10 reasons Europeans will win

By Bill Huffman

        Here are 10 reasons why Europe’s reclamation of the Ryder Cup this weekend at the Celtic Manor in Wales is just a shout away.

10.  A hairy issue
                U.S. rookie Rickie Fowler has a lot of hair, but Europe’s outstanding rookie, Rory McIlroy, has locks that are equally as long and much thicker. Not that Rory’s mop-top will necessarily be the key against little Rickie’s “dutch boy’’ look, mind you. No, the fact that McIlroy is ranked No. 9 in the world compared to Fowler’s rating of No. 33 has a lot more to do with it. Plus, in the hair department, America’s got five guys going bald if you count Tiger Woods, while Europe has none. (Does this have the potential to be a medical study: Why Europeans have more hair?)

 9.  Brothers in arms
               Europe’s “Italian stallions’’ look like the real deal. Brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari, who both live in the town of Turin and love to play, hmm, soccer, could turn out to be world-beaters this weekend. Hey, Edoardo already has guaranteed that the Molinaris “will not lose.’’ And there is precedent, as Team Molinari prevailed a year ago in the World Cup – a first for a two-man team from Italy. Genes aside, here’s why the Molinaris will be so tough – Francesco, 27, has the game; Edoardo, 29, has the nerve.

8. Furyk flat-lines
               Ever wonder why Tour players take the following week off after they win a tournament? Yeah, there’s nothing left in the tank. That’s why Jim Furyk, who never has played all that well in the Ryder Cup (8-13-3) is about to come out flat in the Welsh Games. The former Arizona All-American just completed the biggest moment in his career by winning the TOUR Championship and FedEx Cup, a feat that certainly will earn him player of the year honors. But the needle, no doubt, will be on  “empty’’ this weekend.

7. More flat-liners
               Besides Furyk, American “go-to guys’’ Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson and Steve Stricker also seemed to come up empty last weekend, like they had given everything they’ve got to get that far and had simply nothing left, especially Johnson, who had two gut-wrenching near-misses in the U.S. Open and PGA Championship. Both Kurchar (T25 out of 30 players) and Johnson (T22) looked like shadows of themselves en route to poor finishes in the FedEx Cup along with the usually dependable Stricker (T25). Add Yankee rookies Jeff Overton (T29) and Bubba Watson (T17) to that “Flat-liners II’’ and it doesn’t bode well for the U.S. sluggers.
6.  Exit, stage left
               He’s still No. 2 in the world, but Phil Mickelson hasn’t sniffed it since the Masters back in April. Plus, he’s not all that adept (10-14-6) at Ryder Cup pressure any way. Now if this was the President’s Cup where he went 4-1-0 a year ago that would be something. But, alas, it’s not. And to add to Lefty’s woes, he doesn’t play particularly well when the fans are hostile, something Mr. Popular is unfamiliar with having played the majority of his golf in the comfy confines of the PGA Tour.  But even more to the point: Phil’s had one top-10 (T8 BMW Championship) since the U.S. Open in June.

5.  Tiger’s year to forget
              If the Euro fans will be giving both barrels to Mickelson, just think of the heavy artillery they’ll be using on Woods and his tarnished image? Or how about this question that one British tabloid reporter laid on Woods during Monday’s opening press conference: “You don’t win majors any more, you don’t win regular tournaments any more . . . so where is the Ryder Cup on your agenda now that you’re just an ordinary golfer?’’ To which Woods smiled and replied: “I hope you’re having a good week.’’ Tiger will need lots more of that before the week is over.

4.  Pavin and “The Captain-ness’’
               About the only thing we really know — absolutely, 100 percent, for sure — is that Lisa Pavin, the wife of U.S. captain Corey Pavin, will be playing a larger role in the Ryder Cup than usual starting with her scantily clad photo on the cover of Avid Golfer magazine. Dubbing herself “the Captain-ness,’’ Lisa Pavin has personally selected some very, well, feminine-looking outfits for the Yanks. Add in Pavin’s “little guy’’ complex to the egomaniac equation, and the U.S. team really might be deserving of its self-proclaimed role as underdogs.

