That would be Fred Couples, his captain at the Presidents Cup last fall and a vice captain for the Ryder Cup. Watney wasn’t reading too much into that. He is downplaying the Ryder Cup hype that hit him after his big win, especially because no one talked to him about the Ryder Cup all year until Sunday.
Even so, the text from Couples fired him up.
“He’s a vice captain, right?” Watney said, grinning.
NICE TO MEET YOU: Tiger Woods has made a lot of new friends this year during some of his weekend pairings. He played with Tom Gillis in the Honda Classic, Thorbjorn Olesen in the British Open, Branden Grace for two rounds at Firestone, and two other new faces (for him) at The Barclays _ Gary Christian and David Hearn.
“The tour is getting deeper,” Woods said. “Most of the guys that I grew up playing with and know better are actually on the Champions Tour now. I know that leaderboard. I know all the guys on that leaderboard. I look at our fields, and I don’t know some of these guys.”
All of them have been complimentary, especially Christian last week at Bethpage. Woods wonders if they aren’t hurt by playing before such large galleries for the first time.
“When played with me on the weekend rounds, they’re not quite used to the amount of movement and … well, now the new thing are the cell phones going off,” he said. “It costs them a shot here and there, and that’s what it’s done to me in most of the tournaments I’ve played.”
DIVOTS: Caroline Wozniacki, an early departure at the U.S. Open, walked the pro-am round with boyfriend Rory McIlroy. … Keegan Bradley held a fundraiser in his hometown of Woodstock, Vt., for the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund. The event raised more than $100,000 for victims from last year’s flood brought on by Hurricane Irene. “There was pretty serious damage up there,” Bradley said. … Scott Stallings keeps a baseball signed by former Boston Red Sox great Jim Rice in his golf bag. …A year ago, Ernie Els was No. 99 in the ranking and tied for 16th to move on to the third round of the FedEx Cup.
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