View From The Fairway - Lee Westwood Should Captain Europe in Italy
See Derek Clements' View From The Fairway!
EVERYBODY says that Lee Westwood is a huge presence in the team room at the Ryder Cup. Whistling Straits represented his 11th appearance in the event. Remember that he didn’t make the team for Le Golf National in 2018 but was an enthusiastic vice-captain under Thomas Bjorn. When the match is next played in 2023, Westwood will be 50, his best playing days surely behind him. Start laying bets now on Westwood being named as captain for that match in Italy. In reality, there is no other candidate.
AND speaking of captains, Steve Stricker emerged from Whistling Straits with huge credit. Already one of the most popular men among his peers, Stricker had to deal with a team that featured two players who cannot stand the sight of one another in Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, and wasn’t helped by the fact that Patrick Cantlay also made it clear he wasn’t a fan of DeChambeau. But Stricker took it all in his stride, managed his players superbly and went out of his way to encourage a passionate American gallery to play fair with the Europeans. He got it absolutely right.
THERE was an extraordinary back story at the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. It didn’t involve any of the 24 players. Erik Larsen, who was caddying for Harris English, has seen his life evolve into a fairytale. It wasn’t always thus. He had dreams of become a PGA Tour professional but quickly realised he wasn’t good enough so he decided to try to carve out a living as a caddie. In the early days he was the bagman for Ken Green and Mark Calcavecchia and although he enjoyed some success with both players he struggled to make a decent living. Larsen then chose the wrong path, dealing in cocaine. Inevitably, he was caught and arrested and sentenced to 13 years in prison. Calcavecchia remained loyal, visiting Larsen during his time in jail. And when he was released he starting carrying for the former Open champion again. He then took the bag of Anthony Kim and Jeff Overton before more recently teaming up with English, the winner of two PGA Tour events in the 2020-21 season. Larsen admits that he made some dreadful life decisions but he is now making the most of his second chance, and has become one of the most popular and highly respected bagmen in the game.
THE next time you complain about finding yourself in a bunker, stop and think for a minute about those poor people who play at Whistling Straits on a regular basis. What on earth was Pete Dye thinking about when he designed a golf course featuring ONE THOUSAND bunkers. And spare a thought for the poor greenkeepers who have to rake them!
SPANIARD JON RAHM has every reason to feel somewhat aggrieved at being overlooked for Player of the Year honours on the PGA Tour. Having won the US Open, tied for fifth at The Masters, eighth at the PGA Championship and tied for third at The Open and firmly established himself as the world’s best player, Rahm’s peers opted for Patrick Cantlay. They will point to the fact that Cantlay won four times but that overlooks the fact that Rahm actually finished the Tour Championship with a better 72-hole gross total than Cantlay.
WHEN Jon Rahm arrived in America as a teenager he could barely speak a word of English. He is now word perfect and even has a slight American twang. The same applies to Sergio Garcia. So it was somewhat odd to hear them conversing in their native Spanish at Whistling Straits. But it does beg one nagging question: why on earth, when they hit a bad shot, do they swear in English?
DOES anybody else out there feel unportable when they hear Butch Harmon, in his broad American twang, shouting "Atta boy Tommy” when Tommy FLEETWOOD hits a good shot? Or is it just me?
DID anybody else notice that when matches at the Ryder Cup were all square, Sky’s captions insisted in referring to them being “tied”? I have been playing golf for longer than I care to remember and I do not know ANYBODY who comes into the clubhouse and tells you they finished “tied”. It’s all square or level, surely?
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