3.  Monty has his moment
                Say this about European captain Colin Montgomerie, occasionally he puts his money where his mouth is, and this will be one of those rare occasions. Dubbed by the media “Captain Rabbit Ears’’ for his fragile ego, if there is one arena where “the best player never to have won a major’’ has excelled in, it’s the Ryder Cup. In fact, behind Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer, nobody has won more points in these Patriot Games than Monty’s 23 ½, which included a record of 6-0-2 in singles. But here is the reason he’ll lead the Euros to yet another victory. “(Monty) always revels as the man out front,’’ said Padraig Harrington in reference to Colin’s key role in four of the Euros’ past wins.
2.  Better “losers’’
              The tangible that really opens eyes when comparing Team Red-White-and-Blue to Team just-Blue is how many losing records there are among the Ryder Cup veterans on both teams. For the U.S. that includes, most notably, Woods (10-13-2), Mickelson (10-14-6), Furyk (8-13-3) and Stewart Cink (4-7-4) vs. Europe’s Harrington (7-11-3) and Miguel Angel Jimenez (2-7-3). It becomes even more obvious on a team scale:  U.S. (35-51-20, .425) vs. Europe (35-32-13, .519). And for those really good at math, yes, that’s a winning record for the Euro vets.

1. No place like home
             Numbers don’t lie, and in the past 25 years Europe’s record in the Ryder Cup is a very impressive (some might say, “dominating”), 7-4-1 with four of those wins and the tie coming on its own soil.  And to think, it could have been even more overwhelming had the U.S. not pulled off “The Miracle at the Country Club’’ in 1999.  Why is this so? There are two factors why the U.S. seemingly can’t win across the pond: The Euros treat the Ryder Cup like it’s a major championship; they want it more. The Europeans’ paranoid perception that the U.S. thinks they are better players; a snub that inspires the Euro guys to no end.

Final result: Europe, 15-13 


Utah claims Shootout to tie series at 10-10

Once again, the visiting team proved to be too much in the 20th Annual Arizona-Utah Shootout held at Southern Dunes Golf Club in Maricopa, AZ. Utah claimed the victory by a five-point margin with a total score of 38 ½ points to tie the series score at 10-10.
