Not to take anything away from Hadley, who had a nice season that was highlighted by a win at the Puerto Rico Open, but there weren't any serious challengers. European Ryder Cup team member Victor Dubuisson and Brooks Koepka could have given the 27-year-old Hadley more of a run, but both are just special temporary members of the tour and combined to play in 28 events -- one fewer than Hadley.
Those three players were the only golfers nominated for the award by the PGA Tour, which nominated five players for player of the year for some reason. Hadley's victory, plus his four top 10s and a rookie-best (Dubuisson and Koepka were ineligible) 49th-place in the FedEx Cup standings put him over the top.
But things really fell off in the rookie ranks after that trio. Only one other rookie, Brice Garnett, who finished 121st in the FedEx Cup standings, even advanced to the Playoffs.
So, that's four of the 16 players who qualified as rookies -- essentially, a player's first year on the PGA Tour playing at least 10 events for finishing in the top 125 on the FedEx Cup or official money list -- who retained their tour cards for the 2014-15 season. Another two, Hudson Swafford and Tyrone Van Aswegen, kept their cards through the Web.com Tour Finals.
The 16 rookies combined for 16 top 10s (Will Wilcox was the only player other than Hadley, Dubuisson and Koepka to have more than one top 10) and just eight top fives. Outside of that top trio, the other 13 rookies only had three top fives and seven top 10s.
So of the group, Hadley had the best PGA Tour season, Dubuisson looks like the best player and Koepka, who finished T-4 at the U.S. Open, probably has the best chance of being on the next U.S. Ryder Cup team. Apart from that? Well, better luck next year.
Missing Links: U.S. cause a 'mess'...and thanks to Mickelson more people know it,' and McIlroy now a comfortable No. 1
Phil Mickelson’s post-Ryder Cup tirade could be what the U.S. needs, James Corrigan of the Telegraph writes. “For now they lambast, pillory and accuse Phil Mickelson of disrespect, disloyalty and even treachery The US Ryder Cup cause is in a bigger mess than it has ever been and thanks to Mickelson more people know about it.”
(Getty Images photo)
The manner in which the PGA of America selects its Ryder Cup captain is flawed, Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press writes. “It’s hard to say which is more dreadful. That [PGA president Ted Bishop] would connect [Tom] Watson’s playing record in Scotland with his ability to lead players half his age? Or that the PGA of America alone decides to should be captain?”
“As Rory McIlroy returned to the feared Angus links where he first announced his talent to the sporting public at large seven years ago, Jack Nicklaus was hailing his Ryder Cup performance as the proof that he is finally enjoying being the world No 1,” Corrigan writes in the Telegraph.
The “draft Azinger” movement is gaining momentum, as Mark Cannizarro of the New York Post indicates in this column that also defends Phil Mickelson for his controversial comments. “Mickelson had the guts to step up and say something,” Azinger said. “Mickelson is a winner and he sees the bigger picture. I see Mickelson as the instigator of what is hopefully going to be a real effort by the PGA of America to fix what’s wrong. I believe that we’re only an eyelash away from winning these matches.”
“By the time the next Ryder Cup comes along, [Ian] Poulter will be in his forties and seriously good young Europeans like Joost Luiten will be ready for promotion by then. Without a return to form, there will be no guarantee of a wild card as there was this time. It’s fair to say he’s at a crossroads in his career,” Derek Lawrenson of the Daily Mail writes in this look at the Ryder Cup futures of Poulter and Lee Westwood.
@golfguitarist: I struggle with early extension on the downswing. Are weak glutes and hamstrings the culprit?
A: Early extension, which means a loss of the golf posture you created at address, is often thought to be caused by a lack of strength in the glutes, hips and hamstrings. But believe it or not, many amateurs early extend, because it's a power generator. You instinctively thrust your body mass at the ball to try and hit it harder. Exercises such as Romanian deadlifts and squats can help correct the problem if there is a physical issue, but you might achieve better results if you focus on your trunk rotation when you swing. If you're right-handed, make practice swings where your left shoulder dips lower than the right during the backswing and then the right shoulder dips lower than the left during the downswing. It's nearly impossible to do either if your pelvis incorrectly moves toward the ball at the same time.
@quinlan61: Is there anywhere I can find a 15-minute home workout featuring dumbbells and kettlebells?
A: There are several kettlebell workouts that can be found with a simple Google search, but before you start clicking, I would consider alternatives. Many trainers will tell you kettlebells are bad for golfers, because exercises such as the Turkish get-up put too much stress on the wrists. The golf swing already puts the wrists under a great deal of stress so why compound the problem? Kettlebell swings, another staple exercise, also are dangerous. Not only do you risk smashing into your legs with a heavy weight, you also put your lower back under unnecessary stress. About the only kettlebell exercise that I like for golfers is the bottoms-up press. If you want a quick workout for golf, try my 20-in-20 or the advance 20-in-20. Check out the first version here. This workout does include dumbbells.
