Jun 24, 2014 | 09:59 am

Match 22

We all know this year’s Ryder Cup is at Gleneagles. Some of us know the 2016 edition will be at Hazeltine. And true RC junkies can recite the sites for 2018 (Le Golf National, Paris), 2020 (Whistling Straits) and 2024 (Bethpage Black). But no one knows where the great match will be played in 2022. That’s because the European Tour has just this week opened the bidding process. Bids will be welcomed from all nations whose players are eligible for selection to the European Team. For the 2018 matches, Germany, Holland, Portugal, and Spain all entered before France won out—expect all four of them to bid again. Turkey has expressed interest, and there are also rumblings that The Belfry (England)—site of the 1985, 1989, 1993, and 2002 matches—wants a fifth Cup. But money talks when it comes to RC site selection, so expect Donald Trump to be in there for Ireland with a bid from Doonbeg, and maybe one from Scotland, too, although there he’ll have a quandary. With his recent acquisition of Turnberry (pictured above), he now has two high-profile Scottish links courses—and no nation (or mogul) is allowed to submit more than one bid. The winner will be announced in the fall of 2015.

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Jun 23, 2014 | 11:21 am

Tiger Time

While the past weekend was mostly about the ladies—notably Michelle Wie, Lucy Li, and Stacy Lewis, all of whom put on a great show—there was big news from the men, too: the return of Tiger Woods. Last Friday, Woods used his Facebook page to announce that he’ll be playing this weekend at the Quicken Loans National event, held at Congressional CC outside Washington, D.C., and benefitting the Tiger Woods Foundation. As you might expect, there was great joy over the news, from “Tiger is back” ads on TV (the tournament will be broadcast Thursday and Friday on Golf Channel, on CBS over the weekend) to the reaction of other pros. “He is the face of golf for the last 15, 20 years and golf is a better sport and better place with Tiger Woods in it,” said Rory McIlroy, no doubt echoing the sentiments of many players (as well as their accountants and agents). But Tiger’s return also begs many questions: How will he do, how will he feel (his three-month absence was due to back pain and resulting disc surgery), when will he play again, and will he be ready for the British Open (in three weeks), PGA Championship (three weeks later), and the Ryder Cup? Speaking of the Ryder Cup, as of today, Tiger sits at 67th on the points list to automatically qualify for the U.S. team. But assuming he is healthy, does anyone think Tom Watson wouldn’t make him a captain’s pick? Would you leave him off the team? Discuss.

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Jun 20, 2014 | 06:21 am

Lucy In The Sky

Somebody other than 11-year-old Lucy Li is going to win the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2 this weekend. That was a foregone conclusion before she teed it up yesterday. But it doesn’t matter because Ms. Li, a California sixth grader and the youngest to ever qualify for the tournament, will still be a big winner thanks to a winning smile, winning giggle, some great lines to the media, and an easy-going attitude that many of her fellow pros—and all weekend warriors—should consider adopting. She shot a 78 yesterday in the first round yet still beat more than 40 players (including Jessica Korda, Natalie Gulbis, and Birdie Kim). And after it was over she said, “It was a lot of fun. I kind of struggled today, but it was great.” She also said such things as, “I got Donald Rossed,” “I learned that you’ve got to be patient,” and “I’m happy I broke 80.” Plus, she conducted her interview while eating an ice cream pop, ending it by saying that her plan for the rest of the day was to have more. So who cares what she shoots today and, if she’s lucky, over the weekend. At least for now, she gets what golf is all about: more ice cream.

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Jun 19, 2014 | 08:45 am

Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Any athlete would be proud to represent his country in the Olympics, But what if you had two countries to choose from? That was the question facing Rory McIlroy ever since golf was announced as an event in the 2016 Olympics. The sixth-ranked golfer in the world was born and raised in Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom. As an amateur he competed under the auspices of all-Ireland teams, which includes the Republic of Ireland. To understand the political and religious differences between the two countries might take longer than the 777 days left until the opening ceremonies in Brazil. But as a citizen of both countries (as is anyone born on the island of Ireland according to Irish law) he was eligible to play for either, and his choice yesterday to play for Ireland is being received well according to reaction on Twitter. “It was a decision I had put off because I didn’t want to upset or offend anyone in any way,” he said. “I have always been very proud to wear an Irish T-shirt or an Irish uniform.” The timing of McIlroy’s announcement — just two days after Northern Ireland’s Royal Portrush was confirmed as a future Open Championship venue —certainly helped tone down the potential vitriol from those dismayed by his choice.


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