My latest National Post column, on Paul Azinger’s picks for the Ryder Cup team, is now online (and a full day earlier than the print edition!).
Here’s a taste:
Paul Azinger used his Ryder Cup captain’s selections Tuesday to pick a heck of a scramble team.
Problem is, the Ryder Cup hasn’t added the scramble to the formats used in the biennial match-play competition between the United States and Europe, which will be contested starting Sept. 19 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.
The format is still a mix of better ball, alternate shot and singles events, which Europe has used to defeat the U.S. for the entirety of this decade. The U.S. is winless in three tries since mounting a remarkable comeback at The Country Club at Brookline in 1999.
Azinger’s four choices – two more than has been the case on past teams – revolve around bomber J.B. Holmes. Every scramble needs a big hitter that can bust one out there, and Holmes is that golfer. He averages 310 yards off the tee and is a native Kentuckian like teammate Kenny Perry.
Azinger used his other picks to compliment the bomber.
There’s the veteran: Steve Stricker, erratic with his driver, but a player who finds a way to get the ball in the bottom of the cup as well as anyone on the PGA Tour. He’s now a legitimate star at No. 8 in the world rankings – though far from a household name – after he spent the middle part of his career in golf’s hinterlands.
Backing him up is the opinionated young gun, the talented and effusive Hunter Mahan. In the scramble format, it would be Mahan who takes Holmes’ blasts and use his deft touch with his irons to put them on the greens.
Cleaning it all up is Chad Campbell, a birdie machine who is steady and reliable, if somewhat unremarkable.
The full column is here.