The Loop

Let the second-guessing begin

September 30, 2010

NEWPORT, Wales -- If Corey Pavin found himself getting roasted on Wednesday for his choice in motivational speakers, Thursday's inquisition was at least pertaining to matters closer to the actual competition.

One question had to do with his sending a struggling Jeff Overton out in the morning at the expense of Jim Furyk, who won both the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup last Sunday. (Pavin's response: "He said he's been tired. He's been counting the money.")

The other had to do with burying Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in the third slot. It will mark the first time since 1999 that Woods will not be in the opening match of the Ryder Cup (save for 2008, when he missed the matches altogether).

And it wasn't just the media that was thrown off by Pavin's move. His European counterpart was expecting to see Woods either earlier or later.

"Tiger being hidden is a different move," Colin Montgomerie said.

Not that Pavin would admit to "hiding" Woods. In fact, he was reluctant to go into much detail at all about his pairings choices. When asked during the opening ceremonies why he put Woods and Stricker in the third position, Pavin deadpanned, "Because the first two slots were filled."

*-- Sam Weinman *