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More PresCup Thoughts

Almost as disappointing as the actual play of the International Squad yesterday was the [photopress:prescup.jpg,full,alignright]lack of interesting coverage of the actual event — at least from my reading. Several papers relied on quotes from Phil Mickelson that were uttered on television — giving little perspective beyond what many viewers had already seen and heard. Sure game stories aren’t very interesting — but can’t we get better than this?

I still wonder about why Mickelson/Woody Austin gave Vijay Singh his final putt on 18. Mickeson said it was Jack Nicklaus’ decision, but Jack said it was up to Mickelson:

JACK NICKLAUS: It was about 3 1/2 feet. I think that Phil and Woody made the right decision, and they both felt that Mike, you know, had played a good match; and Mike being a Canadian and being here, that it was the right thing to do.
And I’m glad they did. I would support it 100%

I wonder if Mike will catch other breaks over the next day just because he’s a Canadian?

Worth checking out is Score’s “radio” (more of a podcast, but that’s splitting hairs), where editors Peter Robinson, Jason Logan and Jeff LeMoine talk about the first day. And in a notes package, Robinson praises the marshalls at the event. Maybe that’s because no one in Montreal attempted to throw the editor out off the course — unlike one overzealous Canadian Open marshall this past summer.

That said, in the podcast Robinson praises Royal Montreal’s layout, saying it makes for good match play. I wonder if that’s the case, or whether the golf on the first day was simply so sloppy that Royal Montreal looks like a great match play course. I suppose many think Royal Montreal, with its ever present water, fits the bill. But the truth is the course is quite one-dimensional and flat, and doesn’t allow for a lot of exciting recovery options.

Interestingly, when I was there in the summer, I hit driver off the 18th tee into the right bunker, just as Ernie Els did in his match. However, I never even considered that there was water off the tee, which noted nutjob Rory Sabbatini found with a wild hook. I’m not sure with Rory was trying to do — and I’m not sure the South African considered the shot for an instant.

Sabbatini was centered out by Player in his press conference for making a very poor decision on the 18th. The television announcers kept calling Sabbatini “aggressive,” but I think he plays like a man without a brain a good part of the time. Player seemed to suggest that Sabbatini just didn’t think through the situation on the 18th yesterday:

Coming down the last hole, Rory has the honor, he’s long on the tee and he can reach the bunker on the right and now you’ve got the water. That’s a driver, you mustn’t go with a driver; you’ve got to go with a 3-wood because you can aim it at the trap and not hit it and hit one club more into the green and it makes a massive difference. It makes the fairway a lot wider if you go that way. And I spoke to him afterwards, and I don’t like to interfere with my player’s play at all. We’ve never interfered and he agreed. He said, “It was in my mind and I just made the wrong decision.”

Adding to all of this are many of the problems facing International players. Ernie Els is struggling with his putter badly, and he has to be hoping Mike Weir, who looked relatively sharp yesterday, will pick him up. Similarly Trever Immelman couldn’t find the cup with his putter these days if it was three times the size.

It doesn’t look good — and I’d be quite surprised to see much of an International comeback. I’m predicting a U.S. blowout, which won’t make for great TV this weekend.

Player’s interview in full is here.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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