Temperatures exceeding 110 degrees seemed to have little effect on the visiting team as they claimed 5 of the last 6 matches to pull ahead. Decisive victories for the AGA by Barb Byrnes, Frank Ellenburg, and Kyle Kallan helped Arizona pull ahead by 2 points heading into the final matches, but subsequent wins for Utah by Darrin Overson, Jordan Rogers, and Josh White propelled the Utah team to victory.
The teams were all tied after the first day at 18 points each. Utah won the morning Four-Ball matches by a score of 10-8, while Arizona won the afternoon Foursomes 10-8 to square the score heading into the final round. Utah’s total of 20 ½ points in the Singles matches to Arizona’s 15 ½ points was the ultimate margin.
The event, in its 20th year, is one of the more prestigious team events on the Arizona Golf Association’s schedule. Featuring a nassau format, 3 points are available for each match, 1 point for the front 9 winner, 1 point for the back 9 winner, and 1 point for the overall winner.
The AGA would like to give a special thanks to Southern Dunes Golf Club as well as the Utah Golf Association.
Utah-Arizona Shootout   Second Day Results   Singles Barb Byrnes, A, def. Lachell Poffenberger, U, 3-0 Jenteal Jackson, U, def. Echo Thatcher, A, 3-0 Bill Probst, U, def. Steve Dallas, A, 2 ½-1/2 Frank Ellenberg, A, def. Mike Hacker, U, 3-0 Cameron Crawford, U, tied Gabby Bobroski, A, 1 ½- 1 ½ Kyle Kallan, A, def. Scott Clark, U, 3-0 Darrin Overson, U, def. Dean Hall, A, 2 ½- ½ Jordan Rogers, U, def. Cyrus Whitney, A, 3-0 Josh White, U, def. Pat Geare, A, 2 ½- ½ Jerry Huff, A, def. Stu Gold, U, 2-1 Jeff Jolley, U, def. Larry Montplaisir, A, 2 ½- ½ Kirk Siddens, U, def. Camron Howell, A, 2-1 Singles- Utah 20 ½, Arizona 15 ½     First Day Results   Four-Ball Pat Geare-Jerry Huff, A, def. Cameron Crawford-Jordan Rogers, U, 2 ½ – ½ Larry Montplaisir-Camron Howell, A, def. Darrin Overson-Scott Clark, U, 2-1 Dean Hall-Kyle Kallan, A, tied Kirk Siddens-Jeff Jolley, 1 ½- 1 ½ Josh White-Stu Gold, U, def. Gabby Broboski-Cyrus Whitney, A, 2 ½-1/2 Mike Hacker-Bill Probst, U, def. Steve Dallas-Frank Ellenburg, A, 2 ½-1/2 Jenteal Jackson-Lachell Poffenberger, U, def. Barb Byrnes-Echo Thatcher, A, 2-1 Four-Ball- Utah 10, Arizona 8   Foursomes Overson-Clark, U, def. Pat Geare-Jerry Huff, A, 3-0 Montplaisir-Howell, A, def. Crawford-Rogers, U, 2-1 Hall-Kallan, A, def. White-Gold, U, 3-0 Bobrosky-Whitney, A, def. Siddens-Jolley, U, 3-0 Hacker-Probst, U, tied Dallas-Ellenberg, A, 1 ½-1 1/2 Jackson-Poffenberger, U, def. Byrnes-Thatcher, A, 2 ½-1/2 Foursomes- Arizona 10, Utah 8   Final Results- Utah 38 ½, Arizona 33 ½


