Missing Links: U.S. players 'fat and happy' and 'preening and pampered'

October 06, 2014

The U.S. has won only four of 16 Ryder Cups since the PGA Tour went to its all-exempt tour and the Scotsman pointedly suggests the reason why. "The biggest and wealthiest tour in golf is breeding a generation of fat and happy' players who, generally speaking, feel no pressing financial need to win tournaments…The conclusion is clear. For too many of Uncle Sam's preening and pampered nephews, finishing eighth every week provides a level of comfort and complacency that far outweighs greater ambition."


(Getty Images photo)

Even club pros, the rank-and-file of the PGA of America, have opinions on what went wrong for the U.S. Ryder Cup team and how to fix it in the future. "The strategy is to get at least one good driver on each team," Joe Carr, head pro of Bedrock Golf Club in Rutland, Mass., said of the alternate-shot format. "When he had [Keegan] Bradley and [Phil] Mickelson together, they couldn't hit a bull in the [butt] with a fiddle." Bill Doyle of the Worsecter (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette queried local pros there for this story.

The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is a pro-am in the manner of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, featuring celebrities, and this, James Corrigan of the Telegraph argues, is not conducive to growing the game. "In truth, these luvvie love-ins do nothing for golf's standing as a serious sport and do nothing to help the development of the game…they propagate the them and us' perception and as the R&A finally realised in accepting females after more than 250 years of discrimination, perception truly does matter."

Oliver Wilson was a European Ryder Cup player once, in 2008, and was firmly ensconced in the top 50 in the World Ranking. Then his scores went north and his career went south, and he was ranked 792nd in the world before his improbable victory Sunday in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, on the Old Course at St. Andrews, no less. "This was one of golf's greatest redemption tales ever," Alasdair Reid writes in the Telegraph.

Jack Nicklaus, Billy Casper, Johnny Miller and Ben Crenshaw were among those to win PGA Tour events there. Lee Trevino won twice there on the Champions Tour. The Silverado Resort and Spa in the heart of California wine country in Napa Valley has a rich golf history, as Marty James writes in the Napa Valley Resister, and is ready for the next chapter. The Open, the opening tournament of the PGA Tour's 2015 season, will be played there this week.