The world of golf needs shaking up, so how great would it be if U.S. Ryder cup captain Steve Stricker said ‘to heck with the rules, I’m leaving Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka off this year’s team.’
Unfortunately, he apparently can’t do that, so the two golf stars embroiled in a year-long childish rivalry will be wearing the same uniform and apparently cheering each other on as the Americans try to win the Cup on home soil Sept. 24 – 26 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.
DeChambeau and Koepka have both performed well enough over the past two years to accumulate enough Ryder Cup points to automatically qualify for the team, bringing into question what sort of chemistry the 12-player team will have in trying to stem the recent tide of European dominance.
Stricker says the war between the two is over. Sure, and I’m vacationing next week in Kabul.
“They assured me that the team and the country … is their (top priority),” Stricker said in a Sports Illustrated story. “They say it’s not going to be an issue, and I believe them. I trust them.”
While the U.S. has an overall 26 – 14 lead in the biennial competition, the European side has been far better recently, winning four of the past five and nine of 12.
Stricker is saddled with six automatic picks, and gets to choose six wildcards. Is it possible he could break with tradition and eschew two of the ‘automatic’ picks and choose eight wildcards?
The PGA of America probably wouldn’t give him such authority, but if he were able to send both Koepka and DeChambeau to their rooms without supper for the Ryder Cup weekend, much of the golf world would cheer.
The two have been nitpicking at each other on social media and in person in a variety of childish ways and are at the point now where they can’t be civil to each other.
How can that situation be allowed to transpire in a competition where ‘team’ plays such a pivotal role in the results?
Stricker will probably orchestrate a huge pre-event hug and have them swear that bygones are truly bygones, but it would have all the authenticity of Donald Trump and Joe Biden spending a weekend together in the Hamptons.
If a hockey coach can bench a star player for insubordination, a Ryder Cup captain should be allowed to take similar action.
It would be great if Stricker were to leave DeChambeau and Koepka at home and have them show up in 2023 in Italy with their pettiness and grudges a long forgotten thing of the past.
• Comedy writer Brad Dickson of Omaha: “To go to a Tulane football game you’re going to need to show proof of vaccination AND wear a mask. Meanwhile, Memorial Stadium in Lincoln is adding special ramps and seating so COVID patients on ventilators can attend the games.”
• Bob Molinaro of pilot online.com (Hampton, Va.): “The whittled list of new names for the Washington Football Team, according to CBS Sports, includes Armada, Brigade, Commanders, Defenders, Presidents, Redhogs and Redwolves. This is an easy one for me. I hate them all.”
• Comedy guy Torben Rolfsen of Vancouver, on potential new homes for Arizona Coyotes: “Quebec City was mentioned as a possibility, but Commissioner Gary Bettman’s office said the NHL is still at least a decade away from European expansion.”
• Patti Dawn Swansson on Twitter, commenting on a reporter’s statement that it was easy to get into and out of BMO Field in Toronto when the Argos played host to the Blue Bombers: “Well duh. The official head count was 9,866 in a 25,000-seat facility. It’s not like they were trying to squeeze 24 circus clowns into a VW Beetle.”
• Jon Nedry on Twitter, in a sarcastic reference to Major League Baseball’s new extra-inning rule: “Next year’s MLB extra innings rules: Start with three players on base, you can’t pick them off, the batter will hit off a tee, the centerfielder will be blindfolded, and only the catcher can wear a glove.”
• Sportswriter Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press, being truthful: “If someone were to give a scouting report of my (golf) game, it would probably read something like this: Good attitude. Tries hard. Zero actual talent. FORE!”
• Bob Molinaro again: “Tuesday was the 32nd anniversary of Pete Rose’s banishment from baseball for betting on games and his own team. Rose lives in Las Vegas and works for an online service that picks games for bettors. Of course he does.”
• Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg: “The Washington Football Team has narrowed its choice of new names. Sadly, the Internet poll’s chosen name, Footbally McFootballface, did not make the cut.”
• Kaseberg again: “Pfizer renamed the COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty. The only thing you can say about the name Comirnity is that it is better than the name Redskins.”
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By Bruce Penton