Golf Tidbits: Future Ryder Cup captains

Kevin Currie, Golf Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Colin Montgomerie was tabbed as the European Ryder Cup captain for the 2010 Cup and he will lead the boys from across the pond against Corey Pavin's United States team.

Monty getting the gig in 2010 may be a surprise to some. Early on, it seemed as though Sandy Lyle may have the inside track on the job. For some reason, he fell out of favor and the job looked to be Jose Maria Olazabal's.

Olazabal said he would accept if asked so the choice for the European side came down to those two players, Olazabal and Montgomerie. Olazabal has had more success winning events in the U.S. than Montgomerie has.

In fact, Montgomerie has never won on U.S. soil. So, the eight-time Order of Merit champion was selected to head the 2010 European Ryder Cup team that will try to win back the Cup from the United States team at the Celtic Manor Resort, in Wales.

That seems to leave Olazabal the task of heading the European team in 2012 at Medinah Country Club in Illinois. There was even a report that Wednesday's announcement of Montgomerie getting the 2010 job was going to be a dual announcement with Olazabal being tabbed for the 2012 captaincy.

That did not happen, but Olazabal still seems to have the inside track to lead the 2012 team and that leaves Lyle, a two-time major champion, on the outside looking in.

While reading many different views on Monty getting the job in 2010, I came across a story in which a writer from the United Kingdom interviewed former European Tour player and now announcer, Ewan Murray.

Murray stated that he and an unnamed European Tour official came up with a tentative list of captains from 2012 through 2028. The story did not list the names, but it is pretty easy to come up with the list.

Using the simple guidelines that players must be in their late 40s, have had multiple Cup appearances and enjoyed worldwide success, I came up with seven names that are practical shoo-ins for the captaincy for the European team. Don't worry, I'll get to the potential U.S. captains later.

Following Monty will likely be Olazabal. The Spaniard is a two-time Masters champion and along with countryman Seve Ballesteros dominated many a Ryder Cup, so much so that they were dubbed the "Spanish Armada."

Fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez would likely follow Olazabal for the 2014 Ryder Cup in Scotland. From there, names like Darren Clarke, three-time major champion, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia would be in play for the captaincy.

Two other players, Jesper Parnevik and Paul McGinley, haven't enjoyed as much worldwide or Ryder Cup success as those mentioned above, but have both competed in three Cups and could be in the mix as well.

Throw those two into the pot and the Europeans have their captains through 2028. Those were pretty easy pickings for a team that has won five of the last seven Cups overall.

As for the United States' choices, the picture is not as clear. After Pavin, the potential list of names includes Mark Calcavecchia, Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink and Tiger Woods.

Of that group, every player has competed in at least four Ryder Cups and all but Cink have won at least one major championship title.

Calcavecchia, who is 48 now, would seem to be a long shot for the job in 2012. That would likely fall to a then 47-year-old Love. After Love, Furyk and Mickelson would be the next two logical choices with both being 46 years of age in 2016.

Following those two could be Cink and Woods. Three other players in the mix would be David Toms, Justin Leonard and Chad Campbell. All three are three- time Ryder Cup participants, while Toms and Leonard are also major champions.

If Toms were to get the job, it would likely be 2016 and that would move Mickelson back to 2020 as he would more likely captain in the U.S. as opposed to in Europe. Leonard and Campbell would be in the mix with Cink and Woods sometime after 2020.

There are nine names for each team to look at between now and 2028. Those lists do not include other names that could be looked at such as Thomas Levet, Robert Karlsson or Thomas Bjorn for the Europeans and Kenny Perry, Chris DiMarco or Scott Verplank for the Unites States.


Year in and year out there are few holes that come close to resembling the atmosphere around the par-three 16th at this week's host venue, the TPC Scottsdale.

Over 15,000 fans stuff the bleachers around this hole every day and make as much noise as any crowd on the PGA Tour, and maybe more noise than some crowds at your average Pac-10 football game.

This year, for the first time, the 16th is fully encircled in bleachers and has been nicknamed "The Coliseum." The only hole that might come close atmosphere-wise is the famed island green, No. 17, at TPC Sawgrass.

The pressures at these par-threes is so much different, but the crowd participation is remarkably similar.

In Scottsdale, players will be serenaded with their universities' school song, have little known facts about themselves chanted by the crowd and can be mercilessly booed for missing the green.

At Sawgrass, players are cheered heartily for hitting the island green. However, if you miss the green and find water, oohs and aahs abound.

Some think the 16th at Scottsdale might be a little too rowdy, but I say it is fun to see the players let their guard down every so often and this hole provides one such occasion.


- Another big economic hit on the LPGA Tour and Champions Tour this week. Ginn Resorts dropped its sponsorship of the Ginn Open (LPGA) and the Ginn Championship (Champions) effective immediately. Ginn also dropped its sponsorship deal with Cristie Kerr. Those two events are now scrambling to find replace sponsors and host courses as well.

- How low were the scores last week at the Bob Hope Classic? Nine players, including David Duval and Steve Elkington, were 14-under par through four rounds and missed the cut. That isn't enough for you? How about Bill Haas's week? He carded two 68s and three 67s to post 23-under par, which gave him a share of 25th place. Only three regular season events in 2008 had winning scores that were better than that.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Kevin Currie at
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