@lacrackson: Any suggestions for stretches and core drills?
A: That's a pretty broad question! Not sure exactly what you're looking for, but let's start with the notion that if you're looking to improve your range of motion, you need to strengthen muscles first. Golf Digest fitness advisor Ben Shear (@ben_shear) is one of many fitness experts who believe that you need to first be stable in order to tap into your natural range of motion.
Without stability, your brain won't let you be mobile. It's a safety mechanism we all have. It's good that you are focused on the core, but keep in mind it's a group of muscles on the front, back and sides of the body. Most people think of the core as just the abdomen muscles. Here are four good core exercises provided by Mark Verstegen and Greg Rose.
Allied Capital & Development of South Florida made the announcement through a press release on Tuesday. The Woods Jupiter: Sports and Dining Club (doesn't really flow off the tongue, does it?) will be coming to Harbourside Place, the name of Jupiter, Fl.'s new downtown development, as early as the first quarter of 2015.
The Woods Jupiter: Sports and Dining Club, or TWJS&DC for short, is still being planned, but the original design had indoor/outdoor seating and a 5,900 square foot layout -- about the size of an average green on a PGA Tour course.
Tiger cooking with celebrity chef Bobby Flay in 2006.
"I've been watching Harbourside Place's development since it broke ground more than two years ago, and know that it is the perfect location for my sports and dining club," Woods said. "I look forward to enjoying my restaurant as much as I hope the public will."
And how does the new restauranteur picture his first venture into food?
"I envision a place where people can meet friends, watch sports on TV and enjoy a great meal," Woods said. "I wanted to build it locally where I live and where it could help support the community."
No word on the menu yet, but we're not expecting it to be overly complicated like the restaurant's name. At the champions dinner before the 1998 Masters, Woods famously served cheeseburgers and milkshakes.
Mickelson National Golf Club of Canada is his latest design project, in rolling terrain west of the city of Calgary and scheduled to open in 2017.
The project began seven years ago and was to be a Johnny Miller design, when a downturn in the economy put the project on hold.
“When we kickstarted it again, I thought, ‘If I can be associated with one individual or brand, who would it be?’” Barry Ehlert, managing partner of the Windmill Golf Group, said. “Phil Mickelson was the first name to come to mind, not just for his design work, but what he brings to golf. He was my first call.
“What you see on television with Phil is what you get. Everybody likes Phil. That’s how he came across when we met face to face. It was a friendly, engaging, easy conversation to have with him. After quite a long time getting to know them and them getting to know us, it seemed like a perfect fit for both of us.”
The course originally was going to be known as Copithorne Club, named for the original landowners of the property. But people had trouble spelling Copithorne, Ehlert said, which made it problematic on the branding front.
“We thought it would be much easier having a name that people could find,” Ehlert said. “We were talking to Phil’s team and said, ‘what if he was Phil’s name associated with it?’ They contemplated it and agreed to it. We believe there will only be one Mickelson National in Canada.” Or likely anywhere else, for that matter.
The course will be built in anticipation of the Canadian Open being played there one day. “We’d love to do that,” Ehlert said. “Calgary has never had a PGA Tour event. The Canadian Open has never been to Calgary. But we know Calgary would support it. Probably all of Albert would support it.”
Mickelson has not yet seen the property — the course layout shown above, measuring nearly 8,000 yards (the altitude is 3,500 to 4,000 feet), loosely follows the original routing — but is expected to travel to Calgary in the next month to get his first look. Meanwhile, his design team has visited the property on a couple of occasions.
“We’re not set on 8,000 yards,” Ehlert said. “When Phil gets on site, cit ould end up being 7,600 yards. The original routing ended up being almost 8,000 yards. But whether it’s 7,600, 7,700 or 7.800 yards, whatever it is, first and foremost it will be a course that the members play every day.”
Mickelson Design includes Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., a renovation of the North Course at Torrey Pines, and two courses in China.
Seriously, with all the talk about "going in a different direction" at the next Ryder Cup, we'll throw our resume into the mix (four-handicap at golf, scratch at ping-pong, and an 8-time major attendee). But while the PGA of America ponders this important decision, let's get caught up on a busy week.
Team Europe: These guys are awesome. From big-time shots to clutch putts (doesn't it seem like they make EVERYTHING?), the Europeans extended their remarkable run at the Ryder Cup, drubbing the U.S. for their eighth win in 10 tries. As usual, their success was based on play by stars like Justin Rose (how many birdies did he make last week? 100?) and Rory McIlroy (poor Rickie Fowler), but also by unheralded players. Jamie Donaldson went 3-1 and clinched the cup with "the shot of his life." He then gave this drunk interview the next morning while wearing a yellow hoodie.
Again, these guys are awesome.
Paul McGinley: No big-time resume? No problem. McGinley became the latest non-major winner to lead Europe to victory in golf's major team event. We're under the belief that the role of Ryder Cup captain is usually overblown, but it's hard to say that both team leaders didn't play critical roles this year.
