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Unisex Golf Tournaments?

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Another gender bias lawsuit, this time by a female golfer in Massachusetts who insists on competing in men’s competitive golf events.  In Cape Cod, Massachusetts a Nor’easter is brewing and it looks as if the Town of Dennis will be on the receiving end.

Elaine Joyce has filed a discrimination or gender bias lawsuit against the town of Dennis, as well as sibling courses Dennis Pines and Dennis Highlands. Why? She was not allowed to compete in a men’s only tournament. Ms. Joyce is a single digit handicapper and has won numerous women’s amateur events on Cape Cod. No one doubts her abilities. Apparently Joyce has dispatched all same sex competition and seeks to compete on the same field as the men.

According to Joyce, “"The only way to get better is to practice, practice, practice, and to play with people better than you, and that’s the men," she said.” Furthermore, Joyce said she wants to play in tournaments with men because “you play against people who are as good as you or better than you if you want to get better. There are no women at my level except one college student (Mary Chamberlain, who defeated Joyce in last year’s club championship) and she doesn’t always play in Dennis.” Why not try out for a few mini tours or even the Duramed Futures Tour? Please help me to better understand this. Have you exhausted all avenues of female golf competition? It leaves one wondering if playing with the guys is really her main objective.

According to Joyce’s attorneys, Laura Studen and Nancy Newark of the firm Burns & Levinson, they cite the town’s “perpetuation of an ‘historic custom’ of offering ‘men only’ golf tournaments that prohibit women from participating.” Her attorneys compare depriving Joyce the right to play in a men’s only golf tournament to “the once ‘historic custom’ of men’s only bars or of whites’ only drinking fountains.” They further allege that practices at Dennis golf courses “perpetuate the social and economic inferiority of women and cannot be rationalized by any legal standard.” I believe these lawyers are reaching a bit here by comparing civil rights with not being allowed to play in a men’s golf tournament; after all, the town offered a women’s only tournament. According to town officials, the policy was changed, but too late for Joyce’s liking, and thus the lawsuit was filed. According to The Daily News Tribune, it appears that Ms. Joyce is suspicious of the town’s claim of adopting current USGA tournament policy. Joyce contends member-member tournaments will include men’s and women’s divisions rather than allowing people of both genders to play with and against each other. Again, what is wrong with separate gender divisions within the same tournament?

The Dennis Golf Advisory Committee voted in October to adopt the Massachusetts Golf Association and United States Golf Association’s non-gender-biased tournament rules.

According to the Daily News Tribune, “at its first meeting following denying Joyce’s request to play in the May 4-5 men’s tournament, the golf advisory committee discussed its gender-based policy. At the time, GAC Chairman Jim Horvath urged adopting the MGA and USGA non-gender based policies, but the committee voted 5-1 against Horvath’s proposal.

Last June, the GAC voted 6-1 in favor of all 2008 member-member and member-guest tournaments having both a men’s and a women’s field. Believing the change should be implemented for fall tournaments, Horvath opposed the vote. At the same meeting he resigned from the golf committee, citing increased work demands. The town’s gender-based policy was not discussed in July, August or September.

On Oct 22, the GAC unanimously voted to adopt USGA entry procedure, rules and regulations for all tournaments starting in 2008.”

Horvath said, “Personally, I’m glad the issue was raised in May because something needed to be done. I also wish that other members of the GAC had gone along with my suggestion [to adopt USGA policy] on May 14 when I brought this up. At the time, I showed members the USGA and MGA tournament entry forms that are non-gender biased.”

Horvath said he is disappointed with Joyce for not attending any GAC meetings and not voicing her displeasure in person. “She or any woman should have the right to play in a men’s tournament as long as they play from the men’s tee markers and by the tournament rules,” he said. “I wish the change had come sooner, but at least it has come.” I wonder if a man would be allowed to enter a women’s tournament and play from the women’s tee markers? It may be only a matter of time before all golf tournaments are unisex.

