Let’s just start with how great last week’s tournament was. What an unbelievable weekend Chris Kirk had in a massive come from behind win. After an opening round +2 73, Kirk fired rounds of 66, 64, 66! The last two came with playing world #1 Rory McIlroy. After matching Rory’s 64 on Sunday, it looked like he was poised for another come from behind victory similar to the WGC Bridgestone Invitational a couple of weeks ago. However, on Monday he was outplayed by Chris Kirk. After missing an 8-foot putt for birdie on the par 5 18th hole, Kirk left the door open for Billy Horschel to tie and force a playoff. Horschel standing in the fairway watching knew exactly what he needed, and had an iron in hand trying to reach the green in two. Unexpectedly and inexplicably chunked his iron into the hazard, handing the trophy to Chris Kirk. Although playing the weekend in -12, it’s hard to complain about the outcome.
TOM WATSON’S PICKS
On Tuesday night in the same studio that Saturday Night Live is filmed in Captain Tom Watson finalized the US Ryder Cup team with his three picks: Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan, and Webb Simpson. All three of them have Ryder Cup experience under their belts, which is probably what Watson was looking for considering there are already three rookies on the team this year. However neither Bradley or Simpson have had a season that is up to their caliber and would be considered disappointments had they not made the team this year. Had Kirk made that putt on 18 I think it would have made Watson’s decision a little more difficult when it came to picking Webb Simpson. Despite Ryder Cup experience and winning a US open a couple years ago at the Olympic Club I would have preferred to see someone else picked. Those with Ryder Cup experience have pretty much all been negative with Europe taking 7 of the last 9 Ryder Cups, with American wins coming in 1999 and 2008. So I personally would have liked to see some new blood on the team without that losing experience. Hopefully that will serve as motivation this in which the Europeans are a rare favorite to win, having four of the top five players in the world on their team. The other guy in the top five is Adam Scott the Australian who is obviously not on either squad.
PAUL MCGINLEY’S PICKS
Captain McGinley probably had several more players to choose from when it came to his three picks. His first pick was Ian Poulter whose lackluster year has largely been due to several injuries earlier in the year, but was an obvious pick considering his heroics at Medinah. He birdied the last 5 holes in the Saturday fourball matches to give Europe hope and a chance going into the Sunday singles matches. His next pick was perhaps a little bit questionable in Lee Westwood. Westwood has not played good golf all year and finished outside the top 100 and didn’t even make it into the field at TPC Boston last week. However, he is a Ryder Cup veteran having played everyone since 1997, making this his 9th appearance. His last pick was Stephan Gallacher who could have played his way onto the team and not needed a pick with a top two finish in Italy. Gallacher gave it a valiant run missing out on a tied for second by one stroke. The Scotsman has great history at Gleneagles and the Scottish fans will surely be out in droves to see their fellow countryman in his Ryder Cup debut.
THE BMW CHAMPIONSHIP
This years venue is Cherry Hills Country Club outside of Denver where the altitude will play a huge factor. The 70 players that made the field have $10 million reasons to play well and finish in the top 30 for next weeks Tour Championship at East Lake. This will be an exciting event to watch for fans. The altitude will mean each shot will go about 10-15% farther than normal, so those 320 yard drives will be going 350+ which is ridiculous. In the pro-am today Rory hit a 3-wood 370 yards, a 3-WOOD! He hit 3-wood 8-iron into a 546 yard par 5. Despite not winning Rory still finds himself number 2 in the Fedex Cup points standings and is making it a point to win the Fedex Cup this year so expect his name up at the top of the leader board. I also look to see a resurgent Geoff Ogilvy to have a big week. He won an opposite field event to the Bridgestone in Reno a couple weeks ago in Reno in similar altitude. That win propelled him into the top 125 to make the playoffs, and a hot putter has him currently sitting 24th in the Fedex Cup standings. Despite the players hitting the ball miles in the thin Colorado air, I don’t expect the players to go all that low, as this is really their first look at the course. There are several players with experience at the course though, Phil Mickelson won the 1990 US Amateur at Cherry Hills, and Jordan Spieth played in the US Amateur there in 2012. This week my pick is Rickie Fowler. He has played well all summer and it would seem only fitting if he capped it off with a win here. Winning score, -12.