Golf notebook: Euro captain adds wild-card pick for '14 Ryder Cup

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

--Captain Paul McGinley of the European Ryder Cup team announced that he will have three wild-card selections to complete his team for the 2014 matches, which will be contested at Gleneagles Resort in Scotland on Sept. 26-28, 2014.
McGinley will have one more wild-card selection that his predecessor, Jose Maria Olazabal, had to fill out his 12-man squad for the matches won by the Euros last year at Medinah, near Chicago.
Tom Watson, captain of the United States team, announced in March that he was reducing his wild-card selections from four to three. The other nine spots on both teams will be determined by point standings based on tournament performance.
The Americans have one list, while four players for McGinley's team will come from the European Points List, with another five coming from the World Points List.
"I have said on a number of occasions that if something ain't broke, then don't fix it, and I think that applies to the qualification process for the European Ryder Cup team," said McGinley, whose proposed selection criteria received unanimous backing from the European Tour's Tournament Committee during a meeting at Wentworth. "You only need to look at the record books to see that we haven't done too badly of late, so I didn't see the need to make sweeping changes.
"I've kept the qualification list order the same as Olly had it for Medinah, the only difference being that I've increased the number of picks from two to three. I've done that to give myself a little bit of extra flexibility when it comes to making my selections. Hopefully this will ensure that I have the right players to face the examination paper that Gleneagles will set out next September."
The European Points List will consist of points gained by a player from all Race to Dubai tournaments during the qualification process, with one point equaling one euro.
The World Points List will be comprised by Official World Golf Ranking points gained in officially sanctioned tournaments around the world during the qualification process. The qualification system will begin at the ISPS Handa Wales Open on the European Tour at Celtic Manor Resort in Wales from Sept. 5-8, 2013.
--Even though Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia have not been together since the Players Championship, the war of words in the media between the two wouldn't go away, so it probably was inevitable that it got out of hand.
It all started when Woods, surrounded by fans and deep in trees to the left, pulled a club from his bag as Garcia was preparing to hit from the other side of the fairway on the second hole in round three of the Players at TPC Sawgrass.
Garcia claimed the reaction of the crowd to Tiger pulling a wood, rather than an iron to lay up, bothered him in his backswing as he hit the ball into the right trees, leading to a bogey.
Side-by-side replays showed that Garcia actually was still addressing the ball when the crowd reacted, and Woods was unapologetic later.
"Obviously, he doesn't know all the facts; the marshals told me he had already hit," Woods said. "I pulled the club and played my shot. Then I hear his comments afterward. Not really surprising that he's complaining about something."
Last week, on media day for the AT&T National that benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, Woods was asked if might consider contacting Garcia and bringing the feud, which has simmered for years, to an end.
Woods had a one-word answer: "No."
The next day, Garcia was speaking to the media at Wentworth in England, where he would play in the BMW PGA Championship later in the week.
Naturally, the topic came up again.
"(Woods) called me a whiner," Garcia said. "He's probably right. But that's also probably the first thing he's told you guys that's true in 15 years. I know what he's like. You guys are finding out."
The following night, Garcia was at the European Tour's annual awards dinner when he was asked about Woods again.
Steve Sands of the Golf Channel asked him on stage if he would invite Woods to dinner in two weeks during the U.S. Open at Merion.
"We will have him round every night," Garcia said. "We will serve fried chicken."
Later, Garcia issued this apology through the European Tour: "I apologize for any offense that may have been caused by my comment on stage during the European Tour Players' Awards dinner. I answered a question that was clearly made toward me as a joke with a silly remark, but in no way was the comment meant in a racist manner."
Garcia apologized again at a news conference the following day.
While Woods has made it known that he does not like Garcia, the war of words has been almost as one-sided at Tiger's domination of Sergio on the golf course, with Garcia taking most of the shots and Woods responding.
On the course, Woods has beaten Garcia head-to-head the last seven times they have played on the weekend, and Woods has gone on to win the tournament each time.
They were not paired together Sunday at the Players, but they were tied for the lead late in the final round when Garcia had a chance to get at least a little bit of redemption.
Then he hit two balls into the water at the famed island green on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass and another at No. 18, handing the title to Woods.
There were cheers from the crowd as Garcia's ball splashed down, and it will be interesting to see how the crowd greets him when he gets to the U.S. Open at Merion in two weeks.
--Josh Teater, a 34-year-old with 107 starts on the PGA Tour, shot 64-69--133, 7 under par on the Queens Course at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano, Texas, to win International Final Qualifying-America for The 142nd Open Championship.
Teater led eight qualifiers for the Open, which will be played at Muirfield on July 18-21.
