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Golf Talk: Peter Dixon: 'Who Needs Tiger Woods?'

Tuesday, 23 Sep 2008 11:44 AM

By Anthony Pioppi

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  • Peter Dixon: Ryder Cup Better Without Tiger

  • Nick Faldo Gambles — and Pays a Price

  • Golf Channel Daily Mail, Duke It Out Over Faldo

  • Ryder Cup Wives Get a Plug

  • Will MacKenzie's Amazing Win Goes Unnoticed


    Peter Dixon: Ryder Cup Better Without Tiger

    "Tiger Woods? Who needs him? Certainly not the United States team, who brought Europe's run of three Ryder Cup victories on the trot to a shuddering halt at Valhalla last night," Peter Dixon scathingly reported in an article for Times online.

    Even before the matches began, it was argued that the Americans might do better in the absence of the injured world No. 1, and it proved to be true, he wrote.

    "Playing like a team with plenty to prove, the U.S. put the finishing touches to a campaign that began when Europe handed them the initiative on the first morning and ended when Miguel Angel Jimenez conceded a putt on the 17th hole to Jim Furyk that sealed the victory for the United States by an eventual 16 1/2-11 1/2 score," wrote Dixon.

    Nick Faldo Gambles — and Pays a Price

    American Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger will be hailed as a genius for returning the trophy to American soil, but it was most likely the work of his European counterpart, Nick Faldo, who will take heavy criticism for his lineup in the Sunday's singles, that led to the U.S. victory, as James Corrigan points out in the Independent.

    "As soon as the singles match-ups were released, there were raised eyebrows as to the Europe running order," wrote Corrigan.

    Indeed, with a 9-7 overnight deficit, the visitors needed points, and needed them quickly. Yet, Faldo put what many considered to be his three premier performers out in the three last pairings.

    That meant that when Jim Furyk collected the final point needed for America to reach the 14 1/2 golden milestone, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, and Padraig Harrington were left stranded out on the course, and the results of their matches suddenly deemed irrelevant.

    "Faldo later admitted it was a gamble, but he declined to concede it was a pigheaded gamble," wrote Corrigan.

    "Curtis Strange was pilloried for making the same strategic error at the Belfry in 2002,and it seems inevitable Faldo will be, too."

    Not surprisingly, Faldo was claiming his strategy was sound.

    "We had it kind of planned. If we could just have got it down to the last four names, we knew we'd be strong down the stretch. That was the risk we took. We maybe came up one guy short."

    Azinger, for some reason, credited Tiger Woods, who apparently took time out of his busy rehab schedule to send inspiring texts to Azinger.

    "Tiger was great. He kept messaging me. I love Tiger Woods, missed him," Azinger said.

    Golf Channel, Daily Mail Duke It Out Over Faldo

    The Daily Mail fired back at The Golf Channel, where European Ryder Cup Captain Nick Faldo is an announcer, after TGC took shots at the English press for criticizing Faldo.

    According to the newspaper, "Frank Nobilo, a former European tour player, said on air that he couldn't believe the English newspapers weren't getting behind their captain, while ludicrous flag-waving presenter Rich Lerner was incandescent that the English fourth estate actually wrote what they thought about Faldo."

    The newspaper went on to report that Lerner's more acceptable fellow presenter Kelly Tilghman, said the channel were looking to show both sides of the Faldo debate, but she had no opinion herself of the situation.

    Ryder Cup Wives Get a Plug

    John Huggan, who writes for various golf publications throughout the world, had enough of the Ryder Cup in 2004 trotting out the players' wives as if they were an integral part of the event.

    After witnessing last week's repeated camera shots of the cuddling couples and fawning wives in this year's event, it's worth resurrecting Huggan's words.

    "When the female professionals of America and Europe line up for their flag-raising opening ceremonies, their various life partners are nowhere to be seen," said Huggan.

    "While that may have more to do with the fact that such a lineup would include several husbands, a couple of cute puppies, and a smattering of girlfriends, the point is that all are kept from public display. Which is how it should be at the Ryder Cup. Besides, as more than one European player has pointed out over the years, the American side all appears to be married to the same woman."

    Will MacKenzie's Win Goes Unnoticed

    With the Ryder Cup grabbing the majority of attention in the golf world, Will MacKenzie's playoff victory in the PGA Tour's Viking Classic went all but unnoticed.

    What made it ever more remarkable was MacKenzie overcame a two-shot penalty on Saturday that he called on himself.

    The infraction happened when MacKenzie took a mental nap and removed loose impediments from behind his ball that was in a hazard. Even though no one saw the infraction, MacKenzie notified a tournament official who assessed the two strokes.

    "I wasn't going to let my blunder get me down," MacKenzie said after taking hold of a check for $648,000 and climbing to 97th in the PGA Tour money list.

    On Sunday, MacKenzie had shot a 4-under-par 68 to tie Brian Gay (68) and Marc Turnesa (70) at 269 after regulation play.

    Turnesa had the title all but put away when he made a double-bogey on the par-four 17th hole to fall into the playoff that allowed MacKenzie to secure his second PGA Tour title at Annandale Golf Club.

    Gay was out of the running when he bogeyed the first extra hole, the par-four 18th. He and Turnesa made $316,800.

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