BOB WEST — USA golf flexes its youth in Ryder Cup wipeout

Published 12:24 am Wednesday, September 29, 2021

With the United States having made perhaps the most resounding statement in Ryder Cup history over the weekend at Whistling Straits, golf quickly settles back into its normal routine this week. The PGA Tour, minus its Ryder Cup assassins, tees it up at the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi.

Fallout from Whistling Straits, however, won’t go away any time soon, especially for the Euros. Beside getting run over to the tune of 19-9 in the most one-sided Ryder Cup in the modern era, the Euros were served notice that America’s young stars are likely to dominate this event for a long time.

The USA trotted out the No. 2 through No. 7 players in the Official World Golf Rankings, as well as No. 9, No. 10, No. 11, No. 13, No. 16 and No. 21. Europe suited up No. 1 Jon Rahm and just two others in the top 15, and what transpired was like an NFL team demolishing a college team.

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To spike the ball on the beatdown, Scheffler, the American’s lowest rated player at 21, birdied five of his first six holes and crushed Rahm in Sunday’s first singles match. That one even had to make the ghost of Seve Ballesteros flinch.

Meanwhile, rather than belabor the obvious, here’s some random thoughts on an event that had become ho hum by the time it reached the usually suspenseful Sunday singles competition.

Although Dustin Johnson’s 5-0-0 record, matched only by Larry Nelson in 1979 in Ryder Cup history, suggests otherwise, the big winner last weekend was arguably Bryson DeChambeau.

Embroiled in a feud with Brooks Koepka, and the target of hecklers at PGA Tour events, DeChambeau took a major step toward redemption with his play and his attitude. He became a fan favorite with his prodigious drives and even wound up sharing a hug with Koepka at the end.

DeChambeau arguably had the two most memorable shots of the competition, a 417-yard drive leading to an eagle on a par 5 and a 355-yard drive to the first green Sunday that also led to an eagle. Like they used to say in baseball, chicks dig the long ball.

Another big winner was the golf course. Whistling Straits offered spectacular views and challenges along Lake Michigan. Golfers will be knocking themselves out to travel to Wisconsin and play the Pete Dye masterpiece in the coming months.

A word of warning. Greens fee for the walking-only track is $475. The going rate for caddies is $70, with a significant tip also expected. Take it from one who played there before the fees skyrocketed, it is truly a bucket list experience. And the Straits Course is not the only terrific layout on the property.

Finally, for those who may wonder what kind of payout may have been involved for the players in a game where purses overflow, the answer is sort of a shocker. Ryder Cup competitors don’t get paid, other than expenses and a $100,000 check they must designate for charities of their choice.

Imagine that, a high profile sporting event without a pot of gold awaiting the winner.

The PGA of America also donates $100,000 for every competitor to youth development programs designed to introduce juniors to golf. In particular, that money is targeted for coaching and equipment for those without financial means to play the game.

CHIP SHOTS: Andrew Landry, who struggled to rounds of 77-77 that missed the cut in the PGA Tour’s 2021-22 season opener, hopes to bounce back this week in the Sanderson Farms Championship at Jackson, Mississippi. Also in the field is Lamar ex Dawie van der Walt who celebrated his PGA Tour card with a T21 in his first event.

Chris Stroud, who has rejoined the tour on a medical exemption, was unable to get a spot in the field.

Format for the Monday Senior 50 Plus game at Babe Zaharias was three best balls. Winning the front with even par was the team of Ron LaSalle, Rusty Hicks, Jeff Rinehart and Keith Marshall. Even also won the back for the fivesome of Keith Mullins, Dwayne Morvant, Bob Byerly, Charlie Perez and Darrell Mouille.

In the Friday 2 ball at Zaharias, the team of James Vercher, Raymond Darbonne, Eddie Delk and Perez scored a sweep. They won the front with minus 6 and the back with minus 4 . . .

Closest to the pin winners were James Johnson (No. 2), Adam Noel (No. 7), Emanuel Preston (No. 12) and Morvant (No. 15).

The Wednesday Zaharias DogFight was played in an all-points-count format. Tying for first with 18 points was the team of Kenny Robbins, Art Turner, Steve Wisenbaker and Johnson and the foursome of Cap Hollier, Darbonne, Keith Marshall and a ghost player.

Closest to the pin winners were Wisenbaker (No. 2), Earl Richard (No. 7), Morvant (No. 12) and Dillard Darbonne (No. 15).

Many area golfers knew my good friend and co-worker Larry Bodin who sadly passed away in July. Those who did know Larry, and even those of you who didn’t, should make an effort to get a copy of the latest Greater Port Arthur Magazine. PA News publisher Stephen Hemelt, as a tribute to Larry, published one of the chapters in a book Larry was working on when he died. Trust me, picking up a copy of the magazine and reading Bodin’s story on the day he met Larry Gatlin will be well worth the effort.

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