Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Presidents Cup Fun in This Week's Top 10
This week's top 10 is all about the Presidents Cup, which came into its own two years ago in San Francisco when crowds embraced it like it was a Ryder Cup.
Unfortunately, whether bad microphones or no microphones, it did not seem like the Aussie crowds were as enthusiastic in the first couple of days. No doubt they were, because there were crazy things going on, including four guys dressed in suits the color of magic marker highlighters, complete with matching hats.
However, it just did not come across in the telecast. There were some shots where you could see fans going nuts and there was no sound. Then there was the rainy day. Have you ever tried to clap while holding a golf umbrella?
Nevertheless, from Tiger's comeback to Fred as a captain, here are this week's top 10.
10. Ted Forstmann, Chairman of IMG, Died of Cancer
Forstmann, who battled for control of Nabisco, as cited in Barbarians at the Gate, purchased controlling interest in IMG from Mark McCormack’s heirs after McCormack went into an unexpected coma and died in 2003. Forstmann was a long-time pro-am partner of Vijay Singh at the AT&T.
9. O-Gil-Vy, Ob-La-Da Chants
Only sports fans pumped up on too much Fosters could come up with this. Then again, maybe they transported the crowds from the 16th hole in Phoenix to Australia.
8. John Travolta
At a golf tournament? Apparently, there as a guest of Qantas Airlines and a FOG—friend of Greg. What next? Olivia Newton-John and the BeeGees?
7. Pink Panther Returns
OK, it was just Geoff Ogivly’s mustache. Ogilvy had everyone calling him Inspector Clouseau and looking for trench coats to wear and fountains to fall into.
Not to be outdone, Charl Schwartzel started a mustache of his own. Ogilvy’s took a couple weeks to grow while Schwartzel’s materialized in warp speed, like a Chia Pet. Time to make a "fune" call or get a "boump" on the head.
6. Bubba and Webb: Nervous, but Effective
The Watson/Simpson duo won three of the four matches they played as partners.
“We had a great week,” Bubba Watson said. “We putted well. He played great, and I got to ride his coattails, so I got some wins out of it. And all I know is Ryo Ishikawa can putt really good!”
“Having a chance to play with Bubba the first four matches was great,” Webb Simpson added.
5. Mickelson and Furyk: Surprising, Older-Guy Partnership That Clicked
“I think what made pairing easy with Jim was that he made a lot of birdies, and it's pretty easy to pair with a guy that does that and makes solid four-, five-footers when you need it,” Phil Mickelson said. “What we did well was when one of us wasn't sharp, we were able to kind of get them through that patch and then they turned it.”
“I have a feeling he probably asked to play with me because I felt like he could get a lot out of me,” Jim Furyk said. “We are good friends, and he's got a great leadership quality in these events, and you know, I struggled this year and he kind of took me under his wing and kind of boosted my confidence.”
Furyk was man of the match, with 21 birdies for the week, more than anyone else. He now has 20 points total in the Presidents Cup.
4. Fred Couples: Genius Captain?
Fred hates to be pushed by anybody, so he lets his players do the talking and he listens. Plus, he has Jay Haas and John Cook to ask, "What do you think?" He trusts both of them 100 percent.
Listening tip No. 1, Phil and Furyk pick each other: “He and Phil told me, which was very odd, I wasn't planning on it, on Tuesday night, that they want to play together. And they rode and rode and rode...”
Listening tip No. 2, Webb Simpson picks his partner: “I told Freddie, if he puts me with anyone else, I'm going back home.
Listening tip No. 3, from Bubba Watson: “We are jittery and want to get out there first and don't have to wait on groups in front of us or whatever.”
On extra effort by the team, Couples said: “I give the guys a lot of credit, because obviously—they came a couple weeks before this tournament, and we had a game plan to come play as a team, win as a team, and that's what we did.”
On his special technique, Couples said: “Motivation was by telling these guys they had better win. That's the motivation. I didn't want to lose.”
Not the number of clubs in the bag. The stimpmeter rating of the Royal Melbourne greens, which, let’s face it, were too fast for humans.
Everyone might have looked a little less foolish hitting shots to them or trying to putt them if they had been knocked down to a 12. They still would have been ridiculously fast and difficult, but they might have been puttable at that number. Who is to say that the speed of the greens didn’t hurt the Internationals rather than help them?
2. Tiger’s Comeback
He kept saying he was not far off, and finally in singles, Tiger Woods proved it. He danced. He fist-pumped. He got to wear a lot of red. He smiled. He gave credit to Steve Stricker, who gave him a lesson on the practice green.
“He basically was talking about ball position and releasing the toe,” Woods explained about Stricker's tip. “Thought I would just try it, and it felt good, and all of a sudden I got into my natural kind of body position, and I wasn't dragging the blade anymore. I wasn't over-releasing the blade. Just right on the line, toe was moving and it felt great.”
1. Fun, According to Mickelson, Is the Key
“The biggest thing was we had a lot of fun. Because when you have a lot of fun, you end up getting your best golf out at some point,” Mickelson said. “When I first played in my team events, we were very tight. Guys would get the directive that we need this point, this is critical, and we would play tight. You know, we wouldn't have as much fun, and we wouldn't be playing our best…As teams, we have had a lot more success, I have found, when we end up playing loose. When we end up having fun off the golf course, we end up having fun on the golf course, we end up playing better and we have had better results.”
Kathy Bissell is a Golf Writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand or from official interview materials from the USGA, PGA Tour or PGA of America.