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Posted on: September 24, 2010 1:00 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2010 1:03 pm

Harrington still drawing eyes as Ryder pick

ATLANTA -- Hold off on the Paddy party for now.

Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington will play on the weekend after all, but he's hardly made a convincing case that he's ready to roll at next week's Ryder Cup.

The controversial wildcard pick by captain Colin Montgomerie scrambled madly on his back nine Friday at the Vivendi Cup outside Paris to make the cut on the number at 2 under, making birdies on three of his last six holes to avoid a potentially embarrassing missed cut.

Harrington, who hasn't won in 25 months or seriously contended in weeks, was the lone player in the world top 50 in the weak Vivendi field and added the event after getting kicked to the curb after two FedEx Cup events in the States. He had hoped to use the tournament as a springboard to success at Celtic Manor in Wales, where the Ryder will be played starting next Friday.

Though he survived the 36-hole cut, Harrington is miles off the pace at an event in which players have been destroying the two tournament courses. Co-leaders John Parry and Jarmo Sandelin are tied at 13 under. 

Interestingly, one of Monty's three Ryder vice-captains, Paul McGinley, is among the large group of players ahead of Harrington as the final players on the two courses were finishing the second round.

The decision to give Harrington a spot on the team over Englishmen Paul Casey and Justin Rose has prompted a weeks-long debate on two continents. In Atlanta, Casey on Friday afternoon teed off in a three-way tie for the lead at the PGA Tour's rich FedEx Cup finale and has a terrific chance at claiming the $10 million points bonus. 

If he wins, it means a $11.35 million payday and will be interpreted as a fairly emphatic message to Monty and his captains, who elected to pass him over despite a top-10 world ranking.
Category: Golf
Posted on: August 30, 2010 5:40 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2010 5:46 pm

Casey coach predicts Ryder points dismantling

On the morning after one of the most shocking, sobering and painful days of his professional career, Paul Casey played golf with friends.

The morning after that, he is scheduled to tee it up yet again, this time at fabled Pine Valley with a group including a player who actually made the Ryder Cup roster.

Unlike Casey himself.

Shell-shocked or not, the world's ninth-ranked player tried to move forward Monday after he was skipped over for a spot on the European Ryder Cup team by captain Colin Montgomerie.

Which isn’t to say it was easy.

"Obviously, he's extremely disappointed," said Peter Kostis, Casey's swing coach, who played alongside his pupil in a friendly round Monday at a course in New Jersey. "He wanted to play very badly. But it is what it is, and it's out of his control."

It is what it isn’t, too, a phrase that described the whole confusing Sunday scenario, which resulted in Casey and world No. 22 Justin Rose being bypassed for one of three available captain's picks doled out by Monty after the European Tour event concluded in Scotland night.

Casey took the news hard and was struggling to maintain his composure when offered condolences were offered by a parade of onlookers who felt he had been, as they might say in that particular area of New Jersey, royally hosed. Casey at one point was unable even to croak out a response and kept his dark sunglasses in place to mask his watery eyes.

Kostis, also an analyst for CBS Sports, came out counterpunching Monday and defended Casey against those who felt he should have played more often in Europe to help secure an automatic spot based on merit. Casey, who played in the final group at the British Open six weeks ago, was bounced out of the top nine eight days ago.

"When they say he didn’t play enough or isn’t committed enough, look at the numbers," Kostis said.

Fair enough. Of the two PGA Tour members who were picked ahead of him Sunday, Padraig Harrington, who hasn’t won a tournament in two years and hasn’t won a match in the past two Ryder Cups, played in two European Tour events in 2010. Luke Donald, ranked No. 10 in the world last week, one slot below Casey, played in four European events this year. Casey has played in five.

Kostis said Casey was seriously taken aback by overseas reports characterizing him as a less-than-cohesive figure in the Ryder team room, but in other media quarters, his snub by Monty was fiercely criticized.

"Trust me, he has been heartened by the outpouring of commentary along the lines of, 'I can’t believe what happened,'" Kostis said.

Adding more salt to the wound -- Casey personally attended Monty's wedding two years ago and they share the same agent.

Considering that players who already secured positions on the European team were critical of a selection system that could leave out Casey and Rose, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this year, Kostis predicted that an overhaul will be forthcoming. Casey, a member of both tours, is on the European committee that overseas the Ryder system, ironically.

"In my opinion, the real bad thing here is the system," Kostis said. "It sucks when you can’t manage to get a player with two big PGA Tour wins or a guy ranked No. 9 in the world on the team. Their system is even more convoluted than FedEx Cup points.

"The net result of this whole debacle is that their points system is going to change."

The timing of the announcement could stand a good enema, too. The Barclays results were largely irrelevant because Monty had to announce his picks when the final round in the States was still being played. In the U.S. process, the wildcards picks are announced a day after the final qualifying tournament in the evaluation period has ended.

"I think the way he found out was even more devastating than the news itself, and that's something else that needs to be rectified," Kostis said.

In a particularly brusque slap, Casey learned he hadn’t been picked when Harrington's wife, Caroline, gave her husband a cheery thumb's up as the two pairings partners played the sixth hole Sunday. When Casey didn’t receive a similar gesture from her, he knew he was toast.

Casey and Kostis are set to play Pine Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday with a handful of fellow members from the Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., including PGA Championship winner and Ryder member Martin Kaymer. Kostis said Casey was bruised but moving forward.

"He is doing as well as can be expected, and I am going to use Dustin Johnson as an example," Kostis said of the player who lost a shot at the PGA title because of a last-hole rules infraction. "He has made a giant step toward putting it behind him, or at least as much as he can in one day.

"He's going to try to continue toward that end like Dustin had to after what happened at the PGA."

Good luck there. The difference is, Johnson was zapped in a cut-and-dried, black-and-white, depersonalized ruling. It'll be impossible for Casey not to take his subjective snubbing far more personally.


Posted on: August 11, 2010 11:51 am

Now Tiger is an uneasy Ryder pick?

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – The press session for the two Ryder Cup captains scheduled for later today just got a lot more interesting.

Hours after Golf Channel breathlessly reported that U.S. captain Corey Pavin stated that he would add Tiger Woods to the team no matter how he is playing, Pavin denied making that statement on his Twitter page.

Pavin said in no uncertain terms that he was “misquoted” by Golf Channel reporter Jim Gray and claimed he will not announce any of his four picks for another three weeks, when the deadline is reached. Woods indicated Tuesday that he would definitely play for the team if extended a captain’s pick.

As of now, Woods hasn’t made the team as an automatic selection. Woods is 10th in points and only the top eight when the tournament ends on Sunday night lock up spots.

So, after waffling and playing word games with reporters all last week, Woods is officially all in -- and Pavin is hedging?

In an even stickier situation, European Ryder captain Colin Montgomery is almost certainly going to be asked about comments made by CBS analyst David Feherty in a nationally syndicated radio program Tuesday. Feherty told radio host Dan Patrick that Monty, with whom he has had personal friction over the years, has secured a court injunction in the U.K. that banned the publication of photographs of him in an embarrassing personal situation.

Under the ruling, the U.K. papers are barred from even writing about the existence of the injunction, much less the root cause of the court order, so no stories have been published regarding the possible existence of any photos, videos or anything else.

The injunction banning any discussion or publication of stories on the issue does not extend to the States, however.

Category: Golf
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