with Robert Bicknell
Could the President’s Cup get any stranger than having Fred
Couples as captain for the US Team and Greg Norman as captain for the "Rest of
The World (except Europe) " team?
I don’t think there are two people more opposite anywhere on the
planet than these two guys.
Norman is the dynamic, take no prisoners, attack machine who has
all the patience of a Great White Shark watching a wounded seal limp past its
snout. That sucker is lunch before you can say "crunch".
Fred Couples, on the other hand, is so laid back that he often
forgets what he is saying, but doesn’t sweat it because he’ll remember sooner or
later and if he doesn’t, C’est la vie. Fred is mostly remembered for his
fear of telephones, having once claimed he’s "terrified someone will be on the
So, how do the teams stack up?
International squad has Retief Goosen, Ernie Els, Geoff Ogilvy,
Angel Cabrera, Y.E. Yang, Tim Clark and upcoming future star, Ryo Ishikawa.
On the US side there is Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Steve
Stricker, Stewart Cink and Lucas Glover.
If this was against the Europeans, I’d have a different opinion
because, while they respect Tiger Woods, they don’t fall on their backs and play
dead for him, but unfortunately, the International Team as a few players who
play on the US Tour and are known possums.
Ernie Els does a wonderful imitation of a possum playing dead,
but on the other hand, Angel Cabrera is probably looking for a little payback
after the US Open loss to Woods and Y.E. Yang already shattered the "Woods
Invulnerability Myth". Tim Clark doesn’t roll over either.
Personally, for the individual matches, I’d put Angel against
Woods, because I think Yang might be a little young for the re-match.
Mickelson is normally a great player who comes up short when it
really matters and when in a match play event with Tiger on the team, they seem
to kick into "show-off mode" and shoot themselves in the foot.
I have no prediction for the President’s Cup, but I will say
that I expect some big surprises throughout the event.
Speaking of surprises, US captain Fred Couples invited NBA
legend Michael Jordan to be an honorary assistant captain at the Presidents Cup
and he even got a practice round Monday at Harding Park before the week
officially got under way.
Unfortunately, Jordan was smoking his cigar during the round,
which is a big no-no because Harding Park Golf Course is a city property and
smoking is not allowed in city properties, buildings, vehicles, etc.
Yes, you read that right… "Smoking is illegal on a golf course."
Not just illegal in the clubhouse, but on the golf course itself. Hundreds of
acres of wide open space and someone worries about "second-hand smoke" three
Normally, I would say "unbelievable" at this point, but I am
actually a supporter of no-smoking areas and, as a Club Manager / Director of
Golf, I am disgusted by the amount of cigarette butts thrown carelessly on the
course by the players.
Yes, I smoke, but I have never thrown a cigarette butt on a golf
course. In fact, I tried to do it at Dragon Phoenix last week during the
tournament and found myself walking after it the moment it left my fingers. Due
to the years of conditioning, I am incapable of doing it.
Rick Blackie, GM of Van Tri, was not amused by my test of self
control. In fact, I think he might have tried to make me eat it, if I didn’t
pick it up myself. Which is the right attitude to have.
Can you imagine the screams if clubs in Viet Nam went
I’d bet you could hear them on the moon and the accompanying
letters of complaint, threats would fill a room from floor to ceiling.
Yet, courses in China have adopted this rule and only allow
smoking on tee boxes, but not anywhere else on the course. They did this not
because of health concerns, but because of the amount of cigarette butts found
on the golf course.
Look, if you smoke, that’s your concern, but at least dispose of
it properly, instead of dropping it on the course.
Pollute your lungs if you want, but keep the golf course clean.