Photo spy nabs Europe’s pairings
LOUISVILLE, Ky. » Nick Faldo might want to keep his ideas close to his vest.
The European captain was in a cart in front of the 11th green yesterday at the Ryder Cup when he called Henrik Stenson over for a chat and pulled out a small notepad. Little did Faldo know, a British photographer was perched on a hill by the 12th tee. With a zoom lens, he was able to capture the notes on the paper, which appeared to be pairings.
They were only initials, but it wasn't hard to figure them out.
"SG" was next to "LW" - Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood, who have gone 4-1-1 in two previous Ryder Cups; "JR" and "IP" would be Justin Rose and Ian Poulter, who are the best of friends with similar games. "RK" and "PH" would indicate Faldo was considering matching Robert Karlsson and three-time major champion Padraig Harrington.
Stenson's initials were next to the initials of Graeme McDowell and Paul Casey.
That's assuming those were pairings he had in mind for the start of the Ryder Cup on Friday.
"We pretty much have a very clear idea of what we're going to do," Faldo said at his press conference.
But he squirmed in his seat a few minutes later when someone pointed out that a photographer caught on camera a piece of paper with what appeared to be pairings.
"It just had the lunch list," Faldo said. "It had sandwich requests for the guys, just making sure who wants tuna, who wants the beef, who wants the ham. That's all it was."
The microphone went dead when the reporter tried to follow up, letting him off the hook. But only for a short time. Another reporter pointed out that only 11 initials were on the paper (Miguel Angel Jimenez was left out).
"Put my name down, then," Faldo said.
He later said he did not mention the order those teams might play, "so some are safe." And Faldo pointed out that he could always change his mind. Whether he was referring to ham on rye or Poulter and Rose remains to be seen.
Azinger's picks criticized
still thinks the U.S. will snap its losing streak to the Europeans, but the outspoken former PGA Tour star turned commentator isn't a fan of Paul Azinger
's four captain's picks.
Miller called Azinger's selections of J.B. Holmes, Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker and Chad Campbell "OK," but would have traded Holmes for a more veteran player like Scott Verplank.
"I certainly wouldn't have gone with J.B. Holmes, I tell you that," Miller said.
Miller said he would have chosen Verplank, Rocco Mediate, Brandt Snedeker and 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson over Holmes and Campbell, but allowed his views are like arguing over favorite ice cream flavors.
Besides, for all the risk involved with picking lightly experienced players, Miller said the U.S. team's problems over the last 13 years have started at the top with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
"The great play by (Jim) Furyk, Tiger and Phil has not been there," Miller said. "It's why the U.S. has done so poorly. Those three players have really played poorly in Ryder Cup play."
The trio has a combined record of 25-37-8, though Woods will be watching this year's Cup from home while he rehabs his surgically repaired left knee. That may be a good thing in Miller's eyes.
"Without Tiger there, it surely isn't going to be easy, but if you're a gambler or a statistician, you think, 'How can Europe keep making all these putts?' " Miller said. "It's time for the U.S. If you're a betting man odds are putting is going to flip-flop in the U.S.'s direction."