This lawsuit came six months after Joyce, a member of Dennis golf courses since 2005, was not allowed to play with her father, Patrick Joyce of Dennis, in a men’s member-member golf tournament at Dennis Pines.  One could surely argue on behalf of Ms. Joyce that “if” her father did not have a son, why not allow the daughter to play in the event? Joyce’s lawyers are “seeking in excess of $75,000 have resulted from Joyce’s “humiliation, embarrassment shunning, disenfranchisement and other losses.” In my opinion, this is absurd. Is it about the money, or the right to play golf with men? Asking for monetary damages infers the opposite of what her primary goal was or should be. She is also requesting that the town of Dennis incur all of her legal fees as well.

According to Golf Director Brian Boone, “If Elaine registers in any Dennis tournament and wants to play against men because it raises the level of her game or for whatever reason, she may do that. This change should cover all possibilities.” It sounds like the committee sincerely listened to her concerns and made a change, for some, for the better. If this was Ms. Joyce’s ultimate goal, why clutter up the court docket with such a lawsuit?

It seems that Ms. Joyce is no stranger to these types of legal wranglings. According to the New York Times’ Marcia Chambers, “a decade ago, Joyce succeeded in playing with men on weekends at Bayberry Hill and Bass River, the public courses in nearby Yarmouth.”

In her present complaint, Joyce said the latest experience at Dennis Pines left her feeling “ostracized, marginalized, humiliated, embarrassed and denounced.” She said many men played in tournaments in each town and knew about her previous case in Yarmouth. There, Joyce wanted to become a member of the so-called Forty Thieves men’s group so she could play on weekend mornings and play competitively.

Eventually, the Yarmouth town administrator found that Bayberry Hill and Bass River were subject to the state’s antidiscrimination laws. He told the Forty Thieves to accept her or lose their block of preferential weekend tee times. They reluctantly accepted her into their group rather than loose their preferred block of tee times.

Joyce said she began to feel hostility after she filed the state discrimination complaint. One Saturday, after a match-play club championship, she walked into the clubhouse after the first round. “There were 20 to 25 guys in there,” she said. “And as soon I walked in the door, everything stopped. Boys will be boys, they always have, and they always will. In fact, there will always be that guy in the gallery holding up an “Iron my shirt” sign.  It’s just the boys, you know, being boys.  No one likes a party crasher from any direction, male or female. In fact, I personally would not want to associate with women, or even men for that matter, that were not sincerely welcoming me into their fold.

What will happen when all of the women’s tours are comprised mostly of men who weren’t quite good enough for the Hooter’s Tour? This is already happening in Massachusetts high school sports. In fact, boys are allowed to play girls’ field hockey in Massachusetts. Field hockey has forever changed, it’s a much rougher game now. Many complain about girls getting injured. According to writer Joe Burns of www.wickedlocal.com,  “In 1991, a Chatham boy joined his school’s girls’ field hockey team because there was no boy’s field hockey team. Boys on Cape Cod and in other parts of the country have joined girls’ field hockey teams for the same reason. Their inclusion has caused concerns for league officials and parents. In an undated entry, a Massachusetts parent on the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation Web site voiced concern for the safety of his daughter. She was taken to the hospital after being injured by one of two boys playing on the Sandwich High School girls’ field hockey team. “Why can’t these schools start boys’ teams?” he asked. Well, I highly doubt that these young lads would have tried out for the girl’s team had a boy’s team been in the offering. In contrast, the Town of Dennis does in fact offer women’s only golf events and in my opinion, herein is the difference.

 

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  1. Graeme Lester

    Apr 1, 2008 at 6:06 am

    I believe Ms Joyce might have an over inflated ego and needs to start winning tournaments with all womens field like the Futures Tour and if she is good enough then take her game to the next level namely the LPGA Tour..

  2. Comment by Kim

    Mar 30, 2008 at 9:29 am

    I think Joyce should get over herself. It sounds to me like a case of an over inflated ego. What is wrong with men only tournaments? Why would Joyce even want to compete in a tournament where the men don’t want her. What would happen to the good women golfers if men could start competing and winning all the womens tournaments? It would really wreck competitve golf for women when they could no longer win their tournaments. I am a woman golfer and dearly love the sport. My game isn’t up to the level of competing with most women let alone men, but one things for sure, I would never wish to make everyone else uncomfortable. It’s not good for there game or mine. If Joyce really wants to improve there are plenty of good women to go compete against.

