Sunday, October 08, 2006

More from Hal Sutton on Ryder Cup, Boot Ranch

Honorary Texan Hal Sutton (he's actually from Louisiana, but has a ranch at Junction and is about as Texan as a person can be without actually being Texan) is talking more about the Ryder Cup and his fancy Fredericksburg development called Boot Ranch.

You might recall a post here about two weeks before the Ryder Cup: Sutton had talked to The Associated Press about the Ryder Cup and had provided a few details about Boot Ranch, too.

Now, he's done the exact same thing, only this time he spoke after the Ryder Cup and with Golf Magazine. Hal's doing a great job talking up Boot Ranch in the national press, that's for sure.

The Golf Magazine article says that Boot Ranch "has been called the Augusta of Texas." Gee, I wonder who called it that. Hmmm, Hal Sutton maybe? The article introduces Boot Ranch this way:

Boot Ranch’s course designer and co-developer, Sutton has spent four days a week here since his 12-man team of Yanks lost by a margin that Tom Lehman’s guys (surprise!) equaled two weeks ago. Boot Ranch has been called the Augusta of Texas (members get a pair of black alligator cowboy boots in lieu of a green jacket), but with slow membership and home sales it’s not all azaleas for Sutton. Still, the U.S. Ryder Cup team is in far worse shape.

And later adds:

When Sutton was a kid at Northwood Country Club in Shreveport, Louisiana, he says, the pro took time to sit and talk over a Dr. Pepper. It isn’t hard to guess the subtext of that comment, that our academy-sponsored race for the perfect swing has forsaken our childlike “joie-de-golf.” Dismayed at the game’s massive, intractable bureaucracy, Sutton seeks to reverse that trend and more, this time from the outside, from Boot Ranch.

“We’re already teaching juniors here,” he said. “We have around 15 high school kids, 10 to 12 younger than that. We’re going to do our part here. I challenge everybody else in the country to do their part, and if they already are, I applaud them."

The bulk of the article is about Sutton's thoughts regarding American problems in the Ryder Cup, and what to do to fix them. Sutton speaks about what he says as the four biggest problems for today's American Ryder Cuppers:

  • 1. They aren't aggressive enough on Ryder Cup putts because as tour pros they play nothing but super-fast greens week-in and week-out, and guys tend to lose their aggressiveness on putts when that would mean blowing one by five to 10 feet. The PGA Tour should alter greens conditions on its courses, Sutton say, to provide a variety of putting conditions.
  • 2. Every American's swing looks the same. They all grow up copying that one ideal swing. Everything is perfect, no ability to adjust to differing conditions of play.
  • 3. The American system and PGA Tour produces golfers who almost all know only one way to play: high and long. Hit the ball high, and hit it far. That doesn't work as well on European courses, and it limits the creativity of and availability of different shots to American golfers.
  • 4. We whine a lot about losing, but ultimately we only do one thing about it, and it's the same every time: blame the captain.

I don't blame Hal Sutton for 2004's debacle, and never have. Hal might have been over the top in some of his pre-play pronouncements, but all he could do - all any captain really can do - is send the guys out to play. It's up to the players to perform.

Read the full article

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