The U.S. vs. Europe debate has continued long after October's Ryder Cup thanks to Lee Westwood's taking over the No. 1 ranking, and big names such as Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy taking a pass on PGA Tour membership to join Westwood on the European Tour in 2011.
Now the focus is already shifting back to the 2012 Ryder Cup, with The Guardian reporting that José Maria Olazábal will be named the captain for the Euro squad Jan. 18 in Abu Dhabi.
Olazábal might well have led the side at Celtic Manor in October, but hesitated over throwing his hat into the ring and the Tour's tournament committee instead turned to Colin Montgomerie.
Immediately after regaining the trophy in Wales Montgomerie confirmed that he had no intention standing for re-election and gave his support to Olazábal taking over from him for the 2012 match at Medinah in Chicago.
The only problem for the Spaniard, who with Seve Ballesteros formed the most successful partnership in cup history, has been his health. He has been battling rheumatic pains for well over a decade and played only one tournament in the first nine months of this year.
Davis Love III has long been rumored to be the next U.S. captain, but no formal announcement has been made. Update: Golf Channel says Love will be named the U.S. captain early next year.
The PGA of America’s board of directors met late last month to approve the move, which has been widely anticipated following the U.S. team’s loss in October.
Love, 46, has played in six matches and has a 9-12-5 overall record, but hasn’t been on the winning side of the biennial event since 1999. He also served as an assistant captain for this year’s event, which was won by the Europeans, 14 ½ to 13 ½.
When contacted, Love referred all questions to the PGA of America.
“It’s our hope to announce the 2012 Ryder Cup captain in the first quarter sometime next year,” said Julius Mason, the PGA’s senior director of communications and media relations.
Choke on This!Johnny Miller has been out of the booth for a few months, but thanks to a fantastic profile by Jaime Diaz and a lively Q&A with Stephanie Wei, Miller fans like myself are getting a fresh fix of Johnny's blunt assessments in the off-season. A few highlights from Wei's dinner chat with Miller:
WUP: Who are the biggest chokers?
JM: Well, you sort of look at guys that should win more. I don’t know if you necessarily — it’s hard to tell whether a guy is really a big choker or not. But for a while, believe it or not, Tom Watson was labeled as a choker and so was Payne Stewart. Guys that were having trouble winning — even like Davis Love III — a lot of people say he should have won more.
But of course, Watson got it going and had a great, great, phenomenal career. And Payne had a pretty good career. But he was known like Davis — guys that just couldn’t bring it home.
Nowadays, if you really want an answer to that…
[Ed. note: Johnny reaches to get his wallet and pulls out what appears to be a clipping that lists names of players, and studies it with a serious expression.]
I’d say Paul Casey might be a guy that you could say really should have won way more tournaments by now. He’s just won a couple tournaments in the US, and with his talent, he should have won a dozen by now. He’s a guy you gotta question. I think he won the Shell Houston tournament with a bogey on the playoff hole. So the bottomline is, something’s going on with him. He’s got a lot more talent than he’s winning.
You know, Dustin Johnson you might say he was choking at the US Open. When you start to hit shots you haven’t seen in a long time, that’s usually a sign of choking — you know, getting nervous. Maybe even the decision he made at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits after he soled the club and then tried to hit that crazy shot out of the quote-unquote bunker. That was not a good decision. So a lot of times choking is just the shot selection you try — try to do stuff you shouldn’t do.
WUP: What about someone like Lee Westwood, who some say has trouble closing out majors?
JM: Thing is about Lee — the way he plays in the Ryder Cup, he doesn’t appear to be a choker, but maybe for majors. Everybody has their choking point. The only thing that Tiger in his prime would choke is maybe winning the Grand Slam in the calendar year, but to be honest, he did win a non-[calendar] year Slam.
House Hunter? A real estate blog in Florida says Elin has been looking for a condo down the road from Tiger's new pad. Bubbaclaus is Here! Bubba Watson is in the holiday spirit, and he's been giving away prizes, tips and more on his Twitter feed with his alter ego Bubbaclaus. Here's the full details on the contest, and check out his ridiculous videos here.