  3. Chris

    Mar 28, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    this is the DUMBEST thing i have ever heard of. she isnt even a scratch player who cant even win her own ladies club championship.
    also dont you think the rest of the women will be upset when all the events are unisex. if i were a woman golfer i would be outraged when i have to compete with the men!

  4. Bob Beher

    Mar 28, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Let her play, it’s really no big deal till you make it one. If she has an established index then she should be able to play against those with the same, and from the same tees. I think some are threatened by the thought of not being able to behave like they usually do (on a golf course) around a woman. Get over it, it’s 2 or 3 5 hour rounds, you’re not chained to her for the rest of your sheltered life.

  5. Paul

    Mar 28, 2008 at 11:06 am

    I know for a fact that Dennis Pines is a tough course and I have competed in the state four ball at these two courses. I currently have a daughter that plays on her High School boys Hockey team. I do have mixed feeling because they have womens tournaments. The rule for the year should be simple either play play mens golf or you play womens golf not both withn that said I would say give her a chance and if she fails then also plays poorly then she should be rejected on not being a up to mens tournament standards.

    I think she deserves a chance.

    Paul

  6. David

    Mar 27, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    She should have been allowed to play with her father in the tourney. When you discriminate against someone on the basis of sex or race, you better be prepared to pay the consequences. And, they will pay with the bad P.R. and possibly monetarily. In my mind, she didn’t stir things up, the club did. People of equal ability should compete against each other, regardless of sex. We should remember from the 60’s that “separate but equal” does not work. This is no different. I would imagine that most people of lesser golfing ability won’t enter a tournament where they can’t compete. The last tourney I played in had some pretty terrible male golfers, with huge egos, participating. I think many men like to pick on women golfers because it makes them feel a little better about their own terrible games.

  7. Chris

    Mar 24, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Here we go again…..Last time I checked there are Men’s golf tournaments and Women’s golf tournaments. Why does there always have to be someone trying to stir up junk. Trying to get their 5 minutes of fame? Ms. Joyce if your that good then try the Futures tour for women or better yet start women’s league tournaments in your area. And as feeling “ostracized, marginalized, humiliated, embarrassed and denounced.” You brought that on yourself and going this route isn’t helping your case. And as for trying to get money from this, sounds like someone trying to get something for nothing. Hell maybe I ought to play with women in their leagues, not fair you say? There are mens leagues I can play in, you say. Exactly……

  8. Jeremy

    Mar 23, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    I grew up in Dennis and was a member of both town’s golf courses. I also played with Mary and her brother Dan Chamberlain during the summers and Mary in plenty of competition. I also had two friends who played varsity hockey play on the field hockey team during the off season. Knowing Jim Horvath as a friend I’m sad to hear he is no longer on the golf committee. Losing Mr. Horvath is a huge loss and it appears they should have listened to his concerns in May. It sad to see my club when I was a junior golf in this light as I was always treated with integrity. They have one of if not the best junior programs anywhere. I hope the situation is resolved fairly for each party involved

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Morning 9: A 6-man playoff in Turkey | Wild Schwab Cup finish | Hatton’s Tin Cup moment

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1. A six-man playoff under the lights
Reuters report on Tyrrell Hatton’s last-man-standing effort in Turkey...”England’s Tyrrell Hatton beat Austria’s Matthias Schwab on the fourth playoff hole to clinch his second Rolex Series title at the Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya on Sunday after a dramatic six-man playoff.”
  • “For the first time at a professional golf tournament, the floodlights were switched on at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course for the playoff as the six golfers battled for the $2 million prize money.”
  • “Hatton, overnight leader Schwab, American Kurt Kitayama, South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen and Frenchmen Victor Perez and Benjamin Hebert entered the playoff after they all finished with a 20-under overall score after 72 holes.”

Full piece.

