Blog 68, 10/4/10, Calm After the Ryder Cup Storm. Back to Reality

How amazing was that? How totally absorbing, compelling, nerve-jangling and potty break-delaying. Even if your favorite player had a putt on the 72nd hole of the PGA Championship for the Grand Slam, it could scarcely arouse the same level of anticipation and sheer excitement as yesterday's Ryder Cup singles did.

After a pretty successful first three days of predictions (I was 12 for 16), I didn't do so well in the singles, expecting another session win for the Europeans and a convincing 17-11 final scoreline. Theirs was the momentum, after all, and the support of a boystrous crowd whose record had stuck on 'Olé' early on Friday morning. Thank goodness I was wrong. Had it actually turned out so one-sided, we would have been denied two or three hours of sporting drama so exciting, so gripping it turned into the perfect antidote for the typical Monday morning feeling. This was one Monday morning you wanted to get up early for. Sure, the result wasn't what my American family and friends were hoping for, but even they were happy to admit (eventually) this final day would go down as one of the all-timers, every bit as thrilling as the final day at the Country Club in 1999 or Kiawah Island in 1991 had been, only without the happy ending.

I was surprised at how subdued Corey Pavin appeared. A pit bull/terrier/bull dog in his younger days, he was unusually reticent for the duration of the tournament. Not sure if he is just getting less competitive as he gets older, if he was influenced by his wife, the 'Captainess', or if he was reluctant to come across as the aggressive, fire-spitting Yank and get on the home crowd's wrong side.

Of course, Monty came out smelling rosey. The dubious drop he gave himself in Jakarta five years ago was forgotten (the murmurs that resulted from the controversial incident at the 2005 Indonesian Open still persist), he was able to put to one side his differences with Ian Poulter, he did the right thing in adding Jose-Maria Olazabal to his team of vice-captains, then stating Olly should be the next Europan captain (Montgomerie and Olazabal had been the two candidates for the 2010 job), and he even appeared to gain the respect, not to say affection, of many American supporters - I received many emails and comments from readers who said they would have preferred playing for someone with Monty's passion and character.

But it's impossible to quantify the effect a captain has on his team. One publication says the job is mainly ceremonial and that the incumbent has little or no effect on the outcome. Another says the captain plays a pivotal, indeed indespensible, role. I tend to agree with those that say the captain is an integral part of the team and that while a captain can't make a bad team good, he can possibly make a really good team great. The Scotsman won eight European Order of Merit titles, seven of them in a row. How can you not have respect, and want to play well, for a man like that? And if respect for one's captain really is important, then the US had better watch out two years from now, because if the popular Olazabal does get the job for Medinah, his team are really going to want to win for him.




A bit glum really

Back in Bellingham
But enough Ryder Cup already. Back to slightly less globally-significant matters like Shuksan's new twilight rates which came into effect last Friday. After 1pm during the week, you pay just $22. And it's $29 at weekends. The club will be holding a draw this winter, the prize unlimited golf in 2011 (depending on your circumstances, that could be as many as 100 free rounds of golf!). Tickets are $5, and the winner will be announced on New Year's Eve (contact the club for details). If you don't win free golf for a year, you can at least get one free round now by spending $100 in the pro shop. The ever-popular Ball-Buster tournament is this Sunday. If you've never played in this fun event, I urge you to sign up. Holes are cut in some dastardly places and the course plays its full length. You even go cross-country at times (starting on a tee of one hole and ending on a green of another).

At Lake Padden, Jay Tinker (Gross 78), and Neil Goit (Net 66) were the winners of the Pro Graphics Challenge in which three holes from each of the summer's six major tournaments counted toward a player's final 18-hole score. The next mens club tournament is the 3-Ring Circus on the 16th when pairs will play six holes of better-ball, six of scramble and six of Chapman.

WWU's Xavier Dailly and Brian Barhanovich were named the Great Northwest Athletics Conference co-players of the week for September 24th - October 1st. Dailly won the St Martin's Invitational in Olympia with a 54-hole total of seven-under-par 206, while Barhanovich was co-medalist at last week's Viking Invitational played at Bellingham Golf and Country Club. As a result of that stellar performance, Barhanovich got a call-up for this week's tournament in Arizona - the Grand Canyon University Fall Classic being played at Estrella Mountain. After two rounds, the junior from Everett was tied for sixth with rounds of 67 and 76. Dylan Goodwin started with a nine-under 63 but followed it with a 77 in bad weather (there was a 45-minute delay for thunder) to drop into second place. Dailly was T8 on 144, Sandy Vaughn was T17 on 149, and Sam Ayotte, who finished third as an individual at the Viking Invitational, also earning a spot on the team, was tied for 21st on 150.
UPDATE 10/6/10: Western won the tournament by 20 shots on level-par 864 (the team's second win in three events this season), with Dylan Goodwin taking medalist honors with a final-round 70 and 54-hole total of six-under 210.

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