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Ryder Cup: Olazabal made the right decisions

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By Greg Moore

GolfWRX Staff

Sorry for you Padraig Harrington fans who wanted to see the three-time major champion make the European team for the Ryder Cup, but Jose Maria Olazabal made the right decisions for his team.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into why Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts were the best (and I mean logical) selections.

Colsaerts was  No. 9 in European Ryder Cup points and No. 12 in World Ryder Cup points. Poulter was No. 17 in Euro Ryder Cup points and No. 11 in World Ryder Cup points. Harrington stood No. 27 and No. 19 respectively on those points lists, and there were a lot of players ahead of him that were playing a lot better who were also left off the team.

Ian Poulter

This will be Poulter’s fourth Ryder Cup.  He was on the winning teams in 2004 and 2010 and on the losing side in 2008. His record in eleven matches is eight wins and three losses. IJP is also the winner of both of 2010 WGC – Accenture Match Play and 2011 Volvo World Match Play. In the qualifying period for Ryder Cup points, Poulter has had nine top 10s including victory in the 2011 JBWere Masters.

Who can forget just how fired up Poulter gets, not just in match play but for the Ryder Cup, his mates on the Euro team and his country.

His singles record is 3-0-0 with wins over Chris Riley 3 & 2, Steve Stricker 3 & 2 and Matt Kuchar 5 & 4.

Here’s a link to IJP’s Euro Tour page  http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/players/playerid=2133/index.html

Nicolas Colsaerts

He’s the only rookie on the European team. He is No. 9 in the point standings. His match play record is stellar as he finished runner up in 2011 at the Volvo World Match Play and he won the Volvo World Match Play Championship in May, defeating Graeme McDowell in the finals in Spain.

Link to Colsaerts Euro Tour page   http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/players/playerid=3456/index.html

This will be the first time that the European team has been made of its 12 top players in the Official World Ranking with every player inside the top 35 in the Official Golf World Rankings.

As for Harrington, he’s 48th in the OWGR. So you can argue that maybe one of the others players left off like Alvaro Quiros, Marcel Siem or David Lynn should have made the team but the numbers just didn’t add up for Harrington this year.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum. 

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Greg, a member of the PGA of America for 30 years, travels around the U.S. taking photos for GolfWRX.com on the PGA Tour, Champions Tour, Web.com Tour, LPGA Tour and Symetra Tour. He also covers collegiate and amateur golf, and is a contributing writer for GolfWRX.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. James Lythgoe

    Aug 28, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    I think Olazabal has made the best decision too. Personally, I don’t think the captains need to justify their picks, they are simply picks that the captains have the discretion to make.

    I really like ability and talent of Nicolas Colsaerts. I can only anticipate the contribution he will make to the team. He will definitely be a formidable opponent.

    I am not partisan to either side. The Ryder Cup is such a great competition that produces some of the best theatre in sport, if I am partial I am partial to watching these great golfers compete against each other. Enjoy the Ryder Cup.

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Tour News

5 things we learned on Sunday of the 2018 U.S. Open

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Opportunity knocked for so many golfers, yet it was the 2017 champion who seized the moment when it was his. Brooks Koepka fired his second sub-par round of the week on Sunday to separate from playing partner Dustin Johnson, and enter the pantheon of multiple major champions. He became the 7th player to defend his title, joining old-school legends like Willie Anderson and John McDermott, mid-century icons like Ralph Guldahl and Ben Hogan, and the last man to accomplish the feat, Curtis Strange. With that introduction, let’s move to the main event, the 5 things we learned on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills.

5) The USGA gave golf a chance

True to its word, the USGA pulled out all the stops in the wee hours of Sunday morn. The course set-up team ensured that enough water was distributed to putting surfaces, that worthy shots would not be punished. Hole locations were assessed and confirmed, also ensuring that multiple opportunities for success were available. As a result, 15 golfers turned in scores under par of 70, highlighted by Tommy Fleetwood’s 7-under stunner. Although many fans, writers and players were quick to assault the organizers for losing control of the course, the USGA reminded us that it always had control of the conditions at Shinny, and that its only mistake was to soar too close to the sun.