Piranha Golf to host demo day

Piranha Golf will host a demo day Thursday, Oct. 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Longbow Golf Club, 5601 E. Longbow Parkway in Mesa. The public is invited to experience hand-crafted Aussie golf clubs and enter for a chance to win a set of Piranha Golf bite wedges, a Piranha Golf putter or a hybrid-3 club. AGA members can show their ACCESS card to receive a 15% discount when you purchase product at the show. Please note, only right-handed clubs will be available for testing at the event.


US team named for World Golfers Championship

Representing your country in any international competition is usually reserved for the elite from any sport, like the golf professionals playing in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in Wales Oct. 1-3, but five amateurs from the United States will get this once-in-a-lifetime experience when they travel to Thailand for the World Golfers Championship. Earning that honor by winning their respective flights in the U.S. finals at the Wigwam Resort Red and Gold Courses in Litchfield Park, AZ were Paul Goering of Dallas, TX, Bill Nitcholas of Carrollton, TX, Bil Criteser of El Mirage, AZ, Shauna Federico of Wellington, FL and Stuart Cunningham of Singer Island, FL. Goering, who carries a +2 handicap at Castle Hills Golf Club in Carrollton, TX, posted a pair of two-under-par 70s for net 72s to claim the 0-5 flight by a comfortable five strokes over Ray Madrid of Sun City, AZ. Mark Pirtle of El Cajon, CA followed at 151 and earned an exemption to the 2011 U.S. finals along with the other second and third finishers. Nitcholas, the golf coach at Irving MacArthur High School, posted net 68-70—138 to cruise to a comfortable margin in the 6-10 flight as nearest rivals Chris Borkowski of Sun City, AZ and Wayne McCollum of Palm Springs, CA finished at 147 and 148, respectively. Parker Smith of Sun City, AZ, the 6-10 representative in Spain last year, had to withdraw during the final round after opening with a 72. Criteser, who switches to southpaw on the greens, proved the most steady player in the 11-15 flight with 69-73—142, finishing two strokes in front of James Adams of Vero Beach, FL and five ahead of Doug Bisson of Rowlett, TX. Federico, a member of the Executive Women’s Golf Association, breezed to a five-stroke margin over defending champion Tony Ott of West Palm Beach, FL in the 16-20 flight with net 68-65—133. Gray Hagen of Grand Prairie, TX placed third at 144. Cunningham, a member of the President Country Club in West Palm Beach, FL, overcame a five-stroke deficit to win the 21-25 flight with 71-73—144, a stroke ahead of 18-hole leader Richard Waldie of Penbrook Pines, FL. Frank McInerny, a member of the 2009 U.S. team from Yonkers, NY, placed third at 73-75—148. The five amateurs will join competitors from 36 other countries, including Australia for the first time, in a 72-hole competition Nov. 3-6 at the Banyon Golf Club, the Black Mountain Golf Club, the Palm Hills Golf Club and the Springfield Royal Country Club in the resort area of Hua-Him about two hours from Bangkok. The low four scores will be counted each day to determine a team score and each of the players will compete for individual honors within flights. Indonesia is the defending champion. Go to for additional information. In addition to expenses to Thailand, allowed by the United States Golf Association under an exception to the rules of amateur status, each player will receive golf bags from LT Golf in Kerrville, TX, umbrellas from Gustbuster in Farmington, NY and sunglasses from Sundog Eyewear in Calagary, Alberta, Canada. Zoom Boom of Colleyville, TX will also provide its training aid for the team. Anders Bengtson, the captain of the U.S. team from West Palm Beach, FL, likened the World Golfers Championship to a true Olympics of golf. “It’s where amateurs compete on equal terms just the way Pierre de Coubertain visioned when he created the Olympics,” Bengtson said. Realizing that golf was becoming a global sport, International Hockey Hall of Fame member Sven Tumba of Sweden organized the World Golfers Championship 16 years ago as an invitational event to give amateurs of all skill levels a taste of an international competition and then turned it into a separate team concept later. In addition to top resorts in the U.S. like PGA National, Mission Inn and Doral, the competition has been held previously in the Dominican Republic, Malaysia, South Africa and Thailand. Players in the U.S. who would like to have a chance to advance to the 2011 World Golfers Championship in South Africa should contact Bengtson at or 561-313-9083 to discuss having a qualifying event at their clubs starting in January. “We will announce a site for the 2011 U.S. finals after returning from Thailand,” Bengtson noted. “Anybody, male or female, with a handicap of 25 or better can participate.” Arizona Golf was privileged to help conduct the US finals qualifying for the World Golfers Championship last week at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park. Lorraine Thies and Ed Gowan provided handicap research resources and Rules of Golf oversight in the championship. AGA partner, Jim Stracka and provided a virtual tournament for qualifying players to the US finals, the first time the event was held in the west. Follow Arizona’s Bill Criteser from El Mirage as he represents Arizona and the USA in Thailand the first week of October. World Golfers Championship Wigwam Resort Red, Gold Courses   0-5 flight Paul Goering 72-72–144 Ray Madrid 75-75–150 Mark Pirtle 72-79–151   6-10 Bill Nitcholas 68-70–138 Chris Borkowski 76-71–147 Wayne McCollum 75-73–148   11-15 Bil Criteser 69-73–142 James Adams 68-76–144 Doug Bisson 73-74–147   16-20 Shauna Federico 68-65–133 Tony Ott 69-69–138 Gary Hagen 67-77–144   21-25 Stuart Cunningham 71-73–144 Richard Waldie 66-79–145 Frank McInerny 73-75–148


