View From The Fairway - Decision Time For Padraig Harrington
Reflecting on the past week and looking ahead to what stories may dominate the headlines, Golfshake's Derek Clements shares his latest View From The Fairway.
THERE are going to be some very disappointed European Tour golfers when Padraig Harrington announces his three wild cards for the Ryder Cup. Rumour has it that Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter have already been pencilled in. Garcia has a victory to his credit on the PGA Tour this season and has shown some decent recent form and made the 30-man field for the Tour Championship. He deserves his place. But can we really say the same about Poulter, who ended the season in 77th place in the FedEx Cup standings? Poulter has been a Ryder Cup stalwart but in 21 PGA starts he managed just three top-10 finishes and missed four cuts. At the age of 45, his best days may well be behind him. I would rather see some fresh blood in the team. Rasmus Hojgaard is a fearless competitor and a future major winner. Robert MacIntyre has already performed at the highest level. And if Shane Lowry should be bumped out of the automatic places doesn’t he deserve a pick?
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has warned that fans who taunt Bryson DeChambeau with “Brooksy” chants risk being thrown out of tournaments in the future. That is all well and good, and long overdue, but the fact remains that DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka have a part to play in all of this. If they finally grow up and put an end to their childish feud then there would be no need for such action. Monahan announced that changes are to be made to the fan conduct policy for attending tournaments, with harassing or disruptive behaviour and comments no longer tolerated at events. His action prompted players to take to social media to point out that the horse has long bolted on this issue. Colin Montgomerie was routinely referred to as Mrs Doubtfire during his time on the PGA Tour, Lee Westwood has been subject to taunts for years, as has former Open champion Shane Lowry. The bottom line is that as long as fans are allowed to drink copious amounts of alcohol while attending tournaments they are going to misbehave.
STEVE STRICKER has named Phil Mickelson as one of his vice-captains for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, putting paid to the left-hander’s hopes of making the team as a player and bringing an era to an end. Earlier this year he became the oldest man ever to win a major and announced that he hoped to make the team one more time, but his form since then has been poor, to say the very least. He is likely to be an enthusiastic assistant to Stricker. And maybe, just maybe, Ian Poulter should now be performing a similar role for Padraig Harrington.
FORMER Masters champion Ian Woosnam wants to save a second 18-hole golf club. Having announced that he hopes to set up an academy at Allestree Park Golf Course in Derbyshire after it closed at the end of 2020, he has now turned his attention to Henlle Park Golf Club in Shropshire, which has submitted a planning application to be reduced from 18 to nine holes, to accommodate a 90-pitch holiday park on part of the parkland course. The Shropshire Star has revealed that a business called Chinese Entrepreneurs Golf Club has written to council planners to say it has been involved in a bid to buy the golf club, along with Ian Woosnam and ex professional Tony Minshall.
LIKE most of us, I was enthralled by the Paralympics in Tokyo. The competitors are individuals who have faced and overcome huge challenges to represent their country and their enjoyment is infectious. So I have just one question: why on earth is golf not included? There are some world-class disabled golfers performing in tournaments all around the world. If able-bodied tour players are entitled to play at the Olympics, why on earth should their disabled counterparts not be given the same opportunity to show the world what they can do on the global stage?
THE Ryder Cup will be played at Marco Simone Golf Club in two years’ time. We got a preview of the course at the Italian Open and it has to be said that although it is a pretty course that features lots of very thick rough, its condition left something to be desired and Europe’s finest made mincemeat of it. It is safe to say that it will be a very different proposition come September 2023. Unfortunately, they will not be able to do anything about the pylons that scar the surrounding countryside.
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