2. Maggert holes out for win but McCarron gets the cup
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Maggert’s hole-out from 123 yards on the third extra hole ended the 2019 PGA Tour Champions season in spectacular fashion. Entering the final round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship with a one-shot lead, Maggert needed a birdie on the last hole of regulation to force a playoff with Retief Goosen. But with Goosen in tight on the third extra hole, Maggert’s wedge approach took two hops and found the hole and spark a fairway celebration.”
  • “The eagle gave Maggert his first victory on the over-50 circuit since he won four times during the 2015 season…While Maggert and Goosen battled it out in overtime for the tournament title, the fate of the season-long Charles Schwab Cup also hung in the balance. Goosen was in position to win both trophies with a playoff win over Maggert, and he would have become the first PGA Tour Champions rookie to earn the season-long prize.”
  • “Instead Maggert’s victory meant that McCarron finally won the Charles Schwab Cup after a number of close finishes.”

Full piece.

3. A home game win
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“For a second straight year, a Japanese star won on home soil at the Toto Japan Classic. Ai Suzuki, a five-time winner on the Japan LPGA this season, now has the chance to join the LPGA after claiming the first-place check of $225,000.”
  • “It was my dream, so I feel like I want to challenge,” said Suzuki, through a translator, of joining the LPGA. “But I can’t speak English. And I need to talk to my family because I need their support. I am not good in moving around, traveling and food.”
  • “Suzuki has until Nov. 18 to make a decision on LPGA membership. If she decides to pass, she’ll be eligible for six sponsor exemptions in 2020 along with the all five major championships and the HSBC Women’s World Championship. She would not be in the field for the 2020 Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.”

Full piece.

4. Korn Ferry Q-School update
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine does the Lord’s work rounding up all the Korn Ferry Tour Q-School action. He writes…”the field for the final stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School is set.”
“The final four of five second-stage sites wrapped up on Friday, with advancing players moving on to final stage, set for Dec. 12-15 at Orange County National in Winter Garden, Fla.”
5. Tin Cup moment
Paging Roy McAvoy… The ever-entertaining Eddie Pepperell was the author of a grim episode at the Turkish Airlines Open…via the Golf Channel Digital team…”Eddie Pepperell is one of the European Tour’s more intriguing personalities and he added to his persona on Saturday at the Turkish Airlines Open by playing the role of Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy.”
  • “Per The Associated Press…England’s Eddie Pepperell did not even finish his round and was disqualified for failing to complete the fourth hole, his 13th of the day.”
  • “Pepperell was 2 over for the round after dropping shots on the second and third and then hit his approach to the next into the water guarding the green. In a scene reminiscent of the ”Tin Cup” film, Pepperell had several more attempts – even his caddie could not say for certain whether it was four or five – before informing playing partners Martin Kaymer and George Coetzee that he had run out of balls.”

Full piece.

6. Fowler out of the Mayakoba
A hidden element of the Prez Cup decision, perhaps? Steve Dimeglio for Golfweek…
  • “In a text message to Golfweek, Fowler said at the tail end of his honeymoon – he got married the first week of October – he came down with Campylobacter jejuni, which is among the most common bacterial infections and leads to cramps, fever, pain and diarrhea.”
  • “Fowler said he started feeling the effects of the intestinal bacterial infection Oct. 26 and didn’t started getting back to normal until Nov. 7.”
  • “It was not a fun stretch,” Fowler wrote. He added he is taking medicine to combat the last stages of the infection and just didn’t have enough time to properly prepare for the Mayakoba Golf Classic, where he’s finished second and in a tie for 16th the past two years.”

Full piece.

7. Making things harder
An interesting take from Geoff Shackelford for Golfweek…
“With world No. 1 Brooks Koepka potentially missing the Cup while rehabbing his left knee, Fowler seems likely to be his replacement. Fowler finished a spot ahead of Reed on the Presidents Cup points list and his easygoing nature suggests he might have been open to being left off the initial roster to give Reed a welcome-back confidence boost.”
  • “Woods has his reasons, but to any impartial observer, he made the already difficult tasks of serving as a playing captain more complicated by adding Reed in an event where pairings would have been easier to make with Fowler in town. Woods will be juggling the role of lineup making, reintroducing Reed to the American team room and needing to keep his game sharp. Not many could handle all of that. Which is exactly what appeals to someone who thrives off of steep challenges at this point in his illustrious career.”

