Watson throws his hat into Ryder ring


Different strokes:Not so much a blast from the past, given that he has retained a competitive instinct into his 60s and has been uninhibited by hip replacement surgery, the notion that Tom Watson could get the captaincy of the United States team for the next Ryder Cup match with Europe in 2014 isn’t exactly as far-fetched as it might first seem.

Although David Toms is the current favourite for the position, and Fred Couples has his supporters too, Watson has certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons in declaring an interest of his own in assuming the captaincy role some 21 years after he performed the task at The Belfry in 1993 in the days when USA was still engraved with regular monotony on the famed trophy. All has changed, changed utterly, since then of course.

Watson – who played in the match in 1977, ’81, ’83 and /89 – is now 63 years of age and could be exactly the type of choice from left-field that would invigorate the Americans. He is cerebral and personable. The more you think about it, he would actually be a good choice.

Could you imagine if Watson were to pit his brains and acumen against Paul McGinley at Gleneagles?

Two men with serious thought processes on how the game should be played in a battle of wills? Now, that would be something!

Watson, though, remains an outside prospect for the USA captaincy.

McGinley’s case for the European role is rather stronger, in what now looks like a straight shoot-out between the Dubliner – a three-time Ryder Cupper and winner on each occasion – and Darren Clarke for the Gleneagles captaincy. A decision on that is expected to come at the next meeting of the European Tour’s tournament committee at Abu Dhabi in January.

Gossip site has McIlroy buying in Florida

There was a time you’d be inclined to scoff more than a little at any number of the gossip sites which have popped up in the US; but, after the way in which celebrity website tmz.comblitzed many established news organs with their revelations on the Tiger Woods affair three years ago (how time flies!), you’ve got to take new “rumours” with more than a pinch of salt.

So it is that gossipextra.com– a site that covers South Florida – have put it out there that Rory McIlroy has signed a contract to buy one of the most luxurious homes in Palm Beach Gardens, claiming the world number one has come close to matching the estate agent’s asking prize of $10.9 million.

What gives the story an extra element of worthiness is that the house – complete with putting green and state-of-the-art gym – is only a stone’s throw from The Bears Club (above), a private club which features a Jack Nicklaus-designed course. McIlroy has rented a property in the area in recent years to use as a base, especially in his run-up to a crack at the Masters.

The 10,000 square feet house in question is a new-build that has six bedrooms, nine bathrooms and a deep-water dock out back to avail of its location on the intra-coastal shoreline. No mention of a tennis court, however.

In the bag

Scott Jamieson

(Nelson Mandela championship)

Driver: Nike VRS Covert Tour (10.5 degree)

Fairway: Nike VR Pro Ltd (15 degree)

Hybrid: Nike VRS (18 degree)

Irons: Nike VR Pro

Wedges: Nike VR Pro (53degree and 60 degree)

Putter: Nike Method Core Drone

Ball: Nike 20XI prototype

Footwear: Nike Lunar Control

By the Rules

Q Generally, the player’s ball must not strike the flagstick when removed from the hole (Rule 17-3). What is the ruling in the following situations:

(a) A player putts too strongly and his ball strikes the flagstick which has been removed by someone in his match or group and placed on the ground behind the hole.

(b) A player plays his second shot to the green and the ball strikes the flagstick, which had been blown down by the wind and was lying on the ground.

(c) A player, not believing he can reach the green which is occupied by the preceding match or group, plays his second shot at a par-five hole and the ball rolls onto the green and strikes the flagstick which has been removed from the hole and placed on the ground by someone in the preceding match or group.

A (a) The player incurs a penalty of loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play under Rule 17-3a.

(b) and (c) No penalty is incurred. Rule 17-3a is not applicable in either case. It applies only when the flagstick has been removed with the player’s authority or prior knowledge by someone in the player’s match or group.

Twitter Talk

“Now that was nice”

– Charl Schwartzel’s succinct reaction to a runaway win in the Thailand Open on the Asian Tour.

“Been a good week here in Bangkok . . . played better! Tough day today in the heat humidity after being sick all last night and this morning. Aussie PGA next at Coolum!!”

– Darren Clarke looking forward to this week’s challenge Down Under after a week in Thailand where he was sick and also suffered from foot blisters.

“What a finish to the game!! #RVP Dived in my pool in celebration!”

– Graeme McDowell shows he has switched off from his golfing duties by celebrating Robin Van Persie’s winner for Manchester United with an impromptu dip in his pool.

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