Some random thoughts on the 2011 Presidents Cup:
You could cut the irony with a knife. The least-qualified American player (at least based on points over the last two years), the one whose choice as a Captain’s pick created the most controversy, was the one to win the Cup-clinching singles match. Tiger Woods dispatched home-country favorite Aaron Baddeley 4&3 to officially capture the Presidents Cup for the visiting Americans at Royal Melbourne Golf Club. However, until his final day heroics, Tiger was having the kind of Presidents Cup that reminded people why he was a controversial pick by second-time captain, Fred Couples. A record-tying loss in Foursomes with partner Steve Stricker to Adam Scott and K.J. Choi, 7&6. Then two more 1-Up losses in Four Ball with new partner Dustin Johnson, to Baddeley & Jason Day on Friday and Y.E. Yang and KT Kim on Saturday. Woods’ only team win was a 3&2 victory with Johnson over Scott and Choi in Saturday Foursomes. I’m not sure Tiger’s 2-3 record was exactly a rousing vindication for his selection to the team. But at least there was some indication (mainly his final day putting) that his game is coming around and that he may once again be a contender in 2012. That would be good for the game.
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I’ll admit I’ve never really been clear on how the individual opponents are determined in Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup matches. I think we’ve been given the impression that it’s a fairly random selection by the captains the day before, or even the day of, the specific matches. The captains don’t necessarily know who the other captain is going to put up in a particular match. (Correct me if I’m wrong). If that’s the case, I’m even more suspicious of the fact that Tiger Woods met Adam Scott in two of their first three matches, including Day 1. Obviously, the subplot of Tiger getting paired with the new boss (Adam Scott) of his old caddie (Steve Williams) made for an intriguing story. Especially in light of Williams’ recent racially-tinged comments about Tiger. Did Golf Channel conspire with Captains Couples and Norman for a made-for-tv confrontation? Did Couples and Norman conspire with each other to create the drama? Was it completely random? Whatever it was, the result was probably not as scintillating as everyone had hoped. No fireworks. Just a quick, businesslike handshake between Tiger and Stevie on the first tee and 1-1 head-to-head record for Woods and Scott.