A lot has happened since I last wrote one of these. After a trip to Thailand to show Sam and Charlie where their grandma is from, I wanted to share a few of my thoughts on the past couple of months and how our team is shaping up for the Presidents Cup. It’s hard to believe that in a little over a month the top 8 for each team will be locked in.
I want to congratulate Nate Lashley. What an inspiring story. No one should ever have to suffer such an incredible loss, but for him to overcome all that is truly heroic. And, he won that tournament wire-to-wire. Winning is hard enough, but to lead from start to finish is always impressive.
I’m also very happy for Chez Reavie. It was 11 years between victories, and he got it done at the Travelers. He’s put himself right in the mix for a Presidents Cup spot. At No.13, he can easily become one of the top 8 by mid-August if he continues to play well.
During my time off I’ve had moments to reflect on the U.S. Open, which is always an exciting week, especially when it’s played at Pebble Beach. I’ve made so many great memories on that course, and while I wasn’t as sharp as I would have liked, Pebble continues to prove itself as a worthy venue to host the biggest tournaments in the world.
And with its traditional Sunday finish on Father’s Day, my dad was on my mind as I completed my final round. To be honest, there’s not a day that I don’t think about Pop.
RIGHT: Woodland has moved into 8th on the US standings. PHOTO: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images.
I couldn’t be happier for Gary Woodland and his family. He and his wife Gabby have endured a lot over the last couple of years, so I’m sure this one was pretty sweet. It’s been a long time coming for Gary. We both work with Excel, so he and I have gotten close over the years. He’s always had the game to win major championships, and I was glad to see him put it all together and perform under Sunday pressure.
Gary is trying to make one of the teams representing the United States for the first time, so now that he’s up to 8th in the standings I’m interested to see how he continues to play before the top 8 become official in August. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see him hit those stingers at Royal Melbourne?
What else is there to say about Brooks Koepka? Winning the PGA the way he did to almost making it three in a row at the U.S. Open is really impressive. He's doing all the little things well. If you watch his rounds, he misses the balls in the correct spots, leaving himself the easier ups-and-downs. If he misses a tee shot, it's always on the correct side. He’s found what works for him and it’s adding up over 72 holes. He’s now the leader of our standings, so it’ll be nice to have him on the team in December.
The stretch of golf we have coming up is going to be huge for those guys who are trying to make the team, myself included. It will really ramp up starting at the Open Championship and then in Memphis for the World Golf Championships before we start the FedExCup Playoffs.
RIGHT: Koepka is the leader of the US standings. PHOTO: Michael Reaves/Getty Images.
I think it’s never been more difficult to qualify for a U.S. Team. You look at the names who are currently outside the top 8 and it’s amazing to think of the depth this team will have in December. It shows the incredible combination of veteran talent with young players who are ready to play on the biggest stages.
Two of those younger guys are Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele. I’ve played a lot rounds at Jack’s place and enjoyed some success, but Patrick’s 64 on Sunday at the Memorial was seriously impressive. He was also right there on Sunday at Augusta. For a guy who has only been out here a short time, Patrick is just scratching the surface of what he can accomplish.
And Xander is in a similar boat. He already has two wins this season and quietly went about his business to finish top 5 at the U.S. Open. He has proven he can handle the spotlight, which is exactly what we need when we get to Royal Melbourne.
It’s going to be an electric atmosphere down there in December. The fans in Australia are some of the most passionate in the world and really understand golf. Ernie will have the Internationals ready to compete, so we are going to have to play extremely well if we expect to leave with the Cup.
There’s really nothing like being at a Presidents Cup. I look forward to seeing everyone in Melbourne. Tickets are still available at presidentscup.com.
Till next time.
U.S. Team Captain Playing Captain