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By Kevin Currie, Golf Editor - Archive - Email
Can we name Couples captain ad infinitum?
This will mark Fred Couples' seventh Presidents Cup, four as a player and three as a captain.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - He seems to be the perfect man for the job, so why not give him the job for an indeterminate period?

Fred Couples was tabbed to lead his third Presidents Cup team earlier this week, and I'm not sure there was any other option.

Most players in their 40s and early 50s dream to lead the U.S. Ryder Cup team. If you compare the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, it is abundantly clear that the Ryder Cup has exponentially much more pressure.

Couples may have never seriously been considered for the Ryder Cup job because he fits the Presidents Cup job to a T.

The Presidents Cup has a more laid-back atmosphere, and Couples comes across as more than laid back.

This will mark his seventh Presidents Cup, four as a player and three as a captain.

"I know that most of the guys on the team or all of them probably were in his face or in his pocket to have me possibly be the captain again, which makes me feel very good," Couples said on Tuesday about PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who asked Couples to captain the team again. "Without being on the team as a player, there's nothing better to be a captain."

Couples has led the U.S. Presidents Cup squad to a pair of easy wins over the International team. After facing Greg Norman as International team captain the last two years, Couples will lead his team against Nick Price, who will captain the Internationals for the first time in 2013.

Looking at the list of qualified players who could lead a future Ryder or Presidents Cup teams for the U.S., the list is rather light.

And those who would be considered for the Presidents Cup captaincy would rather a) play on said team, or b) lead the Ryder Cup team, not the Presidents Cup because of the higher profile of the Ryder Cup.

I think it's safe to pencil in Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods as future Ryder Cup captains. Mickelson being the elder of the two likely won't be considered for that role until the 2016 Ryder Cup at the earliest.

Other players in the mix for one of the two posts include Jim Furyk, Kenny Perry, David Toms, Justin Leonard and Steve Stricker. One qualification to lead the U.S. Ryder Cup team is that one has to be a major champion, so that knocks Perry and Stricker out of contention.

Furyk, Toms and Leonard are major champions and in the age range of your typical Ryder Cup leader.

Under the premise that Furyk hopes to play on the 2014 Ryder Cup team, Toms, 45, would seem to be the leader in the clubhouse to captain that squad. Leonard, who turns 40 in a couple weeks, would be in line in the next decade, along with Mickelson and Woods.

If the next Presidents Cup will be Couples' last, that would leave Leonard or Toms, if he gets passed over for the Ryder Cup gig, as a potential successor.

Or we could use the theory my coworker and Ryder Cup aficionado, Jim Brighters, tossed out there. Why not give the next person named captain both jobs, starting with the Presidents Cup?

You could throw Toms or Furyk out there for the Presidents Cup in 2015 and the 2016 Ryder Cup. It's an interesting alternate theory.

If that doesn't work and none of those other names moves the ratings needle, why not stick with Couples in 2015?

"I've been on a lot of teams, and there's one thing I really feel like I can do is rally the guys, and I don't think it's that hard to do," Couples said earlier this week. "It's like when you win a tournament and everyone comes up and pats you on the back and when you go to another tournament, all that is past, but in the Presidents Cup it lingers on and on and on."

In that spirit, why not ask Couples to stay on for the fourth and the fifth and the sixth ...

NOT MANY QUESTIONS HERE

He has earned the nickname Johnny Question Mark, but there are few questions about how good John Huh is playing these days.

Huh, 22, is running away in the rookie of the year race on the PGA Tour. He is the only tour rookie with a victory, and is one of two rookies with multiple top-five finishes.

His four top-10 finishes also are more than any rookie and is one off the tour lead.

Naysayers might argue that Huh's win came in Mayakoba, which was played opposite the WGC - Accenture Match Play, but Huh fired an 8-under 63 in the final round before winning in a playoff.

And there was nothing ordinary about that playoff. Huh beat four-time PGA Tour winner Robert Allenby on the EIGHTH extra hole.

Huh also rallied from a first-round, 5-over 77 at the Texas Open to finish tied for second, two strokes behind Ben Curtis.

Don't question Huh's game, just pay attention to how much game the young man has.

MINI-TIDBITS

* Darren Clarke is out a few weeks with a groin injury. Could he be having the worst year ever by a reigning major champion? A little too much celebrating with the claret jug? Whatever it is, I hope he gets his game straightened out fast.

* Zach Johnson nearly lost the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial last week due to a late penalty. I have no problem with Peter Kostis or anyone greenside who informed officials that Johnson hadn't move his ball mark back. I'd rather see Johnson get the two-stroke penalty for not replacing his mark than get disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard.


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