Sep 30

Tiger Woods to open restaurant in Jupiter, Fla.

Tiger Woods found a tougher business than golf-course design: owning a restaurant. 

A Jupiter, Fla., development called Harbourside Place and Woods jointly announced Tuesday he'll be the owner of a new restaurant opening in his adopted hometown called the The Woods Jupiter: Sports and Dining Club. The 5,900-square-foot restaurant will open in the first quarter of 2015.

“I envision a place where people can meet friends, watch sports on TV and enjoy a great meal,” Woods said in a news release. “I wanted to build it locally where I live and where it could help support the community.”

Woods has a little time on his hands to be intimiately involved in the development of the restaurant. The 14-time major winner will not compete again until his World Challenge event in Orlando in December. 


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Sep 30

Three radical suggestions to improve America’s Ryder Cup chances

You can pin the blame on whoever or whatever you want, but the fact remains the American Ryder Cup team lost its third-straight biennial match against Europe on Sunday in Scotland. That ties the longest American losing streak, matching the stretch from 2002-06 when the Europeans twice beat the U.S. by record, embarrassing 18.5-9.5 counts.

Tom Watson didn't work, with the complete picture why still to be revealed.

Three captain's picks didn't work, as two (Webb Simpson and Hunter Mahan) contributed very little to the overall effort.

Something has to change, and it seems toggling the captain and the number of guys he can hand-pick for the team may not be the answer. Let's try something else. Try on these three suggestions for size.

1. Shorten the qualifying period to just eight months: Americans qualify for the Ryder Cup team over a two-year period, earning points weighted toward events in the second year of the cycle (a smart change made by Paul Azinger). However, this approach still doesn't identify the hot hands, so to speak. Throw out the two-year cycle and shorten it from Jan. 1 the year of the competition through the end of the PGA Championship. This way, only players who have stood out when it matters most make the team on points.

2. Name a player in his late 30s captain: Until 65-year-old Tom Watson got the call, the PGA of Amerca's formula for picking Ryder Cup captains sided with modest major winners in their late 40s (Tom Lehman, Davis Love III, Corey Pavin, etc.). The PGA wants guys with an impressive-enough CV that are still somewhat in touch with their younger peers. The PGA has it wrong. Majors don't matter and don't decide if a captain will be any good at the job. Ask Paul McGinley, Colin Montgomerie or Bernard Gallacher. Instead, identify a driven, smart player who sees their best days behind them and the opportunity to mastermind a U.S. victory as their career highlight.

3. Let the players pick the captain: The European Tour has this one right. They've architected a system whereby the equiavlent of their commissioner and the last three European captains, plus one more player, pick future Ryder Cup leaders. It's a form of succession planning that carries through in who is named a vice-captain for each team. Rather than ushering in a new administration with each successive American captain, name a cabinet of guys that will work together to get this thing figured out. They can all take turns as ceremonial captain, but this group would ultimately be one unit dedicated to turning the tide. 

What would you recommend the U.S. and PGA of America do to make a stronger Ryder Cup team?


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Sep 30

Handicapping the contenders to be 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup captain

Tom Watson didn't get the job done. The Americans lost their third-consecutive Ryder Cup on Sunday in Scotland, and the defeat had many fans, including PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner and FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel, demanding 2008 captain Paul Azinger get the job again.

Azinger was the last man to guide the U.S. to a Ryder Cup win, using what he termed the Pod system to group players, build camaraderie and make matchups that ultimately took down the Nick Faldo-led European side after consecutive 18.5-9.5 embarrassments in '04 and '06.

While Azinger would probably do a splendid, if not successful, job in the role again, there are others patiently waiting in line to captain the sinking American ship. Without making another Titanic reference, let's assess the other contenders.

Steve Stricker: When Tom Watson named the Wisconsin native as an assistant captain, it originally seemed maybe Watson was extending an olive branch to Tiger Woods by putting his good buddy (and occasional putting coach) on the team in a non-playing capacity. However, maybe Watson saw something in Stricker that suggested he might make a great captain sooner than later.

David Toms: Before Tom Watson was revealed as 2014 captain, the conventional wisdom had the 2001 PGA champion slotted for the job sooner than later. Watson may have delayed that opportunity by two years, maybe four. Toms should get his day, but desperate times call for desperate measures. The LSU product wouldn't be drastic enough of a change to spur much reaction from fans or Toms' peers.

Fred Couples: Boom-Boom wouldn't be a shocking pick in one regard: He's guided the U.S. to three consecutive victories in the Presidents Cup. His tenure was a complete success, and the players love to play for him. However, the Presidents Cup is the PGA Tour's event, and, while the PGA Tour and PGA of America are getting along better than ever, a cross-pollinating captain seems unlikely.

Larry Nelson: Nelson is a three-time major champion and has been snubbed for the captain's job for two decades. However, the failure of the Watson experiment makes it all the tougher to see the PGA of America finally giving Nelson, who went 5-0-0 in the 1979 Ryder Cup, his due. 


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Sep 29

High schooler sinks two holes-in-one in a single round

Samantha Staudt hit a hole-in-one on the fifth hole of her debut round with her high school's varsity golf team. It was one of those moments she'll remember forever, something she figured she'd never repeat.

So after hitting a clean shot off the 8th hole tee at the Inniscrone Golf Club in Avondale, Pa., Staudt was confused that she didn't see the ball on the green. The thought that she'd hit a second hole-in-one never even crossed her mind, she told Philly.com. Staudt and her opponent, Avon Grove, apparently walked around looking for the ball for a bit before Grove eventually found it in the hole. A second hole-in-one, only eight holes into her varsity career. Both of the holes were par-3s.

