By Jim Brighters
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Here are some rantings from the world of professional golf. Sort of.
CLARKE AND THE RYDER CUP
According to several published reports, Darren Clarke has let European Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam know he would be ready to play in three weeks.
Woosnam apparently sent out a feeler earlier than last week to see if Clarke was interested and now his request has been answered.
If you look at this from a strictly golf perspective, Clarke is a no-brainer to play on the European team. He is one of their top players in the rankings (22), but he's a veteran. Clarke has been a staple on the European team since 1997 and owns a 7-7-3 record.
To make an even stronger case, word is that Woosnam is also going to peg Clarke's bud Lee Westwood for the other captain's pick. They've played together numerous times and toppled then Nos. 1 & 2 in the world Tiger Woods and David Duval in 1999, then Woods and Mickelson in 2004.
But this is no ordinary situation.
Darren Clarke has been a staple on the European team since 1997 and owns a 7-7-3 record.
Clarke has not played much competitively this year as he spent most of his time with his ailing wife Heather. She succumbed to cancer a few weeks back, and Clarke has not played since. He is tentatively considering playing in Spain the week before the Ryder Cup.
No one is any position to tell another how to grieve, and I'm certainly not doing that here. Is it too quick to bring Clarke back into competition, let alone the most intense pressure these guys face? Not for me to say, but I think it's worth discussing.
Clarke may find the whole thing cathartic and that would be great. What if he doesn't? One thing I distinctly remember from the '04 Ryder Cup in Detroit was Colin Montgomerie. He was going through a divorce and was noticeably alone. The wives and girlfriends are much more on display here with the gala dinner and the opening ceremonies. How would Clarke respond to that?
Woosnam is in a tricky spot as well. He knows that Clarke the player can immensely help his side. He also knows that Clarke may be rusty and if mentally Clarke can't give it his all, they are a man down.
The call is ultimately Clarke's. If he feels he can go five sessions and net his team points, Clarke should be a part of the team. I also feel his responsibility to his squad is to compete only if he is 100 percent there.
Again, this is a unique situation and one that I sympathize with. Clarke must figure it out right now if he can be an integral part of the European team. If not, he has to let Woosnam know that it's his time.
1.) What do you think of the U.S. team's trip to Ireland?
Love every single thing about it. Love the fact that it was players and caddies only. Love that they went to fish and drink beer. Love that Woods and Mickelson blew off their prior commitments for it. Love that Tom Lehman played his eight veterans with the four rookies in four threesomes. Love it all. They are still going to get creamed.
2.) What made Tiger Woods' victory against Stewart Cink at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational so impressive?
How about the fact that he stunk on the weekend and still won? Woods was bad on Saturday and not great on Sunday, but prevailed in a playoff. He's got this tour in his grasp like King Kong holding a blond chick. Woods is laughing at everyone right now because he knows he can kill them or hit clubhouses en route to beating them.
3.) Speaking of clubhouses, how about that ruling on Friday for Tiger?
There's dumb like trying to eat 20 soft tacos from Taco Bell like my friend Savage did in college. There's dumb like getting caught with a lady of the night like Hugh Grant while he was dating Elizabeth Hurley. Then there's dumb like ruling that the clubhouse was in bounds. How does that make sense from the most logical place? If the clubhouse should be in bounds, they'd build them on the 17th fairways. It was idiotic. When you hit a ball so far out of play that a cook picks it up while unloading angle food cake, you should lose a stroke.
4.) Tiger Woods wants drug testing in golf. Tim Finchem feels it's unnecessary. Who do you side with?
I agree with part of Woods' argument, but overall I'm with the Commish. Woods doesn't think it's a problem now, but could be in the future. That's a fine idea, but I don't think we need drug testing in golf. Quickly, who do you think could be on steroids in golf?
5.) Who do you like at the Deutsche Bank?
Adam Scott. This is a steal pick, even though Tiger will win. Scott has a great record here and is playing well.
MEN 1. Tiger Woods 2. Jim Furyk 3. Geoff Ogilvy 4. Adam Scott 5. Phil Mickelson 6. Vijay Singh 7. Retief Goosen 8. Ernie Els 9. Luke Donald 10. Stewart Cink - really played well in the weeks leading up to the Ryder Cup. Sadly, I don't think he'll make much difference come the K Club, but at least he's trying.
CHAMPIONS 1. Loren Roberts 2. Jay Haas 3. Bobby Wadkins 4. Gil Morgan 5. Brad Bryant 6. Eduardo Romero - thought he'd win more once he hit the Champions Tour, but decided to play more often on the European Senior Tour. That makes no sense to me, but then again, I didn't live in Europe most of my life. 7. Tom Kite 8. Peter Jacobsen 9. Tom Watson 10. Morris Hatalsky
WOMEN 1. Annika Sorenstam 2. Lorena Ochoa - quietly inching closer to the lady above her. 3. Karrie Webb 4. Michelle Wie 5. Cristie Kerr 6. Se Ri Pak 7. Juli Inkster 8. Mi Hyun Kim 9. Natalie Gulbis 10. Paula Creamer
Highlight of the week - Maury Povich didn't qualify for the U.S. Senior Amateur. He should stick to the time-honored tradition of informing young men whether they fathered children out of wedlock with women who hate their stinking guts instead of national championships.
If you are looking to put together golf vacations, hit www.golfvacationinsider.com. Free download of their book "Planning the Ultimate Golf Vacation" until the end of the year.
Non-golf thought of the week - Stephen Colbert is my hero. Aside from his hilarious work at the Emmys, myself and fellow golf editor Gerard Gallagher, NFL editor Tony Moss and roving editor Dan Disciullo went to a taping of "The Colbert Report" about two months ago. He made fun of my bald head. He's the best.