SAN FRANCISCO—Under the assumption that it’s never too early to start hyping an event, the PGA Tour held the 2009 Presidents Cup media day at Harding Park last week. Naturally, captains Fred Couples (U.S.) and Greg Norman (International) came, as did the new Mrs. Norman (Chris Evert), Greg’s knockout daughter Morgan Leigh, and the equally glamorous San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom. (Morgan Leigh’s on-again, off-again squeeze Sergio Garcia was not in attendance.)
As usual, Couples played it loose, saying pretty much whatever came to mind, which is often confusing. We learned he’s got a commitment from former NBA great Michael Jordan to be the “assistant-assistant,” which presumably means he will help out Fred’s real assistant, Jay Haas. Jordan goes to all these things anyway and will provide Couples with, among other things, a much appreciated bridge to Tiger Woods.
We learned that Robin Williams, whom Freddy would like to provide comic relief to both Presidents Cup teams, has not committed as of yet, even though he lives in San Francisco.
And finally we learned that Freddy will be a strict disciplinarian. Or not. You be the judge of this word salad:
“I can promise you, except for one night, my team will be in jeans and t-shirts every minute of the day they are not here at Harding Park. Not because that’s like I am; that’s because the last four teams I’ve been on, that’s exactly how it is. Not letting you think that the Ryder Cup is different, but even I struggled sometimes when you’ve got to be at a photo shoot—when you’re worried about your golf game.
“So that’s where the complaints are; for the people out there in the media, they all know, but a few other people, we come to Harding Park to play at our best. And when we are told one week to be here at 7:30 to take pictures, and at quarter to 8 you have to shake a few hands, and at 8:30 you’re on the range and at 9 you’re playing, sometimes there are days where you just say, wow, I just want to go home and I want to practice nine holes and hit a few balls and call it a day.
“One week of the year, you get over that, and you handle whatever your captain says, and I’m the captain and they are going to do what I tell them. (Laughter.)”
Couples turned to Norman and asked: “Correct? You’re in the same boat?”
“Absolutely," said Norman. "Whatever you say, Captain. (More laughter.)”