"I shouldn't even be talking to you," Rose's wife, Kate, told a nosy reporter. "We're trying to be very even-keeled. I don't want Justin to think I'm discussing this. In fact, I think I'll go into the clubhouse and watch the announcement on the Internet so I don't appear to be hovering." So she did.
At 1:12 Rose took another call. It was Monty. The chat was short and to the point: Rose was out. With his best English stiff upper lip, Rose betrayed no emotion and said nothing to his caddie. He struck a few putts and then cordially greeted all the dignitaries and volunteers on the 1st tee. Rose hit a perfect tee shot but ultimately struggled to a 72, falling to 15th place. "It was very, very difficult to put it all out of my mind," he said afterward.
Casey's denouement was even more brutal. His caddie is Christian Donald, Luke's brother, and Casey was paired with Harrington. "With Edoardo doing what he did, there could never have been a happy ending in my group," said Harrington.
By the time they teed off, Luke Donald was already scorching Ridgewood with a front-nine 28, which had to be unsettling. On the 7th hole Casey saw Caroline Harrington flash a thumbs-up to her hubby's caddie. "Caroline's a great friend. She would have said something to me if I had been picked," Casey said on Sunday night, his eyes watery and his voice shaking. "So at that point I kind of knew that I hadn't."
There will be more heartbreak after this week's Deutsche Bank. Pavin has four picks to choose from among Woods, Zach Johnson, Stewart Cink, Anthony Kim, Sean O'Hair and Rickie Fowler, to name a few. Woods looks like more of a sure thing after his solid week at the Barclays. Still working to incorporate new swing thoughts from instructor Sean Foley, Woods hit a horrendous snap hook out-of-bounds off the 1st tee on Saturday, which he attributed to being "caught between the two swings. And I wasn't committed to what I was doing." Otherwise, he reported, "I'm right there. Drove it pretty much on a string all week and really controlled my irons." We'll see if captain Pavin is similarly impressed.
He has to be happy with the strong play of Kuchar, who, thanks to a 10th-place tie at the PGA, squeaked onto the U.S. team as the last automatic qualifier. Kuchar got a little Ryder Cup sneak preview in his sudden-death tussle against Laird, a Scotsman who is not on the European side. "Driving out to 18 tee for the playoff the crowd was really excited," said Kuchar. "I told [a tournament official], this is great prep for the Ryder Cup. I'm in a match-play situation, I've got a playoff and I've got people going crazy. Playing a European, people cheering out 'U-S-A.' I'll be able to put that in the memory bank and go with it come Ryder Cup time."
It's nice that Kuchar has the FedEx to tune up for a more important Cup. For Casey and Rose, points are the only thing left to play for.
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