Presidents Cup Selections and the Fed Ex Playoffs
Captain Jay Haas a couple of days ago selected his two captain’s picks for the upcoming Presidents Cup matches that will be played in South Korea on October 8 through 11. The automatic spots are awarded to the top 10 players on the Fed Ex point list from the past PGA golf season. The United States team has dominated this competition against non-European players with a record of 10 wins with one loss and one tie. You would think that the “World” players would have a better record, because of the great success their players from Australia, South Africa, and Japan have had on the US PGA Tour. But for whatever reason the US has dominated in this similar Ryder Cup format competition. If they can play so well against equally quality players from around the world, you would think they could figure out how to beat the European team. Once you start losing, like in the Ryder Cup, you start pressing and questioning every decision. Davis Love will have his hands full getting his Ryder Cup team relaxed and focused next year in Minnesota.
Jay Haas caused in minor stir by selecting his son, Bill Haas, with his second pick, but Bill was the eleventh player on the Fed Ex point list. He has played in two other winning President’s Cup teams in 2011 and 2013. He is playing well this year and there should be no cries of nepotism with his selection. Phil Mickelson is the other captain’s pick. I personally think this is a great pick, because of the experience and leadership the Phil exudes. Phil has had an up and down year, but he you can count of him to rise to the occasion when needed. The criticism of selecting an “old guard” veteran and not going with the new up and coming rising starts like Brooks Koepka or Billy Horschel is well founded. Either Koepka or Horschel could’ve gain valuable experience in this competition, because I can see one or both on the Ryder Cup team next year. However, they were out of the top ten players at the end of the year, so I think Jay Haas made the best decision for team make-up and chemistry. I love match play head to head competition. I think the Presidents Cup will be very competitive, especially being played in South Korea. Should be fun!
The race for the Fed Ex Cup is taking a week off and then resumes with the final two events. We are now down to the final 70 players for the next event and then trimmed to 30 for the Tour final in Atlanta. Jordan Spieth has missed the first two cuts in the Fed Ex playoffs. After looking invincible for most of the summer, this is shocking. What is different? For some reason, he decided to change his irons before the first playoff event. There are supposedly only small changes between the 714 AP2 Titleist irons that he used all season to the 716 AP2 irons that he played in the first event. Speaking from experience, you can have the best team of club makers built the same set of clubs with the same shafts, head weight, grips, etc. and somehow they will perform differently. He was going to make a change for the 2016 season, so he assumed that would get a head start and get used to them early. What he found was they performed differently and he lost his feel and with it a bit of his confidence. He did switch back the next week, but they old feel didn’t come and he missed another cut. I fully expect Jordan to be back in form next week and close out a great year with a Fed Ex win. It is also possible that the new 716 AP2 irons don’t perform as well as the 714’s. Don’t be surprised if Jordan sticks with the old model for next year.
Winning the Fed Ex Cup is getting to be a major accomplishment. The first two tournaments were preliminary rounds leading up to the climax. I see Jordan, Rory, and Jason is a classic duel to the finish. This has all the workings for a great finish.