Sunday, February 28 2021


Teed Off (11-10-2009)

Update: October, 11/2009 - 00:00

Teed Off


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 other end".

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 fairways away.

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 "smoke-free?"

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. VNS

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