Full piece.

8. Kendall Dye is hardly alone
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols makes an interesting point regarding the Kendall Dye advice-seeking saga…
  • “None of the players or caddies – on both the PGA Tour and LPGA – interviewed by Golfweek for this story can recall having seen a player flash fingers or verbally ask for club information.”
  • “In that instance, Dye is an exception…And it’s perfectly legal for media to obtain club information. Caddies flash fingers to on-course reporters in every marquee group.”
  • “But that doesn’t mean the advice rule isn’t broken in other ways throughout professional golf on a regular basis.”
  • “Caddies flash numbers to players and caddies,” said one veteran LPGA player. Because rules violations are a sensitive topic, Golfweek spoke to caddies and players about the issue on the condition of anonymity. “That’s really not uncommon. I bet it happens in every group at least once during the round in every tournament.”

Full piece.

9. First loser, indeed
Ryan Herrington of Golf Digest with this observation…“To the victor goes the spoils, and in the case of Tyrrell Hatton, those spoils were plentiful. In holding on under the lights to win a six-man playoff at the Turkish Airlines Open on Sunday afternoon/evening, the 28-year-old Englishman earned the $2 million first-place check with the event being part of the European Tour’s lucrative Rolex Series events.”
  • “Given the unique circumstances of the victory, however, the discrepancy between what Hatton took home and what the fivesome of runners-up-Erik Van Rooyen, Kurt Kitayama, Matthias Schwab, Victor Perez and Benjamin Hebert-at Montgomerie Maxx Royal course in Antalya, Turkey, made was particularly pronounced. A solo second-place finish at the tournament was worth $828,000, but because you had to add the prize money for the third, fourth, fifth and sixth places, then divide the aggregate among the five players, the amount was diluted to $430,589.98.”
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Tour Rundown: Incredible finishes on Champions, European tours

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As darkness fell in Antalya, the the first event in the European Tour playoff series came to a conclusion. Light stanchions had been illuminated for two playoff holes, when the final putt missed. In Japan, the Asian swing of the LPGA came to a conclusion. And the old guard of the PGA Tour Champions stood its season-ending event in Phoenix in the most dramatic fashion of all. Snows fell, then evanesced, in my home area, reminding me that played golf is precious, and televised golf that matters, is a commodity. On, then, with our Tour Rundown for Monday, November 11th. Take special care, at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, to pray for peace.

Hatton outlasts the world at TAO on European Tour

An entire-season of storylines materialized at the Maxx Royale on Sunday. It happened, dramatically, over the final hour of the tournament. Kurt Kitayama, the reborn American golfer, reached the clubhouse first at 20-under par. He was soon joined by Erik Van Rooyen, Victor Perez, Tyrrell Hatton, Benjamin Hebert, and Matthias Schwab, the 3rd-round leader. Schwab had an opportunity to win it all in regulation, but was unable to make birdie at the last. The sextet returned four times to the 18th hole, to decide matters. Van Rooyen was eliminated in round one, with bogey. The French duo, Hebert and Perez, dropped away on the 2nd go-round, also with bogey. Kitayama went by the wayside on the 3rd cycle, when par was no longer good enough. On the 4th return in extra time, Schwab made bogey and Hatton was the champion.

Where Schwab lost: His greenside pitching. In regulation and on the 4th playoff hole, the Austrian had an opportunity to get a greenside pitch within birdie range, but bombed it 25 feet past both times. Schwab consquently 3-putted after the second miscue, costing himself a chance on a 5th playoff hole.

How Hatton won: He pitched in for birdie on the first playoff hole, when it was birdie or go home. He also outlasted the other golfers, allowing them to make mistakes. They did, and the experienced winner rode off with a trophy, pride, and prize.

