Looking for the Next American Star

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Looking for the Next American Star

January 06, 2010
By Johnny Miller Illustrations by Alex Nabaum

No such thing as second-tier events

Trends

If there's an expression that has to go, it's "second tier" when talking about any tournament on the PGA Tour. The best example might be the Reno-Tahoe Open, which is played in August opposite the WGC event at Firestone Country Club. Sure, Reno didn't have Tiger or any top-10 player on the World Ranking last year, and it had the smallest purse on tour. But that purse was $3 million, the event was televised all four days and thousands of spectators attended. It's also in its ninth year as a tour stop.Several factors make the smaller tournaments a success. The tournament committees at Hawaii, Atlanta and Colonial have been around so long, they've tweaked everything to perfection. As for the newer events, they've copied the best things about the old tournaments. Finally, for both old and new, resources come into play. Money, volunteers and expertise mean there is no such thing as second tier.

Competition

Why has the United States won four of six Presidents Cup matches and lost five of the last six Ryder Cups? The reason, as you'll see when the Presidents Cup is played Sept. 27-30 at Royal Montreal Golf Club in Canada, is the brilliant strategy employed by U.S. team captain Jack Nicklaus, which can best be described as "Let 'em play." I think Jack realizes that micromanaging the pairings, staging pep talks and overcoaching his players -- as has happened in several losing Ryder Cups–doesn't work. It adds pressure and takes players out of their normal mind-set. Jack for the most part turns his players loose and lets them do their thing. His hands-off approach is why I think the United States will win yet again.

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