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Who will be the captain of the US Ryder Cup, the return of McIlroy

Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker at the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia.

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Cenjoy each week the unfiltered views of our writers and editors as they analyze the hottest topics in sports, and join the conversation by tweeting us at @igalofu_com. SayDuring the week, we discuss the Ryder Cup captaincy, Rory McIlroy’s return to golf, the LPGA’s fourth major of the year and more.

With the Fourth of July and the red, white and green on our minds, let’s look ahead to the 2025 Ryder Cup at Bethpage Black. Americans are like that still except for the captain. Who do you think it will be?

Jessica Marksbury, editor-in-chief (@jess_marksbury): It has to be Tiger, right? That is the only reason I can think of for such a long delay. Except it was supposed to be Tiger and he doesn’t want the job for some reason, and now they’re sniggering.

Josh Berhow, managing editor (@Josh_Berhow): Tiger said at Valhalla they were still working on that conversation and he was deciding if he had time to fully commit to it… but that was almost two months ago now. As our own Sean Zak wrote back in April, they were far behind in the captaincy process at the time (and are even further behind now). If the PGA of America is waiting for Tiger to decide, at some point it should stop holding everyone back. I still think Tiger can do it, but if Tiger isn’t the guy, someone like Steve Stricker might qualify. He led the US to a big win last time at home. And, after last year’s disaster, he may just be the man to get the American people back on track.

Ryan Barath, editor-in-chief (@rdsbarath): Logic and history shows that it should have been Phil, but after a few years that ship completely sailed and I think Tiger is the clear choice. Now if Mr. Woods continues to cause delays in the process as reported, I think it may be automatic for Stricker as suggested by Josh, that in my opinion would be a real downgrade of the event.

Behow: I don’t know if I can call it a letdown. Bethpage is going to be an awesome home field, and even if Tiger isn’t the captain he might be the assistant or even the captain’s pick. But if Tiger isn’t the captain it’s not like it won’t happen – his time is pushed back another two (or four?) years.

Rory McIlroy returns this week to defend his title at the Genesis Scottish Open, his first start since finishing second at the US Open and deciding to take time away from the game. How do you think Rory will fare in Scottish and, more importantly, a week later in the final tournament of the year?

Marksbury: I expect Rory to show up and do as well as he did – maybe even win! He is the defending champion in Scotland, after all. And his record at the Open is encouraging, with five of the top six finishes since 2016, matching his 2014 win. However, mentally, I think it’s hard to say how much time he might need to recover from the US Open. Three weeks of rest ended in an instant. I hope you were able to find the time to decompress and process that you needed.

Behow: I think he will play very well this week and it would not be surprising to see him motivated to win. It’s not like he was playing badly – he just missed short putts late and lost the major. I’m not worried about this week. But after a week? Royal Troon is the last head of the year. If he’s having constant or stressful feelings, I think it’s happening more than it would this week, which seems to be a good place for low stress to return to. But I still expect him to play well in The Open. He has struggled to win majors over the past decade, not compete.

They say: I’m going to be blunt — I fully expect Rory to show up in full ass-kicking mode. Do I want him to win? Maybe, but I’d also like to see him win the Open, so if he plays well but doesn’t win, I still consider that a very good sign going into the major finals of the year.

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Phil Mickelson said he doesn’t believe the PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger is “necessary” for the future of pro golf, saying what has happened so far — PGA Tour Signature Events, player equity and excellence (like Bryson DeChambeau ) who grow their products – he has won both leagues. “The competition offered by both tours enhances both tours,” he said. “So is there a need for integration? Probably not. But it would be a good thing if there was no hostility.” Do you agree with him?

Marksbury: Is it what is needed? I think not. Both the Tour and LIV will continue to exist. But I think it’s fair to say that LIV players like Jon Rahm would appreciate a meeting of the minds – at least to create a path towards creating more World Class scoring opportunities for LIV players. And from the fans’ point of view, we definitely want to see more tournaments where all the best players in the world are in one place.

Behow: You’re right that it helped the PGA Tour add Signature Events and the player equity program (which makes the rich richer), but it certainly didn’t help the overall brand by taking away some key players. Two clean visits is not the way forward. If they play together something like eight times a year (instead of playing the majors) you could argue that’s enough. But seeing the world’s best players play the same tournaments just four times in a calendar year is not good for the sport and its fans.

They say: To Josh’s point, the best players need to play the best players more often than four times a year, and currently the split only hurts the PGA Tour and elevates the majors even more. It’s great for the majors but it’s not good for fan interest, and if the “rich want to get richer” they’d better get eyeballs at regular events.

Davis Thompson hits a shot at the John Deere Classic.

‘Calm down Davis’: Thompson sets John Deere record for first PGA Tour win


Jack Hirsh

After six wins in seven matches, World No. 1 Nelly Korda has missed the ax in her last three competitions. He is due to return to action this week at the Evian Championship, fourth in the top five, assuming he is fit to play after recovering from a dog bite that forced him to withdraw from the Aramco Team Series event. Can you see the Korda back on the road in France?

Marksbury: Given the form Nelly showed earlier this year, I can’t believe the MCs were completely wrong. He has run well at Evian, with two top-nine finishes in his last two starts. I like his chances of making it to the big 3.

Behow: I agree. I don’t know if I will predict that she will win, as winning is difficult, but Nelly missing the fourth square in a row seems impossible. He had never even missed three times in a row until now! I think he will join. I hope you are healthy and able to play.

They say: Assuming any injuries were minor and the withdrawal was precautionary, I expect Nelly to compete in Evian. Every player usually has a few weeks a year where the game decides to quit for no reason, but at his level I don’t see it taking a whole year.

Let’s have a simple one. We’re biased, but there are few things better than a holiday weekend round on the links. What is your favorite golf course you have played?

Marksbury: Pretty much any Phoenix-area course qualifies for summer credit. If you can take the 115-degree daytime temperatures, you can find great deals on cigars. My favorite muni lately, is a nine-hole management course owned by the City of Phoenix called Palo Verde that I can take my kids to. Green fees start at $25, and children are $5. A new favorite!

How: Keller Golf Course ($53 round trip) just outside St. Paul, Minn., my favorite muni that I haven’t played in two years. I will change that soon.

They say: I’ve recommended this place many times before, and I’ll say it again — My local Norfolk Golf Club is a fun nine-hole test that tops out at just under 3,000 yards and has a history with the late Canadian architect Stanley Thompson. The fact that it can be installed in less than 90 minutes at most makes it one of my favorite places to play.

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