Suzuki claims TOTO for home country on LPGA

Ai Suzuki has a decision to make. The young professional from Japan has officially earned membership on the LPGA Tour for 2020. Will she opt-in and match her skills with the world’s best? Suzuki stood tied for 1st after round one, then atop the board by herself after a 2nd-round 65, the low round of the week. Perhaps the most important stretch of the week was the first 7 holes on Sunday; she played them in 4-under par. The fiery start served notice that a 63 would be needed to catch her. In a post-round interview, Suzuki admitted that her inability to speak English probably drops her chances of joining the tour in 2020, to 20%. Some day, she acknowledges, but not quite yet.

How Suzuki won: One bogey. Say it out loud…O-N-E-B-O-G-E-Y all week. The 11th hole on Friday, during round one. Beyond that, 18 birdies.

How the others lost: More bogeys. Hyo Joo Kim (2nd place by 3 shots) had a solitary bogey as well, but she added in a double, and one birdie fewer. Minjee Lee (3rd place by 6 shots) made 3 bogies on Sunday alone! Suzuki wasn’t indomitable; she simply played error-free and made birdie putts when they beckoned.

After Montgomerie walks off, Maggert walks OFF to win Schwab Cup Championship

Colin Montgomerie holed his final shot of the 2019 PGA Tour Champions campaign from 100-odd yards away. The eagle 3 jumped him up from T7 to T4, and certainly eased the pain from the bogey he had just made at the 17th hole. Who knew that this was the warm-up for what would happen in the playoff? Let’s set the scene, and then let your mind take over. Jeff Maggert and Retief Goosen tied at 21-under par, 2 shots clear of 3rd place Woody Austin. As the two men headed to the 18th tee to settle matters, calculations were made. If Goosen were to win the playoff, he would win the week and the year. If Maggert were to emerge victorious, the week’s bauble and booty would be his, but the season-long Schwab Cup would go to Scott McCarron. The combatants parred the 18th, then birdied it a second time, to move the drama needle. Off to the 17th hole they went. After Goosen reached the green with his approach, Maggert stepped up and 2-hopped his wedge into the cup. These guys are STILL good, living under par.

How the field lost: Not enough birdies. Sounds silly, but Maggert set a high bar with 63 on opening day. It was matched, by Miguel Angel Jimenez in round 3. Maggert followed his Oakmont Miller with 65-69-66. It took a 64 from Goosen on Sunday to catch the Texan.

How Maggert won: Well, let’s call it a walk-off eagle. Unlike many other times on tour, when he didn’t have the grit to close a tournament, Maggert did not falter on this day. He birdied the 72nd hole to reach the playoff, then birdied the 74th to remain alive. With Goosen inside 10 feet for birdie, Maggert would have had a tap-in for his 3, had fate not intervened.

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Tiger Woods chooses Finau, Woodland, Reed, and….himself as his Presidents Cup picks

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Tiger Woods has named himself, Tony Finau, Gary Woodland and Patrick Reed as his captain’s picks ahead of next month’s Presidents Cup.

Both Woodland and Finau are set for their debuts at the event, while Reed will be competing in his third consecutive Presidents Cup. For Woods, it will be the 15-time major champion’s first appearance at the biennial tournament since 2013.

Speaking on the decision to pick himself as playing-captain for the event, Woods stated

“The players, they wanted me to play in the event. It’s going to be difficult, but I also have three amazing assistants in Fred (Couples), Stricks (Steve Stricker) and Zach (Johnson). So that helps a lot.”

Both Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth are big-name omissions from the team which will feature five rookies. Spieth will be missing his first team event since 2012, while Fowler has been on each U.S. team since 2014.

Speaking on the call to leave Fowler out of the side, Woods stated

“That was a tough call to make. He’s a friend of mine. We kept it short. There was no need for a long call. I’ve been on both sides I haven’t been picked. I get it. He’s obviously going to hurt not being there.”

Woods’ four picks are all higher ranked in the OWGR than any of the players of the International side, but the 43-year-old warned that statistical advantage goes out the window once play gets underway next month.

“On paper we certainly have the advantage in the world ranking. Our players have earned that by playing well around the world and playing well in big events. But when we start out on Thursday, it’s 0-0. We’ve got to go out and earn points to win the cup.”

Woods’ decision to choose himself as a player next month means that he will be the first playing captain at team events since Hale Irwin in 1994.

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