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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Prediction: Lehman Will Be a Playing Captain in Ryder Cup

Though I realize I'm not going out on a limb with this prediction, I think it's worth stating and worth analyzing. Tom Lehman will qualify through points to play on the Ryder Cup.

No one has captained the American side of the Ryder Cup since Arnold Palmer did way back when. So why will Lehman do it?

a) He's determined to accomplish it.
b) He's in great physical shape after losing more than 20 pounds.
c) He's already nudged his way into the top 10 in Ryder Cup points.
d) The guys behind him in the standings (and some in front of him) have not proven they have the game or staying power to beat him in points.

That he's determined to accomplish it has been talked about enough in the press. He's been on a quest to play in this Ryder Cup ever since he was named Captain. Since then, he put his money where his mouth is and got into terrific shape, saying that he feels at least 10 years younger than his nearly 47 years.

With his stellar performance at the Accenture Match Play, he's now ranked 10th in the Ryder Cup standings. He's on the bubble, and there is a long way to go, but he has the momentum going for him and could easily get into the top 6 or 7 with some more good tournaments. A win would probably lock it up.

Finally, I'm quite skeptical of some of the players surrounding him in the rankings. They're either plain-vanilla, or they're inexperienced. The guys I'm thinking of include Arron Oberholser, Scott Verplank, J.B. Holmes, Ryan Palmer, Vaughn Taylor, Lucas Glover, and John Rollins. These guys are all solid, but I don't think they scare Lehman one bit.


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