Thursday, October 25, 2012

Payne Stewart, 13 years later

   It was 13 years ago today, Oct. 25, 1999, that Payne Stewart died.
   It's still a sad thought.
   That June we saw Stewart win the U.S. Open in the misty gloom at Pinehurst, punching his fist into the air after making his par putt on the 18th green then framing Phil Mickelson's face in his hands and telling him how great it was Mickelson was about to become a father for the first time.
  That September, we saw Stewart spraying champagne on balcony of the clubhouse at The Country Club after the American team's dramatic rally to win the Ryder Cup. His teammates tell stories of him playing the piano and partying in his red, white and blue pajamas deep into that evening.
   And then Stewart was gone.
   Too soon.
   He would have been a Ryder Cup captain one year, perhaps this year, and maybe the European rally wouldn't have happened like it did at Medinah. If it had, Stewart would have still reveled in what the Ryder Cup represented.
   They built a statue honoring Stewart and it sits behind the 18th green at Pinehurst No. 2, reminding us of the man and the moment.
   Neither will soon be forgotten.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Diamond Creek has new owner

   Diamond Creek Golf Club, which sits just outside Banner Elk amid a cluster of top-shelf private golf clubs, has been sold.
   Houston businessman Dan Friedkin, a club member, announced Thursday he has purchased the club from Florida businessman H. Wayne Huizenga, who founded the club in 2003 with golf professional John McNeely.
   Diamond Creek, part of a private, gated community, was designed by Tom Fazio and is popular with Charlotte area golfers.
   "We are thrilled to announce the purchase and I am grateful to Wayne for founding this exceptional club and laying a robust foundation for its growth. As stewards of the club, we will invest in Diamond Creek, seeking to create the ultimate exclusive golf retreat for our distinguished membership," Friedken said in a statement.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Phil takes a shot at $1 million

If you haven't seen video of Phil Mickelson's 100-yard shot for a potential $1-million charity prize last night, there's a link below.
Not to blow the drama but if you're thinking he hit the bull's eye, well...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Halftime show: Mickelson hits shot for $1 million

  Phil Mickelson is the halftime entertainment tonight during the San Diego Chargers-Denver Broncos game and he may win $1 million for charity tonight.
   Mickelson will hit a 100-yard shot at halftime toward targets with a variety of prizes to be awarded by his sponsor KPMG. Depending on which target Mickelson hits -- he's really good with a wedge -- it could be worth $1 million or 400,000 books.
   The shot will be from one end zone in Qualcomm Stadium to the opposite end zone and you can believe Mickelson will make it fun to watch.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Time to shake up US Ryder Cup captaincy

Given the events of last Sunday -- and almost every other Ryder Cup played over the past 20 years -- it seems a fair time to reconsider how the PGA of America chooses the American captain.
That's not to suggest Davis Love III was responsible for the Europeans' dramatic victory. Point that finger at Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer and the others who played the golf that gave Europe its most dramatic victory.
Love had a plan, stuck with it and for two of the three days, it worked beautifully. Then Europe found its heartbeat and its putting stroke and everything changed.
Now the question is who will captain the U.S. team in Gleneagles, Scotland in two years.
If you follow the general outline, do the math and factor in the personalities, David Toms' name keeps popping up. He won a major and a handful of other events, has Ryder Cup experience and is a well-regarded gentleman.
There's a feeling it's Toms turn just as it was Corey Pavin's turn two years ago.
But the PGA of America should shake it up. Nothing against Toms but if another crushing loss isn't reason enough to step at least gently outside the box, what is?
The popular choice to be the next captain is Fred Couples, who has led the U.S. to two Presidents Cup victories and will captain a third team next fall when the matches are played at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
Couples should get the job.
Why would being Presidents Cup captain disqualify him? It shouldn't.
Most people, including Couples, will be surprised if he gets the Ryder Cup call. It's as if you can do one or the other, the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup. Couples would be the first to tell you the Presidents Cup isn't on the same level as the Ryder Cup, though PGA Tour officials don't like to hear that.
But he's doing something right.
Others have suggested the PGA of America make a dramatic move and break with the unofficial formula for selecting a captain. It's worth considering.
It's not too late to ask Larry Nelson to be captain. He got shafted out of it before and while he's not a contemporary of today's PGA Tour players, he would have their respect. He could also hire younger assistants to help him.
Or bring back Paul Azinger. He'd love to do it again and he'd do it well.
Someone suggested Butch Harmon. Interesting idea.
That's what the PGA of America needs -- interesting ideas. It's time to change the formula.