This week's heroes? Tigermania, Langer and Lyle. Zeros? Firestone, Furyk and PGA Championship gimmicks
1. August. We get a WGC, a major and the start of the playoffs. Best month of the year for golf fans.
2. Bernhard Langer. After winning the Senior British by a touchdown, extra point and two field goals, he’s suddenly a trendy pick for the Ryder Cup. And at 56 he’s sneaking up on Hale Irwin for the title of Greatest Old Guy Golfer Ever.
3. Tigermania. He owns Akron and then returns to Valhalla, scene of his most thrilling victory. Is Woods “back”? We’ll see, but do try to take a moment to appreciate where he was.
4. Tim Clark. Pretty impressive career for a little guy with a congenital birth defect that limits his ability to rotate his wrists. Of course, it would take an echocardiogram to fully understand him as a golfer.
5. Jarrod Lyle. In his first U.S. tourney in a year and a half, this leukemia survivor finished a stout 11th at the Web.com event in Kansas. If Lyle doesn’t win the Ben Hogan award they should stop giving it out.
1. Firestone. It’s right there in front of you. Unfortunately.
2. Jim Furyk. After coughing up a three-stroke lead in Canada, the 44-year-old warrior is now oh-fer his last seven when trying to protect a 54-hole lead. Try to remember this, Captain Watson, when making out your Sunday singles lineup, along with Furyk’s 9-17-4 Ryder Cup record.
3. Paul McGinley. In an utter embarrassment of riches, the Euro Ryder Cup captain looks like he’s going to have to choose three players from among Langer, G-Mac, Poults, Westy, MAJ, T. Bjorn and S. Gallacher. Some tough phone calls loom but, more to the point, if your team looks this good on paper and is playing at home and you happen to lose, the captain is sure to get most of the blame.
4. The U.S. International Crown team. After their early exit, the Americans were pouty in real life and grouchy on Twitter. But, hey, a little bitterness is exactly what this nascent tournament needs.
5. The PGA’s “Pick the Hole Location Challenge.” Once again, Internet hooligans will get to choose the pin position for a crucial moment at the PGA Championship, in this case the 70th hole of the tourney. And I thought just going to Valhalla was enough of a gimmick.