Philadelphia, PA – The Presidents Cup is about a month away and for an event that traditionally lacks hype, some involved are using their mouths to generate excitement.
We all know American captain Fred Couples tabbed Tiger Woods some time in early spring to be on his team. He also selected Bill Haas, fresh off a win at the Tour Championship and with that victory, a $10 million tax problem.
International captain Greg Norman -- hyping his own silly-season event, the Shark Shootout -- then told the Fort Myers News-Press in Florida that the Woods pick was ill-advised.
"I can understand the name of Tiger Woods and his history of what he's done on the golf course," Norman said. "But I pick the guys who I think are ready to get in there and play and have performed to the highest levels leading up to it."
No matter what side you believe (Norman's right), can you ever recall an international team event captain openly questioning his or her counterpart's picks?
Think about it, there have been some dog picks in recent history, but always, always, always, the other captain takes the high road.
Next up, Couples responded after he won the AT&T Championship on the Champions Tour.
"I have no problem with Greg. He can say whatever he wants, but I'm not really into that. I play golf with my clubs," Couples said.
Aside from the fact that Couples apparently is "into that," that's as shocking a poke as Norman's. Couples is normally so mild-mannered, making those comments all the more surprising.
It's also very different than Norman's scathing criticism.
Woods is a lightning rod no matter the status of his game. Critiquing Couples' selection of Woods is absolutely fair. Maybe not by your opposing captain in a competition and sport dictated on sportsmanship, but that's reality.
But no one truthfully cares about Allenby's presence in this event, except for the Allenby family. He was a decent enough pick. He's got a great record at Royal Melbourne and no other International player really forced Norman's hand, warranting selection based on play.
Couples had choices, especially when it came to Keegan Bradley. He won twice this year on tour, including the PGA Championship, and that's two more than Woods.
That makes questioning Couples on taking Woods acceptable and even responsible. It's just not the responsibility of Norman, who has a history of making shaky picks.
Two years ago, Norman took his protege, Adam Scott, when his game was in horrendous shape. Scott tied for second at the 2009 Sony Open in Hawaii, then missed nine cuts, including six in a row, spanning the Masters and Players Championship. Scott's best finish after the joint runner-up in Hawaii was a tie for 33rd at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, which meant he lost in the first round.
Know what Scott did in the 2009 Presidents Cup? He went 1-4 and the Internationals lost.
Maybe Norman should've considered that before mouthing off.
And maybe Couples should've gone on the attack against Norman's record, considering he made the comments, and not pop off about Allenby. After all, he's trying the same thing with Tiger that Norman did two years ago with Scott.
And it still won't die.
Geoff Ogilvy said on a conference call Thursday that he didn't understand Couples' timing.
"You can't ever say that picking Tiger Woods is a bad selection, but the way he picked him ... " Ogilvy said. "I don't agree with the way he picked him, announcing it months early, basically telling the guys who are on the fringe of the U.S. team there's really only going to be one pick."
Again, that's a valid opinion that several agree with, but is Ogilvy the best guy for the job?
Credit to him for making the team on points, but it wasn't until the last two weeks of the points race that Ogilvy made the team. Granted, he did, but Ogilvy hasn't torn the golf world apart recently and maybe he should get his form in shape before commenting.
Maybe all of this bickering through the media is a good thing for the Presidents Cup. It's nowhere near the Ryder Cup in terms of interest or ratings and ratings won't be high in the U.S. when this year's competition will be in Australia.
Tiger's presence will be the story. If he plays well, Freddie looks fine and if he doesn't, Couples will take some heat. But it'll be Woods who remains under the microscope.
They say any PR is good PR, but these petty comments and shots at people seem so out of place for this event (and Couples in particular), let alone golf.
Let the clubs do the talking, right Freddie?
- I love that Luke Donald is playing Disney to win that money title. He could become the first golfer ever to win the money race on both the PGA Tour and European Tour and history and immortality mean something. Donald can't do it being the honorary captain for Northwestern during Homecoming. Money titles mean something, so congrats to Luke for going for that.
- The PGA Tour announced on Thursday the creation of the PGA Tour Latinoamerica. It'll be played from September through December 2012 and the carrot at the end of the stick is some type of status on the Nationwide Tour in 2013. Globalization is the thing right now in sports and this is part of that. Remember, also, that golf returns to the Olympics in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
- As a writer, I'm mortally opposed to more golf, though.
- Monday finish to start the PGA Tour in 2012. It's to go along with some NFL coverage and the BCS National Championship Game.
- As a writer, I'm mortally opposed to Monday finishes.
- Movie moment - It's always exciting when your city hosts several movie stars for filming. "How Do You Know" filmed in Philadelphia, so I watched against my better judgement just to see my city. Turns out Owen Wilson's character is actually a pitcher for the Washington Nationals, so thanks for that everyone.