Ryder Cup rookies: It wasn't all bad for the U.S., which may have found a juggernaut pairing for the future in Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth. The duo went 2-0-1 together and Reed also won his singles match, while alienating the entire European continent. And Jimmy Walker went 1-1-3, meaning the three first-timers were the three leading point earners for the Americans.
Ryder Cup press conferences: The most exciting parts of the week at Gleneagles came in the media center. First, you had Phil Mickelson tweaking Team Europe with the "we don't litigate against each other" line. Then you had Sergio Garcia responding to Nick Faldo's claims he was "useless" in 2008. And, of course, there was Mickelson singing the praises of Paul Azinger in front of Tom Watson on Sunday, leading to the most awkward press conference in history. Say what you will about Phil's timing, but he gave everyone something to talk about other than another U.S. loss, and his thoughts could end up helping the U.S. turn things around for next time.
Team USA: Tom Watson took a lot of heat, the bottom line is outside of the rookies, no one played particularly well. Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson combined to go 2-11-1. Tough to win when your top guns -- Furyk, Watson and Kuchar were the lone three Americans ranked in the top 10 of the OWGR coming into the week -- aren't contributing.
Tom Watson: While the European players constantly sung the praises of Paul McGinley, the only times it seemed like the U.S. players were talking about their captain was when they were discussing why they weren't playing. Watson's old-school approach may have worked in an earlier era, but his players -- most noticeably, Mickelson -- didn't seem to appreciate the lack of communication in the decision-making process.
Radio interviews from the car: An Australian golf analyst was driving while giving his thoughts on the Ryder Cup. It did not end well. Fortunately, a Mercedes was the only thing that got hurt.
Gambling in airports: I was so excited to see a casino in the Amsterdam airport during a layover. As I walked out less than five minutes later after a blackjack beatdown, I wasn't as excited. Airport rules were that the dealer wins on a push, so it probably wasn't the wisest choice to gamble there. Hey, at least I didn't have to worry about exchanging any foreign currency when I got back.
There is NO PGA Tour event this week. Take a deep breath and relax, we've finally entered the off-season!
Random tournament fact: Don't get too comfortable. The new season begins next week.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Sergio Garcia will invite Nick Faldo to his wedding: 1 million-to-1 odds
-- Tom Watson will captain the U.S. again: 10 million-to-1 odds
-- The U.S. will use some sort of "pod" system in 2016: LOCK
WHO WORE IT BETTER?
Bubba and Rickie? Or Rory?
In related news, Rory is ripped. The guy looks just like the mannequins in the merchandise shop, which for some reason had been stripped down by Sunday. . .
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
MJ with MAJ. Need we say more?
WAG PHOTO OF THE WEEK
WAGs were all over the Ryder Cup last week. Here, Dowd Simpson comforts her husband, Webb, after his ugly loss on Friday at the Ryder Cup. Either that, or she was offering her condolences on him having to wear that sweater.
NON-RYDER CUP PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Last week, I put photos, OK, a lot of photos in this column of the Back9Network's new female on-air talent, including the infamous Miss Teen South Carolina from 2007. Well, on-air male talent, Shane Bacon, responded with this.
See? We aim to please both our male and female readers.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"All this winning isn't good for my health." -- Rory "Jaeger" McIlroy as he sipped celebratory champagne.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
This comes courtesy of "The Guardians of the Ryder Cup," a group that comes up with player theme songs for Team Europe and was front and center on the first tee at Gleneagles leading the crowd in a singalong all week. There were so many good ones (we ranked the top 5), but this is the best. "Bjorn Beat The USA"? Classic.
NON-RYDER CUP VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
How about a 17-year-old striking a walk-off albatross? At Pebble Beach? With Lee Janzen as a partner? Future Stanford golfer Christopher Meyers did just that on Sunday, holing a 4-iron from 204 yards on Pebble's famed 18th to win the pro-junior portion of the Nature Valley First Tee Open. Amazing.
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
OMG this is really happening?!!! We're very excited for the couple, but did they have to announce the news of the week year while we were flying over the Atlantic Ocean? Thanks a lot, guys.
THIS WEEK IN LINDSEY VONN MAKING US LOOK BAD WITH HER TRAINING
Lindsey simply captioned this one, "#pullups." #showoff
THIS AND THAT
Apparently, Paul McGinley had control over European Tour tee times leading up to the Ryder Cup. This guy thought of everything! . . . On the Champions Tour, John Cook won the individual portion of the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. He did not have a walk-off albatross. . . . Padraig Harrington said he is "less keen" for the European Ryder Cup captain job in 2016. Hmm. Does he want to captain for the U.S.? Unfortunately, I found out that whole staying at a Holiday Inn Express thing doesn't work when it comes to playing the bagpipes. But you can't question my effort!
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Could a combined USA/World Team beat Team Europe?
Has Scotland voted yet on opening up a Chili's?
Is Michael Jordan an American golf curse?