Scott Gray Sports Commentary, Thursday, September 25th, 2014

JUST THE FIX I NEED

I have a confession to make. Until this past week I didn’t realize how serious my addiction was, but I’ve been suffering from the D.T.’s, withdrawal pains, hallucinations of Tiger Woods winning all four majors next season. I need my golf fix.

I didn’t know how bad I had it until I went through a golf void last weekend, after four weeks of the Fed Ex Cup tournament, on the heels of the final major of the season and the exciting summer of Rory McIlroy. I need it bad, baby, and starting tomorrow morning at 2:30 the Golf Channel will have it for me. Foursomes and Four Balls to get things started at the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland with the United States looking for it’s first win on foreign soil in over 20 years. The Americans are heavy underdogs as they attempt to take the Cup from the Europeans for the first time since 2008, but there are ways they can win against a stacked team that includes the best player in the world, McIlroy, and two of the best Ryder Cup competitors of all time, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter.

In a Golf Channel discussion last night Sir Nick Faldo, himself a Ryder Cup legend, said the best way for the U.S. to send an early message is to do what the Europeans always felt was the key to broadsiding the Americans, with Tiger Woods, hit them in their strongest suit, beat Tiger out of the gate. Sir Nick says the U.S. should put that kind of focus on Rory.

In one of the more intriguing ploys of Ryder Cup week, Phil Mickelson, a 10 time Ryder Cup veteran, has already fired the first salvo, and Rory was the target. In assessing the American’s readiness to play as a team, Mickelson, who’s skills may have eroded over the last year, demonstrated his brain is working just fine with a psyche-out move designed to get into the heads of the Europeans. “Not only are we able to play together”, said Mickelson, “We also don’t litigate against each other, and that’s a plus.”

It was a poke at McIlroy, who’s, involved in a legal action against his management group over, what he percieves to be, substandard marketing. McIlroy’s Ryder Cup teammate and frequent four ball partner, Graeme McDowell is handled by the same group and McDowell’s representation has been used as an example in the litigation, McDowell admitting it has led to some discomfort between the two, while European captain Paul McGinley said he may split up the successful pair, but any decision to do so would not be related to the legal dispute.

There is another factor that can also give the Americans a slight edge. The Gleneagles course was redesigned by Jack Nicklaus, who has given it a more “American-ized” feel than other European courses that have hosted Ryder Cup.

So it comes with some interesting sidebars that don’t make it a lock for the Europeans, but I don’t really care. It’s high level, high drama golf, and I need it bad, baby. Give it to me.

With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.

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