Corey Pavin’s rough Ryder Cup start

I’m a golf fan, and have always liked Corey Pavin. He’s been easy to root for. He’s a pro golfer to whom the casual golfer can relate. He’s small, his swing is quirky, he hits the ball about as far as the rest of us, and aside from his unnerving resemblance to Howie Mandel, he’s not a Hollywood-type guy.

If not for his out-of-this world short-game, and wits, skills that have won him a U.S. Open champion and a wonderful living as a professional golfer, we’d call him average. Like most of us.

That’s why it’s been annoying to witness his recent power trip.

Pavin is captain of this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team, a grand appointment and solemn responsibility to be sure. We’ve arrived at that point where in addition to the eight automatic qualifiers, four “captain’s picks” will round-out the team. One of those potential picks is Tiger Woods. Woods miserable year has left him on the outside of the Ryder Cup team looking in – and looking for help.

Pavin had an opportunity at the last major of the year, the PGA, to end any speculation as to Wood’s status. Instead, he landed in the middle of a kerfuffle with CBS soft-pitch journo Jim Gray. He’s since been visible denying Tiger should be granted any special dispensation or preference – suggesting it would be unfair to other possible picks. I may have seen him stroking his chin in one interview, conveying his deep thought and introspection about the matter. Tough, gut-wrenching choices, these Ryder Cup picks, especially a Woods selection, given Tiger’s recent struggles.

Unless it’s really not.

His European counterpart, Colin Montgomery, upstaged Pavin at the PGA by suggesting the question of Wood’s selection to be a no-brainer; that he’d select Woods in a second.
I’m not a fan of Tiger Woods, but Montgomery’s right. There’s no deep thinking necessary here. There are no golfers to be disrespected. Despite his problems, Woods remains the world’s number one player. He’s won more tournaments, matches, majors – pick your category – than the rest of the Ryder Cup team combined. Plus he’s the ultimate gamer, well-suited for Ryder Cup competition. He’s earned the pick. Ten times over.

Pavin should drop the act and add Woods to the team. He’s looked foolish by pretending there’s really a decision to be made. There’s not.

Montgomery, in a mess of his own making back home not unlike Woods’, is usually the butt of the joke in golfing circles. In this case, he’s already one-upped his U.S. counterpart, and has the look of the cat that just ate the canary. If Pavin’s team loses this fall, in Wales, we can point back to the time where it all started to go wrong.
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