4) Captain America ran out of gas

If Patrick Reed had been able to sign his card on the 9th tee, when he stood 5-under on the day and 1-over for the tournament, he would be in a playoff with the eventual champion as I type. Unfortunate for this year’s Masters champion was that 10 holes remained. Reed promptly bogeyed the 9th, added 3 more bogeys on the inward half, and summoned just one birdie toward the end. His fourth-place finish was his best in a U.S. Open, but knowing that victory was in the cards will sting for a while.

3) DJ and Finau gave it a run

Where to begin? How about this: DJ had four bogeys on Sunday. He totaled that many on Thursday-Friday combined. He had birdies, too, but couldn’t find the game that possessed him over the opening 36 holes. Oddly enough, this type of experience won’t be a setback for the 2016 champion. After all, he came back from a career-killer in 2015, when he 3-whacked his way out of a playoff with Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay. As for Milton Pouhau Finau, aka Tony, the Utah native had never before been in the final group on any day of a major professional championship. He acquitted himself well, standing even on the day and 3-over for T2 at the 18th tee. Knowing that he needed eagle for a playoff might have taken the final winds from his sails, and he limped home with double bogey and solo third. Looking ahead to the final August playing of the PGA Championship, Bellerive near St. Louis might just be his type of course.

2) Tom Terrific nearly made his own U.S. Open history

I’ll write this cautiously, as I’m certain I would have intimated in the 1980s and 90s that Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood would have been major champions by now. Tommy Fleetwood ought to win one of these things soon. His record-tying 63 was a short putt away from a record-breaking 62. Eight birdies against a single bogey was the stuff of legend, and if only he had trusted that final putt a bit higher on the break … that’s not fair. Fleetwood right now is the fellow to watch at Carnoustie next month. Bet a few quid or bob or whatever on the Southport native, as he should contend for the title.

1) Brooks cooks up a winning broth

It’s easy to look back and see all the great shots that the defending champion hit over the four days of the 2018 U.S. Open, shots that would win him his second consecutive trophy. Remember that 60-feet bomb to save par on Saturday? Shades of Costantino Rocca. How about the approach shots to within mere feet that earned him 5 birdies on Sunday, including a competition-killer on 16? Koepka was the guy we thought Dustin Johnson would be. Perhaps it was the time off for wrist rehabilitation early this season that gave him the burning desire to win. Out for nearly 4 months, Koepka had plenty of time to ponder what he achieved last June in Wisconsin, and what might lay ahead for him. The begged question is, does the most recent, two-time major winner have the game to acquire more of the game’s cherished trophies?

Related: Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB from the 2018 U.S. Open

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70; 7,440 yards) in Southhampton, New York. The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock for the first time since 2004 when Retief Goosen won (he failed to qualify for the 2018 event).

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Phil Mickelson, who has two top-5 finishes at Shinnecock Hills, will seek to fill out his career Grand Slam with a win this week. Also, it’s Tiger Woods’ 10-year anniversary of winning the legendary 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — that was his most recent major championship victory.

Also in the field are headliners Dustin Johnson (now ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings), Justin Thomas (No. 2), Justin Rose (No. 3), Jon Rahm (No. 4) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5).

Brooks Koepka (No. 9) is the defending champion; he won last year by four shots for his first and only major so far in his career.

Check out our photos from Shinnecock Hills below!

Wednesday’s Galleries

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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Spotted at Shinnecock: #RVLife, superb staff bags, stellar stampings

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We’re on the famed grounds of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for the second major of the year. With the U.S. Open returned to such a visually and historically rich venue, it may be a bit tough to focus on equipment.

Nevertheless, we spotted some cool stuff, Tuesday, as the players move ever closer to the second major of th eyear.

Let’s get to the photos.

#RVLife propronent, Jason Day’s putter cover is incredible.

Michael Greller displays an essential caddie skill…

Face of Tiger’s wedge. Do these look like standard TaylorMade MG grooves to you?

Greatest side panel on a bag ever?

Who isn’t happy to see “Woods” on USGA tournament signage?

Shintaro Ban’s unique dot stamping is, well, money.

A look at the Bridgestone U.S. Open staff bag and headcovers.

Kenny Perry: Still gaming R7 irons.

Scott Gregory with some solid wedge stamping.

What is this lead taped and war torn beauty?

All our photos from Tuesday

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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