CUPS IN ABU DHABI COULD HAVE BEEN CRYSTAL
Rory and Tiger missed the cut in Abu Dhabi. It appeared the cups were quite safe this week despite claims to the contrary by these two and Nike.
Tiger actually would have made the cut but for a two-stroke penalty which he did not appear thrilled about. He can blame the penalty but expectations can't be too high. He was so rusty that he straight-out topped a drive in the first round (I also love how polite and matter-of-fact British announcers are).
There is not need to overreact. These guys will be fine and we still expect big things from both of them this year using any equipment.
Perhaps Tiger had other things on his mind.
IS IT DOWNHILL FOR TIGER?
Via the Golf.com Press Tent, it appears Tiger is putting himself back out there and canoodling with US alpine skier Lindsay Vonn [and that is not even the craziest Tiger romance rumor of the day]. Vonn is a four-time World Cup Champion and Olympic gold medalist.
Don't be fooled by her penchant for risqué photos (which a Google search will reveal). Vonn is probably the greatest American skier ever - male or female. She's hyper-competitive and speaks her mind. Not to approve of his past indiscretions, but at least Vonn seems like a personality more suited to a person like Woods.
There is the minor matter that Vonn made fun of Tiger back in 2010 in Vancouver during the Olympics after Woods' painful-to-watch 'apology' press conference. Maybe Tiger is mellowing after all. There used to be a time when if you crossed him, he would not forgive. Now he's dating his former detractors.
Fuzzy Zoeller ought to free up some upcoming weekends.
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
We may be talking about his generation this year. Russell Henley has not relaxed yet and posted 64 Thursday to be T4 and is one stroke off the lead in this weeks PGA Tour event after the first round. To continue on with the theme of the new fearless youth, the top three after round one are: Roberto Castro (2nd year on Tour), Jason Kokrak (2nd year on Tour) and James Hahn (Tour rookie). Also notable is that 20 year-old Patrick Cantlay would be tied in the lead with these three but for a double bogey on 18. Cantlay is playing on a sponsor's exemption and actually only has conditional status on the Web.com tour. Remember he shot a 60 on the big Tour at Hartford (okay, the Travelers) last year as an amateur and has a stellar amateur resume. It would not be surprising to see him earning full-time playing status somehow this year.
Keep an eye on the kids again this week. They are young and it does beg the question whether they would think of this headline as a Mark-Ruffalo-tries-to-convert-lesbian-Julianne-Moore film vehicle or a great Who album.
No Watson but there is a Bubba on the grounds in La Quinta, CA this week. Bill Clinton is looking trim and hanging around for his foundation. The tournament is now called the Humana Challenge in Partnership with the Clinton Foundation. This wins as the most unwieldy tournament name for the year. We prefer to refer to tournaments by their known names. Until Bubba keeps this up for several years, this one is "the Hope" (i.e. Bob Hope and not Monica's former dreams and wishes).
MCGINLEY EURO CAPTAIN
Paul McGinley was named European Ryder Cup Captain for 2014. McGinley was a good player with an unremarkable career (in Majors, he only made the cut two (15) more times than he missed it (13)). He is also known for being gracious enough to concede a 20-foot putt in the Ryder Cup to J.J. Henry after a streaker ran across the green - which made for one of the great Ryder Cup photos.
He can't be that well nown if you weren't sure if this picture was Paul McGinley or Ted McGinley.
The real question is whether it really matters who you select as captain. We will be looking at that statistically shortly on TheTeeSheet. There is a danger is changing how successful a team have already been. There certainly is some danger in inserting a McGinley into a successful enterprise.