Random ruminations on what has already been a wet and wild Presidents Cup
Dublin, Ohio -- There's still a good chance for a close finish for one of the most interrupted Presidents Cup ever. The Internationals trailed by five points when play was halted by darkness Saturday night, but were leading in two matches, all square in a third and 2 down in a fourth.
Anything could still happen.
Here's how and where they stand:
Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley are all square with Jason Day and Graham DeLaet through 13 holes; Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel are 3 up over Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker through 12; Bill Haas and Steve Stricker are 2 up over Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama through 10; and Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge are 2 up over Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar through nine. Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson finished off Richard Sterne and Marc Leishman 4 and 3 before darkness fell, making the score 11.5-6.5.
The Internationals badly need three wins in those four matches. That would cut the their deficit to three points going into Sunday's singles, which are tentatively scheduled to start at 9 a.m. EST, after the conclusion of the remaining foursome matches, due to the potential of bad weather in the afternoon.
More bad weather in Dublin? Yeah, that's a shocker.
Anyway, here are some random thoughts on the Presidents Cup in between random rain showers that sometimes turned into Texas-sized frog-stranglers here the last two days:
*The suggestion to rename this the Precipitation Cup isn't all that funny. At least not until my socks dry out.
*This week's squad is one of the gamest the Internationals have ever put together. Win or lose Sunday (or Monday?), they put up a heck of a fight and deserve some praise. Revelations of the week were Hideki Matsuyama and Brendon de Jonge. Matsuyama has game and seems fearless. I like him to win a major, maybe as soon as next year. Did somebody (besides me?) write that de Jonge's putting is sub-par? He was the studliest of all the Internationals and carried Ernie Els on his back so well, that Ernie finally got inspired and started playing better, too. De Jonge's down-to-earth personality is a delight as well.
*Maybe I'm imagining it or reading too much into it but I think Tiger's knees bother him 24/7 and affect his consistency. I hope I'm wrong.
*Tiger Woods looked as if he really enjoyed playing with Kuchar. I mean, he smiled a lot and acted as if he was truly having fun. How often have we been able to say that in these team events?
*You see more hole-outs in match play than in stroke play. Did you catch Zach Johnson spinning it back into the cup for eagle at 15 Saturday to win a foursomes match against Richard Sterne and Marc Leishman? Or Ernie Els canning a bunker shot from below the ninth green for a halve in an earlier round? Or Charl Schwartzel holing out from the bunker at No. 8 on Saturday? Match play shows just how good these guys really are.
*Maybe NBC's Johnny Miller hit on what it takes to be a good partner for Tiger Woods in these team events. He praised Matt Kuchar and concluded, "He doesn't choke in front of Tiger." Could it be that simple?
*Phil Mickelson can't retire as long as Keegan Bradley is on Tour. They're way too much fun to watch as a pairing. Somebody thinks Phil and Tiger should be paired? Are you watching this week? No way Tiger is going to enthusiastically pat Phil on the fanny the way Keegan does. It's hilarious.
*Still not sure how some loud, ignorant spectator was allowed to interrupt Angel Cabrera's putt Friday three times. It was one of the cool moments of the week when Cabrera finally got up and drained it, a key stroke that sparked his team's foursomes win. After that fan's second outburst, security should have dragged him out of the grandstand and put a cork in him.
*Yes, it was a poor decision to start Friday's foursome matches late, at 1:10 p.m. There was rain in the forecast. Unlike Thursday's matches, when it's OK if they run late because there's only one session on Friday, Friday's matches can't overrun because Saturday is a tight-fitting double session. And really, are the ratings for golf on Friday afternoon from 5 to 6 p.m. that much better than from 3 to 4? With rain on the horizon, a late start was a bad risk.
*The Presidents Cup has a deadline similar to the Ryder Cup. If the matches aren't completed by sundown on Monday, the score stands as is. Let's hope that doesn't happen but if Sunday's weather is as grim as forecast (aren't those guys usually wrong, anyway?), it's a possibility.
*Too many birdies and eagles? The setup at Muirfield Village, normally a tough track, proves that there's no such thing. At least not in a team match-play format (i.e. made for TV) like this. Who wants to see holes won with pars besides retired USGA'ers? Watching Muirfield Village get shot up was great fun and good TV.
*Does all this mud make me look fat? (Don't answer that.)
*Bill Haas is underrated. So is Steve Stricker, if that's possible. How can a guy play his best golf at 46 in his spare time? Amazing.
*Stats are just that, stats. Not predictors. The International team is supposed to be inept in foursomes (alternate shot play). The U.S. had outscored them in that format in the last three Cups by a 25.5-7.5 margin. The teams split the first foursomes session, 3-3, and the current one stood 2-2-1 when play was suspended Saturday evening (with one match, Dufner and Johnson winning, in the books).
*The shot of the week? Johnson's hole-out before dark was a beauty, but no shot had more on the line than Matsuyama's approach to the 18th hole the first day. He stiffed it to within inches to salvage a crucial half-point that helped prevent the Internationals from getting blow away in the opening round.
*It's impossible to pick a Dynamic Duo of the week. There are too many deserving nominees. The Internationals have four superlative teams: Els-DeJonge, Day-DeLaet, Scott-Matsuyama and Oosthuizen-Schwartzel. The Americans rode Bradley-Mickelson and Woods-Kuchar hard.
*No city has golf fans more loyal than the greater Columbus area. When serious storms hammer the Memorial Tournament, delaying play and turning the course into a swamp, they come right back out afterwards. Same thing at the Presidents Cup this week. Despite some ridiculously heavy downpours, plus a college football Saturday in a town that loves its college football, they marched right back into the stands and kept up the cheering. Golf is special here and these fans apparently just don't want to miss a thing. A tip of the cap…
*It's definitely too wet for outdoor Dufnering here Sunday. But watch the matches anyway.