Chris Kirk emerged from a three month slump with a two shot win over Geoff Ogilvy, Russell Henley, and Billy Horschel. Horschel had a great look to tie or potentially win it on the 18th, but chunked his 6-iron from 211 yards out, sending NLU nation straight to the whiskey.
1) I’ve had a blast with all of the ridiculous Ryder Cup speculation that has gone on the past few weeks. Most media types and talking heads on TV are literally updating who they think should get captain’s pick consideration on a hole by hole basis. Keegan birdie… TOM WATSON HAS TO BE SMILING! Bill Haas’ name is on the leaderboard… COULD HE GET A CAPTAIN’S PICK!? This would be Russell Henley’s second win of the year… DOES HE GET CONSIDERATION!? Our society has a knack for recency bias, but it reached a tipping point for me this week. The NBC broadcast team sure didn’t help the matter, and if you were playing any kind of Ryder Cup drinking game, you’re more likely to be sending drunken texts to your ex right now than you are to be reading this.
Let’s think this through, people. In 25 days, the U.S. and Europe will face off in Scotland in a three day match play event. Just because this is the last tournament before Watson makes his captains picks on Tuesday, it does not mean that (insert player)’s performance on a Monday in Boston is going to mean anything when standing over a 6 foot putt in Scotland. This shot by shot power rankings update would make a lot more sense if the automatic qualifiers were still to be determined, but that’s not what a captain’s pick is. If you’re Tom Watson, how does Kirk’s win give you ANY assurance that he’s the right guy for Gleneagles? If Horschel knocks that 6 iron from 211 yards to 8 feet and makes the eagle for the win, does that mean he should be on that jet across the pond instead of Kirk? Does his chunk mean he can’t handle the heat? We’re really going to let ONE shot make the difference in the captain’s picks? If Cam Tringale wins next week, are we going to wish he was a captain’s pick?
I’m thinking that Tom Watson is putting a LOT more thought into his picks than this roller coaster of emotion and overreaction to (very) recent results. A week ago, Hunter Mahan was the “it” guy after a really mediocre season was seemingly wiped out with a win at the Barclays. Now Chris Kirk wins the Deutsche Bank (his second top-25 finish since June 1), and he’s the sexy pick. If you like Kirk for a captain’s pick, I really hope you had him on your list on Friday afternoon as well (where he shot 73), and that you aren’t just overreacting to three hot rounds. The Ryder Cup doesn’t start for 25 days, and just 24 days ago, Kirk was shooting 74-72 to miss the cut at Valhalla. And don’t get me wrong, I like Chris Kirk! He had a fantastic start to the season, but his last few months have been very quiet.
The point is, a LOT can change between now and September 26th, just like a lot has changed between today and what happened three weeks ago. That’s what makes Watson’s job so difficult. Past performance is hardly an indicator of future results, especially when dealing with a sport as volatile as golf. It’s Watson’s job to pick the three guys that he thinks are going to help the team the most in Scotland. It not his job to look at the most recent leaderboard and start picking names from the top. A player’s recent performance should certainly be a factor, but it should not be THE deciding factor. Otherwise, that defeats the purpose of the captain’s pick, and we should just have all 12 spots go to the top 12 guys on the points standings.
2) Awesome to see Horschel back in the mix this week. He was absolutely whipping the club through the hitting zone, and was genuinely upset with shots that were more than ten feet offline (#TourSauce). Kirk hit some really (channeling my inner Johnny Miller) skanky shots coming down the stretch, but made everything he looked at (until the 18th). Horschel’s chunked 2nd shot into 18 was an absolute stomach punch for us. And to help make the point above, I would have still had a hard time putting Billy on the Ryder Cup team with a win. I think his persona fits in great with the event, but this is just his second top-10 finish since the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, and that came at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. That being said, it’s great to have you back Billy, and don’t count him out of a run at the FedEx Cup here over these next few weeks. Last year, when Horschel got hot, he stayed hot for a loooong time. Two more hot weeks could mean $10 million. Playoffs!
3) I’ll try to make this part quick, since I’ve worn out the Ryder Cup already. I think that Watson is going to take Bradley, Mahan, and Simpson. I’m not thrilled with it, but I would be hard pressed to go any other route. Those guys have experience, and as discussed on our podcast last week with Grantland’s Shane Ryan, I think that matters. They all seem to be strong chemistry guys, and they’re all in solid form. They’re the three that I trust the most. So let’s go lose 16.5-11.5!
Shot Tracker of the Week
Gary Woodland went nuclear on the front 9 on Sunday to the tune of 29 on the par 36 side.
Oil Spill of the Week (Brought to you by BP)
This was the second of back to back triples that Brendon de Jonge started his tournament with on Friday. He was able to clean the oil off the birds and drop enough of them to at least make the 36 hole cut, before missing the 54 hole cut.
Honorary Oil Spill goes to our boy Billy Horschel, who tried to hit a flop shot into the 4th green, but bladed it 40 yards over the green, only to get up and down for par:
#TourSauce of the Week
Scott Langley won this award this week before even hitting a shot:
Hope @NoLayingUp is ready for some #Toursauce with a side of crowd acknowledgement this weekend. pic.twitter.com/KcQlUOoFvm
— Scott Langley (@Scott_Langley) August 28, 2014
Adam Sarson has put together the first draft of #TourSauce GIF’s, and it is truly something to behold.
- The BMW Championship heads to Cherry Hills this week, which is going to be interesting, considering no one really has much experience on this course. Ladies and gentlemen, the FedEx Cup Playoffs!
- The Web.com Tour Playoffs are truly compelling. We’re going to try to discuss this on a podcast this week. Tune in to the coverage on Golf Channel this week if you get the chance.