picking presidents cup captains picks" and guess how many hits with the real definition that I got - NONE.  Bottom line is that it's the "Captain's Picks" and it's not defined anywhere that "The remaining two players (the Captain's picks) are supposed to be the best two players that the Captain feels can help the team win.", we can discuss this for all eternity and in the end the captain picks whoever the heck he wants.  I don't disagree that Keegan should be on the team, but if you want the best 12 players to be on the team then start lobbying the PGA to eliminate the Captain's Picks and make it statistical based otherwise you can not knock Couples for picking Tiger, because obviously in Couples "feels [Tiger] can help the team win".  
Now you don't seriously believe that Tiger Woods (as he is currently playing) can genuinely help the team more so than 2 or 3 other Tour players under consideration?
While it really doesn't matter what I think as it's Couples decision, 'YES' I do believe that Tiger can genuinely help the team just as much if not more than any of the guys that made the team based on points. You may be one of those guys that think's Tiger is washed up, but the guy shot 10 under for the tournament and finshed in a tie for fourth at The Masters, he continued to show signs of improvement at the PGA just before going on a bogey tear in round 1 putting him in such a whole he couldn't recover.  It's not like Tiger hasn't shown signs of well being 'Tiger', so you can't blame Couples for picking him.  

Come November 21st we will all know whether or not Freddie made the right decision.

Since: Feb 5, 2009
Posted on: August 26, 2011 8:03 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

How'd you get a 55; this post is only worth a 10.

Since: Feb 5, 2009
Posted on: August 26, 2011 8:02 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

Screw all of you!!!  Tiger rules and I support Couples.  I'm sorry, but just because some nobody is having his best year that doesn't mean anything to me.  Forget and let Tiger play.  All of you who bash Tiger are blowing hot air.  You could keep it up for infinity and it wouldn't matter.  The universe is better with Tiger in it and at the top of the pecking order.  I'm sorry, but I can't get excited about golf anymore with the English guy that played at Northwestern at the top of the ranking having won nothing big.  Boring and in America just plain wrong.  We like the loudest, baddest, most obnoxious athletes we can get.  Tiger fits that bill perfectly.  The rest are just also rans.  And I'm sorry, but Phil will probably never win another major; he's 40 and has an arthritic condition;plus he's outta shape, too bad.  And Rory, didn't he miss the cut at the last major and if he didn't he was irrelevant.  So much for his coronation.  I know all the Tiger haters out there want him to fail.  Too bad he will always be Tiger and that means he will always have accomplished more than any other golfer, except maybe for Jack.  He will also have accomplished more than any of you pathetic souls.  Have a nice round this weekend!!

Since: Jun 13, 2007
Posted on: August 26, 2011 7:11 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

Freddy is cracked!  I can understand he is under great pressure to add Eldrick to the team, but to actually make the team worse by inviting this scumbag is just ridiculous.How many events has Woods played this year; 6 or less, with the highest opening round in his career and a brutal missed cut where his was no where close.  This year's team should be based on performance, not on past achievements.  I could understand if he was starting to play well or nearly at the end of their career as a form of tribute or something.  But picking him to satisfy media or financial pressure is just plain gutless, perhaps the players already picked on the team should pick a captain or vote on who the two extras will be, that way there is way less of a chance of placating the media types. 

Since: Jul 19, 2007
Posted on: August 26, 2011 7:11 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

Gotta love it. Every time an article criticizes Tiger, those on his jock flock to the message boards in his defense. Tiger homers are the most loyal people in the universe.  Cool

Since: Nov 1, 2006
Posted on: August 26, 2011 7:08 pm

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

Shame on you Steve for critizing Couples for his pick. This is a friend trying to help a friend get his confidence back and what a way by putting pressure on Woods to perform. Call it a sympathy pick if you will, but I call it a well respected golfer reaching out to one of history's best golfers to try and give him a boost. 

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