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Monty did fine, though Ryder Cup system is flawed
By Jim Brighters
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Monty couldn't win.
There were five players vying for three spots on the European Ryder Cup team. Technically, there might have been six golfers for three spots, after Colin Montgomerie himself floated Bernhard Langer's name out there.
Somebody's feelings were going to be hurt on Sunday. Sadly, someone's feelings were going to be hurt at an event on the other side of the pond, and that's indicative of the bigger problem.
Padraig Harrington, Edoardo Molinari and Luke Donald were tabbed for the three spots, and Paul Casey, Justin Rose and Langer weren't. Everyone but Molinari was in the field at the Barclays on the PGA Tour.
So Monty was able to get a hold of Rose before he teed off on Sunday. Had to be a fun call, but it's one that's always made.
You want real awkward, like lose your wedding ring in a strip club awkward?
Caroline Harrington got a text message saying her husband made the team. She gave the thumbs-up to Paddy's caddy who told the Irishman. His playing partner felt a little overwhelmed and ignored once Harrington received the news.
Colin Montgomerie had a tough decision to make.
Harrington's playing partner? Paul Casey.
"Caroline's a great friend," said Casey. "She would have said something to me if I had been picked. So at that point I kind of knew that I hadn't. It was about two-and-a-half hours. It was difficult."
That's just a bad confluence of events, but some are criticizing Monty's picks.
Molinari was a lock. He won on Sunday and did so with birdies at the last two holes. The Italian won twice this summer and if that doesn't get you on the team, what could?
Plus, his brother Francesco made the team on points. Seems like a pretty simple pairing to me, and to Monty.
"I don't think I have to tell you who his partner might be in the four-ball or the foursomes," joked Montgomerie.
Harrington has had a terrible year, but he won three majors in the last three years. He's played on every Ryder Cup team since 1999 and is a veteran presence on a team, with the inclusion of Edoardo Molinari, that has six rookies.
The Donald inclusion isn't hard to fathom either. He's had maybe the best summer of anyone. Donald has eight top 10s all over the world, including a win at the Madrid Masters.
Hard to argue his credentials.
The problem is, anyone can make a case for Rose or Casey as well.
Casey is the ninth-ranked player in the whole world. Rose won twice on the PGA Tour this summer at some pretty remarkable venues like Muirfield and Aronimink.
It makes very little sense to almost anyone how a top-10 player in the world can't make a team of the top 12 players on a continent.
"That's up for the committee and European Tour to sort out of which I'm a member of the committee, but we will see," said Casey.
It's a tricky situation for the European Ryder Cup committee. The U.S. team is run by the PGA of America and they don't run the PGA Tour. The European team is run by the European Tour.
The logical play is to get more of the top-ranked Europeans on the team. The realization has been made to a certain degree that the state of golf is global now. The majority of European Ryder Cuppers play the U.S. full time, so why not make the standard for team membership even more world-ranking-based?
As it stands now, the top four in the world-rankings-based points list make the team and the next five come from a European Tour-based points system. Why not at least flip that so you have the best possible team? Heck, I'd even make it six and three.
You have to give credit to guys like Peter Hanson and Ross Fisher for making the team. But my dad won't have a clue who those guys are.
This process is based on the fact that European Tour has to protect itself. If making the Ryder Cup team becomes too world-ranking oriented, than some Europeans may not play that tour at all.
It's certainly an interesting pickle. The reality is that changes are probably not forthcoming. It's definitely a nice problem to have for the European side. Woe is us, we have too much high-ranking talent to make our team.
It's a better problem than Corey Pavin will have a week from now. Only one top 10 player to choose from for Captain Corey. I think he'd take Casey and Rose. They do live in the U.S. part-time.
- I'd have gone Harrington, Molinari and Rose myself. Donald's summer love tour aside, I would have had a hard time leaving off a guy who won twice in the U.S. this summer.
- Here's how I handicap Pavin's four picks - Locks: Tiger Woods. Likely: Zach Johnson. Screwing himself badly out of an easy lock pick: Anthony Kim. Possible, but I hope not as a proud American: Stewart Cink, Lucas Glover. I'm gonna say Pavin goes Woods, Johnson, Cink and Glover, but with a big push from some Americans at the Deutsche Bank Championship, the last two are subject to change. I think they are actually ripe to be knocked off this list, so go get 'em, U.S. guys.
- The Jim Furyk disqualification at The Barclays is a stunningly bad rule. How can you disqualify a player for missing a pro-am tee time when only half of the field is even asked to participate in the pro-am in the first place? Isn't that by very definition completely unfair? Thanks for being such a good player and such a big star. We trust you to schmooze with our sponsors. Now you have to adhere to rules that half of the field doesn't. Ridiculous.
- Michelle Wie wins and now has to stop in a little bit to go back to Stanford. Tough decisions I did not have to make in my pursuit of a.) a degree and b.) millions of dollars.
- Movie moment - I tweeted this recently, but the most underrated great movie of the last 25 years is "The Insider." Russell Crowe is at his best in this movie. (No offense, "A Beautiful Mind." Tons of offense, "Gladiator.") I could watch Christopher Plummer destroy Gina Gershon verbally all day. Just a great movie in every way imaginable. Even a golf scene, so that's something.