"I am really looking forward to playing in my first Open Championship," said Teater, who also will be playing in his first major championship.
"You always want to get off to a quick start in these qualifiers, but I went out and bogeyed my first hole of the day. I think that may have been good for me because I was able to refocus."
The 78 players battled difficult conditions, with winds from the south at 20-25 mph, gusting to 35 mph.
Johnson Wagner and Camilo Villegas of Colombia shot identical scores of 68-66--134 to tie for second.
Wagner, who has three victories on the PGA Tour, earned his second trip to the Open Championship after missing the cut last year at Royal Lytham.
Villegas, who has won three times on the PGA Tour, will be making his fifth start in the Open Championship and 22nd overall start in a major, but his first since 2011.
Scott Brown shot 71-64--135 and tied for fourth with Brian Davis of England, who finished at 66-69.
Brown made two eagles in his second round, holing out with a pitching wedge on the par-4 fifth hole and then sinking a 20-foot putt on the par-5 10th hole.
"I'm usually not as good at qualifiers to be honest," said Brown, who earned his first PGA Tour victory this year at the Puerto Rico Open. "I am really excited to earn a spot in my first major.
"I played the World Junior Cup at St. Andrews years ago, so I have some experience playing in Scotland."
Luke Guthrie (65-71--136), Bud Cauley (70-66--136) and Sweden's Robert Karlsson (67-69--136) earned the final three spots by surviving a playoff. Each recorded a par on the first extra hole.
Andres Echavarria of Colombia shot 67-69--136, but he carded a bogey on the playoff hole and was eliminated.
Davis Love III, who has made 26 consecutive starts at the Open Championship dating to 1987, shot 70-72--142 and failed to qualify.
--The PGA of America and the PGA Tour made it clear that they were against the proposed ban of anchored putters from the time the United States Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews announced their intentions in November.
So, with the ban coming down last week, with the implementation of Rule 14-1b scheduled to take place in 2016, where do they go from here?
"It's hard for me to answer that question right now because I really haven't thought much about that," said Ted Bishop, president of the PGA of America, when asked if his organization might ignore the anchoring ban.
"I held out hope really all the way up through the week of the Players Championship that there might be some consideration given to this compromise. I hadn't thought too much about it, seriously thought about it, as being a potential real next step. But I think those are the two options: Either you follow the rule or there's potentially another set of rules created.
"I don't think I'm going out of school by making that statement. I don't see us as an association going down that road. But I think we'll sit back and wait to see what the PGA Tour does for sure."
There are those who believe Keegan Bradley winning the 2011 PGA Championship, Webb Simpson capturing the 2012 U.S. Open and Ernie Els claiming the 2012 Open Championship set the wheels in motion for the ruling, as all use belly putters.
By that line of thinking, Adam Scott sealed the deal earlier this year when he captured the Masters while using a putter anchored to his chest, completing what has been called the Anchor Slam.
Commissioner Tim Finchem, with input from the organization's Player Advisory Council and Policy Board, said during the comment phase that the PGA Tour is against the ban.
"We will now begin our process to ascertain whether the various provisions of Rule 14-1b will be implemented in our competitions and, if so, examine the process for implementation," the PGA Tour said in a statement.
"In this regard, over the next month we will engage in discussions with our Player Advisory Council and Policy Board members. We will announce our position regarding the application of Rule 14-1b to our competitions upon conclusion of our process and we will have no further comment on the matter until that time."
Adam Scott, Tim Clark, Carl Pettersson and six other players on the PGA Tour who use anchored putters have retained an attorney, Harry Manion, to represent them, indicating legal action could be possible if the PGA Tour goes along with the ban.
Stay tuned.
--Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan, who played college golf at Oklahoma State, said they will take part in the donation drive to help citizens of Moore, Okla., which was devastated by a tornado last week that killed at least 24 people.
Fowler, who played for the Cowboys from 2007-09, said he would be participating in a donation drive that started last week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
"I'm going to be matching the first $100,000 brought in by spectators," Fowler said. "I will be matching that and see if we can get the spectators involved here, and thanks for Crowne Plaza and the Crowne Plaza Invitational for giving me the opportunity to do it."
Mahan played college golf at Oklahoma State in Stillwater in 2002-03. He was selected as Big 12 Conference player of the year in both seasons after transferring from USC following his freshman year.
He said he would to make a donation through the Red Cross.
"It's a tough thing because it's so sudden," said Mahan, who lives in Colleyville, Texas, a suburb of the Dallas. "You really can't imagine ... how people's lives change so drastically and so fast, and how they lose so much in a matter of minutes."
"I think (the Red Cross) seems like the best place for it. They drop everything to go help out, and they always do a great job. People need so much right now, it's really crazy. It's crazy to think what the people are going through right now."
Several sports figures have donated to the Oklahoma Tornado Relief Fund, including Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, whose check to the Red Cross was for $1 million.

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