The haircuts gone bad at the Presidents Cup
DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel treated themselves to some of the amenities at the Presidents Cup when a barber came to their team room to give haircuts to half the team.
The barber won 2-up.
“Louis and myself, we were guinea pigs,” Schwartzel said. “He went first and basically lost all his hair. And then I figured I just needed a little touch-up on the sides, and I ended up losing all my hair. None of the other guys volunteered to go.”
Oosthuizen sheepishly removed his cap to show what the USGA might term a “closely mown area” over the ears.
“I didn’t work out as well as we thought,” Oosthuizen said. “We ended up shaving everything off. Walking into the team room last night, the two of us, we looked like we came straight out of the Army. This morning, waking up and looking at each other, we just laughed.”
Schwartzel’s hair was even shorter.
“I didn’t even recognize Charl when I walked in the room,” Ernie Els said. “It was like, ‘What the hell happened to you?’ They don’t even cut out hair like that in the Army back in the day.”
Oosthuizen figured it would at least count toward team spirit. If it’s any consolation, most of the U.S. team got crew cuts on the Saturday night of the 1999 Ryder Cup, and then they produced the greatest comeback in history by rallying from a 10-6 deficit at The Country Club.
TIGER AND DUF: Jason Dufner figures he’s being selfish by asking to be Tiger Woods’ partner during some of the team matches at the Ryder Cup.
“He’s the greatest player in the world, maybe the greatest of all time,” Dufner said. “I can say I was his partner in the Presidents Cup.”
It would be the 10th partner Woods has had in the Presidents Cup, and 19th when adding the Ryder Cup.
Oddly enough, it was his first pairing with Woods as a pro that first taught Dufner how to handle large crowds.
Woods was the top draw at the 2009 Australian Masters at Kingston Heath, which featured record crowds and an atmosphere as big as any major championship that year. Dufner was between stops in China and Japan, and IMG provided the unheralded American a sponsor’s exemption to the Australian Masters.
They were paired in the third round — Dufner had a 71, Woods a 72. Dufner played in the group ahead of Woods on the last day — still a huge crowd as the gallery waited for Woods — and he tied for third. Woods won the tournament, his last victory before his personal life unraveled.
“That was just wall-to-wall people,” Dufner said. “He was No. 1 in the world and it was my first time playing before a crowd that big. I think I did all right.”
TOP TEACHERS: Butch Harmon, who has had two clients go to No. 1 in the world, remains No. 1 in Golf Digest’s latest survey, “50 Best Teachers.”
A panel of 1,200 leading golf instructors across the country voted Harmon the best teacher in America for the seventh time, and sixth consecutive time. The biggest move was by Sean Foley, who went from No. 35 in the previous ranking to No. 2. Foley not only has a great stable — Tiger Woods, Hunter Mahan, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood — he has reached a stage where he had to turn down a former No. 1 in Luke Donald.
Rounding out the top 10 were Jim McLean, Mike Bender, David Leadbetter, Chuck Cook, Jim Hardy, Todd Anderson, Mike Adams and Martin Hall.
Among the newcomers to the “Best 50” was Claude Harmon III (No. 34), giving the list a father-son combination. Pia Nilsson was the highest-rated female teacher at No. 17.
Golf Digest also surveyed 100 tour players and more than 600 readers. The players voted Foley at No. 1, followed by Harmon and Todd Anderson. The readers had Harmon, Foley and McLean.
The full list is available in the November issue, which was available in tablets Tuesday and stands next Tuesday.
NEXT STOP: The 50 players who earned their cards through the Web.com Tour Finals don’t have much time to start making plans for the PGA Tour season. It starts next week in California at the Frys.com Open.
Ryo Ishikawa might have been the only player at Sawgrass who already has a World Golf Championship on the horizon.
Ishikawa is eligible for the HSBC Champions in Shanghai at the end of the month — with an $8.5 million purse — based on his win last year in the Taiheiyo Masters on the Japan Golf Tour. Like other WGCs, it has no cut.
It was reminiscent of when Carlos Franco made it through the old version of Q-school in November 1998, even though he broke his putter and used his driver on the greens over the last seven holes. Franco was asked after getting his card where he could play next. His answer took a minute to digest.
The Presidents Cup.
Franco had won twice on the Japan Golf Tour that year and his world ranking was high enough to make the International team.
FOX AND THE PEACOCK: Golf Digest in its November issue has a comprehensive look at how the USGA decided to end a 20-year relationship with NBC Sports and signed a 12-year deal with Fox Sports to televise the U.S. Open and other USGA events. Fox has never televised a golf tournament in America. The deal begins in 2015.
Among some of the interesting nuggets:
— USGA president Glen Nager, in meeting with NBC and Golf Channel executives at Seminole Golf Club in the spring, mentioned how the U.S. Open used to be the most highly rated major championship.
“I told them that if you went back the ’70s and looked at TV ratings and other indicia of what makes a championship great, the U.S. Open was considered the premier major championship in golf,” Nager told the magazine. “And that if we looked at indicia today, the Masters is considered the No. 1 major in golf. I said I wanted to work with a media partner that had a proposal to elevate the U.S. Open and the other USGA championships and the USGA as a governance organization.”
— The USGA said in announcing the Fox deal that golf coverage requires “bold and unique approaches” and that Fox shared its vision for innovative ideas. The magazine reported that two hours after the press release, David Neal — a former NBC executive now at Fox — called NBC golf producer Tommy Roy to talk about coming to Fox.
— Former USGA president Sandy Tatum expressed concern about the amount of money Fox paid. The magazine said it was for $93 million a year.
“How are they going to be able to justify the money they spent without increasing the commercial clutter of the telecast?” Tatum said. “That will destroy the telecast.”
DIVOTS: Former Cincinnati Reds third baseman Chris Sabo and former Seattle Mariners pitcher Erik Hanson are among those playing the U.S. Mid-Amateur that starts Saturday at the Country Club of Birmingham. ... Thomas O’Toole, Jr. has been nominated to serve a one-year term as president of the USGA. O’Toole, who has spent the past two years as vice president, is to be formally elected Feb. 8 at the USGA’s annual meeting at Pinehurst. ... Luke List led the PGA Tour in driving distance. He failed to keep his card. ... Women’s British Open champion Stacy Lewis will represent the LPGA Tour along with Natalie Gulbis and Cristie Kerr in the Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge on Nov. 12 at Rio Secco in Las Vegas.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Ernie Els has partnered players from every continent (except Europe) in the Presidents Cup.
FINAL WORD: “That’s how you win golf tournaments. It’s not how many birdies you make, it’s not many mistakes you don’t.” — Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey.