Woods, Mickelson could miss Ryder Cup

The Ryder Cup is only a couple of months away, and the likelihood is that American captain Tom Watson will have some extremely difficult decisions to make.

At present, the two biggest names in American golf – Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson – are not even close to making the team on points. These two superstar golfers would have to be chosen by Watson using two of the team’s three captain’s picks.

Watson has been consistently vocal of late, stating that he would only pick the two stars, or any other golfer, if they were “playing well” and “healthy” by September.

Watson has plenty of experience, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he makes the tough call to leave one of these long-time golfing greats off the American squad this fall.

Leaving no doubt

Without a doubt, Artie Fink Jr. has dominated local golf for many years now, and this year is no different.

The month of June was particularly successful for the Altoona native. Fink won the prestigious Central Counties Individual title at Sinking Valley, his home course, early last month.

That was followed by wins at three consecutive best-ball tournaments – Great Cove in McConnellsburg (with partner Greg Ferguson), Down River (with William Smith) and Mount Union American Legion (with Todd Homan).

In addition to these local events, Fink has been a top contender at all of the top West Penn and Pennsylvania Golf Association events he entered this year.

Beginning next week, Fink will be playing (with various partners) in the four local best-ball tournaments – Sinking Valley, Park Hills, Iron Masters and Summit. He and his respective partners should be favorites in each of these events.

Fink is also scheduled to compete in the R. Jay Sigel Match Play Championship at Sunnehanna Country Club which begins Monday.

Changing image

Sergio Garcia is a golfer who often comes across as difficult and tempestuous while competing on the PGA Tour.

However, the Spaniard’s actions took on a completely new light a couple of weeks ago.

Garcia showed up, unannounced, at New York’s famous public course – Bethpage Black.

While there, he mixed right in with the local golfers – hitting balls on the range and signing autographs. The visit was part of a planned TaylorMade commercial shoot, but by all accounts Garcia was particularly fan-friendly throughout the day.

Before leaving, Garcia ambushed several foursomes on the first tee, surprising them with customized Taylor Made drivers, while personally interacting with dozens of impressed golfers.

Everyone who met Garcia that day raved about his approachability – contrary to the reputation he’s gained on tour over the years.

West Penn Open

Four local golfers will be participating in the 110th West Penn Open scheduled for July 7-8 at Indiana Country Club.

Hollidaysburg natives Anthony DeGol and Sean Brannan are in the field along with Tyrone native Jimmy Gillam and Josh Leibfreid of Bedford.

Former winners of this prestigious event include Arnold Palmer, Frank Kiraly and Oakmont’s Bob Ford.

Love covers area golf for the Mirror. His column runs on Fridays.