The WGC-Match Play did little to ease Padraig Harrington's selection problems for the Ryder Cup in September, while Bubba Watson delivers a perfect dig at Patrick Reed. Barry Plummer wraps up the week's talking points
Hello. Welcome to another edition of The Slam. Barry here, filling in for Alex who is probably cleaning his golf clubs in preparation for Monday’s big reopening in England. After a truly entertaining week at the Match Play, it’s difficult not to get excited – or nostalgic – about the Ryder Cup. Here are the week’s talking points, including a couple of aces, Bubba Watson’s hilarious Patrick Reed jibe, and the return of an LPGA legend…
Let’s hear it for the (old) boys
Who would be a Ryder Cup captain, eh? The WGC-Match Play has given Padraig Harrington an almighty selection headache.
The Team Europe talent pool is packed with superstars who will fancy their chances of making the squad in September, and you wouldn’t be alone if you thought the Ryder Cup was done for the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, and Sergio Garcia. The former has been in some of the form of his life in recent weeks, while the other two put on an impressive show in Austin.
A resurgent Westwood, back in the world’s top 20 thanks to back-to-back runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour, saw his Match Play chances ended in the most ridiculous fashion by Garcia, who topped what seemed to be a Ryder Cup audition group that also included Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Wallace.
Garcia was KO’d by young Whistling Straits hopeful Victor Perez, who was Europe’s last man standing before running out of steam in the semi-finals, but the Spaniard – Europe’s leading points scorer in the Ryder Cup – demonstrated a level of match play doggedness and experience that proved he is more than capable of extending that record.
Poulter, meanwhile, was one of just two players to win all three group matches, with those familiar drained long putts bringing back memories of classic moments from the Postman down the years. Who would bet against seeing that fist pump in the blue of Team Europe just one more time?
Harrington will undoubtedly need a number of experienced heads. At this rate, it’s going to be harder to leave them out.
Anything you can do I can do better
When you are vying for a Ryder Cup spot, it is important to keep pace with the competition. Just hours after that incredible ace from Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood joined the fun.
The question is: who did it better?
Burn, Bubba, burn
It seems Bubba Watson doesn’t share that sentiment…
We’ll let you decide if it was in jest or if there was an element of truth in it. Either way Reed is going to need some cream for that burn.
DJ’s unwelcome request
Even if you are World No 1 you are never to good for a ticking off.
During their group match against Kevin Na, Dustin Johnson lipped out a birdie putt and subsequently scooped up his ball, which was a matter of centimetres from the hole.
Na called Johnson over and explained that he hadn’t conceded the putt, but instead of claiming the hole they would call it a half and move on. Largely respectful all round.
But then it gets tricky – because you’re not actually allowed to retroactively concede a putt.
So shout out to Golf.com, who reached out to Gary Young, the PGA Tour’s vice president of rules and competitions, for an explanation. The reason no penalties were dished out? Johnson claims he heard Na concede the putt.
And, thankfully, golf is a game of integrity.
To whole discussion ended up being moot after young Scot MacIntyre delivered a killer blow on the 18th when he did this to essentially knock both out of the tournament…
It was a painfully slow final day in Austin – and Colin Montgomerie was among those getting the social shots in – but in the end it was Billy Horschel who got over the line with a 2&1 win over Scottie Scheffler in the final.
Wie West returns at the Kia Classic
How good is it to see Michelle Wie West back playing golf? The popular American played her first competitive action for almost two years at the Kia Classic, having given birth to daughter Makenna in June.
It doesn’t matter that she opened with a 9-over 81 to eventually miss the cut. The reason we watch this game is to see the very best in action. Roll on the season’s first major next week!
At the other end of the leaderboard, Inbee Park made light work of the rest of the field – eventually winning by five over Lexi Thompson.
- RELATED: What’s in Inbee Park’s winning bag?
And look what it meant to him…
And just to prove that a caddie’s work is never done…
There was another first-time winner on the European Tour, too, as Daniel van Tonder took the Kenya Savannah Classic.
Right, that’s enough from me. Enjoy your week – especially if you’re getting out to play.