Newspaper makers must just love José Morinho. Everytime he opens his mouth there is something to write about. And more often than not it is some fierce criticism in some sort of direction, usually towards one or more persons whose Christmas cards lists he will soon be off. The England manager, Fabio Capello had it in spades this time as Morinho analysed the English disaster in South Africa over the summer. The same did ex Liverpool manager Benitez and Wenger, the Arsenal manager, as José slagged off their teams’ chances this year and criticised them for seeing their teams decline over the last few years. I am sure there are people that would agree with what Morinho says. Very few however would say it in public. With all the media training people in any kind of public position have these days the José Morinhos of the world are few and far between. Perhaps after all he is that “Special One” that he once labelled himself?
When I read Morinho’s comments I smile to myself and wonder what golf would have been like with old José as the Ryder Cup Captain. Everything is at stake this week as team selection comes to conclusion on Sunday and Montgomerie has already said that his job is not a difficult one. It is impossible! Monty actually did show some signs of José early on. For example he said that anybody hoping to make the team should make sure that they play at Gleneagles this week. Most people then thought that Monty had missed his homework and not realised that the first Fed Ex event is up against the Gleneagles tournament. Hence none of the guys in contention for the Captain’s picks are playing in Scotland. Later in the summer Monty said that he was seriously considering picking Bernhard Langer who wins every tournament he plays in seniors golf. Now, that will be an interesting one to watch if he does!
The Morinho of golf would probably have had one or two things to say about the Ryder Cup as a whole as well. The fact that four players in the top 22 in the World on the European side are not automatically in the team is nothing but strange. Golf’s Morinho would have said that this match is not about Europe against the US. It is the European Tour against the US Tour. And those of us that are not Morinho, we can probably understand that. How otherwise do you raise the profile of the European Tour? The only sad thing is that understanding does not make the Cup any more exciting…
Speaking about team golf, there are interesting things going on this week. Teams from GB&I are playing the rest of Europe in the St Andrews Trophy (Men) and the Jacques Leglise Trophy (Boys) in Italy. At the moment it seems difficult to find a proper website for it but updates should appear on the R&A website.
Woke up this morning to numerous comments on what a sad finish that was to the PGA Championships. As I had missed the closing of it I had to rely on second hand information. I do wonder if anyone outside golf can ever understand this game? On Swedish radio I heard a reporter say ‘in the final of the PGA Championships’, which does not sound at all bad in English but in Swedish he was talking about it as the final of a whole series of PGA Championships. Can they not get the staff nowadays??? Or is it just golf that is so different?
The football world is arguing over the use of video and the golfer loses the Championship by touching the ground with his club… And he took it right on the chin! Of course he did not even think about it as a bunker. Rules are rules though and in golf they are strict if not always easy to understand.
Well done Martin Kaymer though who has just developed into a fabulous player!
This morning I came across one of those interesting notes in the paper again. The International Herald Tribune, fueled by Associated Press, is discussing the question of who will be Tiger Woods’ next coach. Apparently Tiger has been seen with Sean Foley, coach of last week’s winner Hunter Mahan. Foley is reported to have stood behind and in front of Woods to videotape his swing on two holes. When asked, Foley stated that Woods had asked him to look at his swing during the practice round.
Golf is a funny game and apart from when Hank Haney decided to leave Woods it is one of the few sports where the athlete has the coach on his/her payroll, and not the other way around. The story about Foley and Woods sounds like the old myth about Seve Ballesteros where one of the legendary coaches of the game once said:
-“You don’t coach Seve. If you are really lucky he might ask for your opinion once in a while.”
While the eyes of professional golf turn to the US and Whistling Straits there are big things happening in the Amateur game in Wales. The Home Internationals are on this week ad after day I it is England and Wales that stand on one point each. England beat Ireland and Wales overturned Scotland. Full action can be found here.
Yes, I have had my feet up for a week. Finding a week to take some holiday in the middle of the summer is not that easy. This was far from an ideal one either with the European Individual, Boys Home Internationals and the Reid Trophy along with a few other things going on. Considering I had a bit of a birthday to celebrate it was family first in my case though and as I now glance through what happened in the last week I come to realise how much golf is played in very little time.
Does anybody share my feeling that shooting 59 has all of a sudden become much more possible? Perhaps it is the Roger Bannister effect all over again that has more players out there really trying to do it? Stuart Appleby became the 5th player in the PGA Tour history to reach the magic number and as he talks through his round at the press conference he makes it sound like no big deal at all. This could be the start of what to expect from professional golf in the future I suspect. The crowds love to watch players scoring low and making birdies and if you, like golf, are in the entertainment business then of course anything that will attract people’s attention is good. Perhaps we sooner rather than later will end up with the two different types of golf – one game that is played on Championship golf courses for the majors and one that is played anywhere, with the sole purpose to please the crowds. I doubt that the latter will be 72 hole stroke play events every week in the future!
Talking about scheduling by the way… Stuart Appleby played his 11th week in a row when he finished with the 59 to win the Greenbrier Classic. With the Bridgestone tournament and then the PGA Championship he will add up to 13 weeks on the trot. And if you have followed what happened to Tommy Fleetwood in his busy stretch of tournaments you know that he ended up winning the English Amateur, after coming straight off his second place finish in the English Challenge. He followed this up with flying out to Finland for the European Individual, an event where he finished runner up. 2-1-2 over the last three weeks in high quality fields is not that bad is it? It seems like there is something to be said about playing yourself into form… With this Tommy shot to the number one position in the Scratch Players World Ranking which is a pretty awesome way to finish your amateur career. With the Home Internationals this coming week it will be crucial for Tommy, as for Stuart Appleby, to then recoup and make sure that there is energy there to go the rest of the season as well.
Some not so great news came from the Boys Home Internationals where England were pretty far from defending their title from last year. This is obviously hard on the people involved as they are working incredibly hard to be successful. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from Stuart Appleby here as well as he said his aim had been to play his way out of the bad form he had been in for a month or so. We will of course review the main events this summer carefully, both on the boys’ and men’s side and come back even stronger!