Sep 29

17-year-old wins pro-junior at Pebble Beach with walk-off albatross

Christopher Meyers stood in the fairway at Pebble Beach's iconic par-5 18th hole, needing to get up-and-down for eagle to win the pro-junior competition at the Nature Valley First Tee Open.

With partner Lee Janzen looking on, Meyers struck a 4-iron from 204 yards. After a couple of hops, Meyers' second shot found the bottom of the cup for a walk-off, tournament-winning albatross (or double eagle, if you so wish). According to Pebble Beach officials, this is the first time an albatross has been made in a tournament at the last hole.

What makes the outcome even more amazing is that Meyers' tee shot nearly went into the Pacific Ocean, caroming off the rocks separating the golf course and water. 


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Sep 28

Phil Mickelson calls for return of Paul Azinger, or least his Pod system

Phil Mickelson knows the right man for the job of 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup captain: the man who led the American charge in 2008. 

Shortly after the Europeans clinched a third-consecutive Ryder Cup on Sunday at Gleneagles, Mickelson suggested Paul Azinger should get another crack at the job.

"We had a great formula in '08," Mickelson said on NBC's coverage. "I don’t know why we strayed. I don’t know why we don’t go back. What Zinger did was great."

Azinger guided the American team to a 16.5-11.5 win over captain Nick Faldo and the Europeans six years ago at Valhalla in Kentucky. He employed what he called a Pod system, creating three groups of four players based on personality types that bonded, practiced and played together throughout the matches. 

Whether or not Mickelson carries any weight with PGA of America leadership is unclear, but as an almost-certain future captain and five-time major champion, it would seem his words matter.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Sep 28

The suggestion from Jack Nicklaus that begat a lost Ryder Cup generation

You're angry. You're upset. You're looking for a scapegoat for the Americans' eighth loss in the last 10 Ryder Cups. Here's one: Jack Nicklaus.

In 1977, Jack Nicklaus met with the Earl of Derby, who, at the time, ran the PGA of Europe and the combined team of Great Britain and Ireland. GB&I had lost nine of the previous 10 Ryder Cups. They played to a draw in the 1969 matches at Royal Birkdale, thanks in large part to a putt Nicklaus conceded to Tony Jacklin on the final hole of the final match. It was obvious Americans would lose interest in the biennial matches if they won all the time. So Nicklaus had a suggestion: expand the GB&I team to include continental Europe.

Rory McIlroy shakes hands with Jack Nicklaus. (Getty Images)The PGA of Europe and PGA of America both loved the idea. It would inject some intrigue. Two years later, Team Europe made its Ryder Cup debut, falling to the U.S. by a 17-9 count. The 1981 matches were worse, with the U.S. winning 18½-9½. But in 1983, the Europeans nearly pulled it out, losing by a mere point. Seve Ballesteros, at the peak of his career, urged his teammates not to lament the loss but see it as proof that they could, in fact, beat the Americans.

Since 1985, the Ryder Cup has been played 15 times. With their victory on Sunday at Gleneagles, Europe has won 10 times, halving once.

How fitting, then, for the European Tour to award Nicklaus on Sunday with an honorary lifetime membership.

“Both organizations [the European Tour and PGA of Europe] would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the vision of one man who, in 1977, recommended to the President of the PGA of America and our President of the British PGA to consider widening the British and Ireland team to all of Europe," said European Tour chief executive George O'Grady on Sunday.

Nicklaus never could have imagined expanding the Ryder Cup would have flipped the matches on their head, so dramatically in favor of the Europeans.

A look down the all-time list of most Ryder Cup points won shows the importance of Europe to the matches. Bernhard Langer (from Germany), Seve (Spain), Jose Maria Olazabal (Spain) and Sergio Garcia (Spain) are all in the top seven of that list.

Despite their differences – language being the least of them – the Europeans band together every two years to wallop the Americans. They come together as a team, lifted by a singular cause.

The U.S. says they do band together, too, defeat after defeat, but the results simply don't show it. In fact, a generation – yes, a generation – of resounding losses have poisoned the American talent pool. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk – they've all been rolled by Europe so many times it's hard to imagine finding the inspiration to fight back. Mickelson may well have Stockholm Syndrome based on how he applauded Justin Rose after each successive bomb in their decisive singles match at Medinah two years ago. Woods phoned in the final hole against Francesco Molinari back then, knowing a win wasn't possible. Indifferent about the tie, he lost the hole to give the Europeans another win. Why bother.

Some 37 years after Nicklaus posited his revolutionary idea, it would be great if he, or anyone for that matter, could deliver one to benefit the United States. Let me humbly pose a pair of ideas.

PGA of America president Ted Bishop, or his successor Derek Sprague, should call 2008 captain Paul Azinger on Monday and offer him the job for 2016 at Hazeltine near Minneapolis. Apologies are in order for not celebrating what he masterminded at Valhalla. He should have the job until he loses. His "pod system" – he had players play, practice and hang out together based on personality tests – worked in the same way that nationality helps European duos gel.

Future captain's picks, be they two, three or 12, should favor inexperience. Tom Watson selected Hunter Mahan despite his crippling flub against Graeme McDowell in 2010 at Celtic Manor. Mahan's repeated goofs against Rose on Sunday was Exhibit A as to why Ryder Cup experience is a liability, not an asset, on the American team. Exhibits B, C and D are Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Walker, the three rookies who played inspired, passionate golf these last three days.

The next generation of American greats will have grown up knowing nothing but Ryder Cup defeat. They will be motivated in the way Seve Ballesteros was so infectiously. Reed and Spieth are the future, with other young players still to come.

Now we have two long years to identify a path forward, an inspired leader and to stew -- again.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.