The Washington Weekly Update

The Good and the Bad from the Senate’s 1099 Vote
After nearly six weeks away from Capitol Hill, Senators returned to work last Tuesday for what will likely be a short legislative session before they break again to campaign for re-election.  The first order of business upon their return was to vote on Sen. Mike Johanns’ (R-Neb.) repeal of the health care reform law’s new 1099 filing mandate.
As you know, this new mandate requires clubs to file a 1099 for each vendor they spend $600 or more with throughout the year.  The requirement begins in 2012 and it will add considerable time and cost to the administrative side of running a private club.  The purpose of the new requirement is to help ensure that companies receiving the money actually disclose it on their taxes.  (Shouldn’t that be the IRS’ job rather than the job of private clubs??)
NCA and its small business allies worked with Sen. Johanns to see that his repeal measure was brought forward for a vote.  Last Tuesday, that vote was held.  Unfortunately, his measure was filibustered by Senate Democrats.  To stop the filibuster and bring the legislation forward for a final vote, Sen. Johanns needed to secure 60 “yes” votes.  While the measure did attract five Democrats and all Republican Senators, the final tally was 46-52.  As such, the filibuster against it was not broken and the measure was pulled from further consideration.
To say the least, this result was not what we had hoped for and I want to thank all of our members who used NCA’s sample letter and communicated their support for the Johanns bill prior to the vote.  Thousands of individual small businesses and trade associations made their opposition to this onerous new mandate known, but a majority in the Senate felt it best to leave the health care reform bill unaltered.  Therefore, the 1099 provision will still go into effect beginning January 1, 2012.
This was the bad news coming from the Senate last week, but there was some good news – potentially.
After the vote on Sen. Johanns’ bill, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) came to the Senate floor and pointedly acknowledged that the 1099 provision should not have been included in the health care law and she said that she will work with Republicans to resolve this issue before the measure takes full effect in 2012.
NCA appreciates Sen. Landrieu’s perspective on this unfortunate employer mandate and we are pleased that another Democrat has come forward to acknowledge that this burdensome paperwork requirement thrust on America’s small businesses should not go into effect.  We will look forward to working with her as we try to convince other Senators that this provision should be fully repealed.  Let’s hope they listen…..
Extension of the Bush Tax Cuts Sets Off Major Debate among Senate Democrats
During a recent Democratic policy lunch, the debate over how to extend the Bush tax cuts hit a fevered pitch with various options being presented to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
One option was an extension of the tax cuts only for those individuals making less than $200,000 and families making less than $250,000 – this is the President’s plan.  Another option was to permanently extend the tax cuts for those wage earners but to also extend the tax cuts for those making above that for an additional two years.  Another option, which has the support of all Republicans and at least five Democrats, was to permanently extend all of the tax cuts for all income earners. 
Naturally, NCA has supported the latter option.  There is no reason to remove those who own and invest in small businesses, create jobs and, most importantly, who traditionally join private clubs from receiving an extension of the tax cuts – especially in an economy that is slowly emerging from this recession.
With Senate Democrats unsure how they should address the issue, NCA and our allies on the Tax Relief Coalition have formulated a strategy to pursue those Senators who could join the five other Democrats and bring tax relief to all Americans before these tax cuts expire at the end of the year.
Should the tax cuts for high wage earning individuals expire on December 31, clubs with just 20 families making $500,000 could lose over $200,000 in club revenue.  Indeed, if those club members pay the new, higher tax with money they would have spent at their clubs, the entire club industry could be significantly impacted right at the time we can least afford it.
While we are pleased that there is bipartisan support in the Senate for an extension of all of the Bush tax cuts, 41 Republican Senators and five Democratic Senators do not add up to a majority.  So, there is much more to do before any vote and Majority Leader Reid has indicated that he wants a vote on this matter prior to their adjournment for the November elections, so stay tuned. 
Naturally, this is the number one agenda item for me between now and the end of this legislative session.  I’ll keep you posted….
The House is Back in Session – Sort of….
On September 13, the House of Representatives returned from the August recess.  However, for the last week that chamber has done little.  The biggest thing the Members accomplished was passing a resolution expressing the House’s condolence to the flood victims of Pakistan.  And, yes, there was some opposition to the resolution….
At this point, the House leadership seems content to allow the Senate to act first on legislation like the extension of the Bush tax cuts.  Having been the first to act on many other tough legislative initiatives, there seems to be a strong sentiment that the House has done enough heavy lifting for the 111th Congress.  Instead, the House will let the Senate take the political heat for voting on tough bills and, if those bills actually make it through, then House Members will take a look at them.
Clearly, this decision to wait on the sidelines for the Senate to act means the election year jitters have hit home for the House.  With only 44 days left until the election, House Members do not want to put any more fuel on the fire of voter discontent unless they have to.  With this legislative session only lasting until October 8, they may be able to keep their heads down until they leave…..
The President and Private Clubs
During the August Congressional recess, President Obama and his family took a much needed vacation to Martha’s Vineyard.  While there, the President spent more than a few days pursuing one of his favorite recreational activities: golf.  What was nice to see – especially with the tax cut debate coming – is that the President enjoyed a few rounds on a private course. 
It was great to see him enjoying our industry’s finer courses and we look forward to him supporting us in the months and years ahead…..

Brad D. Steele
VP of Government Relations & General Counsel