Bits, Bites and Barbs from around the world of golf:

Opinion

The Ryder Cup returns this week with Team USA facing Team Europe starting Friday at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wisc.

BRENDAN MORAN - SPORTSFILE VIA GETTY IMAGES

The Ryder Cup returns this week with Team USA facing Team Europe starting Friday at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wisc.

Bits, Bites and Barbs from around the world of golf:

Bits

More on the Ryder Cup below, but let me just tee up what we’ve got for you in terms of coverage this week: Daily preview stories from yours truly beginning Tuesday; on-the-ground reporting at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wisc. from contributor Adam Stanley when the action begins; a special preview podcast that features a fantastic interview with U.S. assistant captain Jim Furyk; and a post-event podcast to dive into what will surely be a dramatic week ... It’s hard to fathom the new PGA Tour season being underway already. Not sure how everyone else feels, but I could do with at least a month break, especially with other golf tours and events to fill the void ... It might not happen and U.S. captain Steve Stricker may not even have contemplated it, but a Dustin Johnson/Scottie Scheffler partnership at the Ryder Cup feels like it would work nicely. Scheffler drives it as well as anyone in the game ... He missed the cut at the Fortinet Championship, but take note that David Hearn was in the field. Hearn finished outside the top 150 in the 2020-21 FedEx Cup standings, meaning he was outside the cut-off for keeping conditional status. However, his veteran member status — at least 150 career cuts made — will get him into a few weak-field events, plus he began the season with three starts remaining on a minor medical extension. As pointed out on social media by Graham DeLaet, attaining veteran PGA Tour status is a real achievement. It speaks to Hearn’s longevity and consistency.

Bites

First start as a PGA Tour member and Taylor Pendrith snags a T36 finish. It’s always important for rookies and players returning to the big leagues from the Korn Ferry Tour — like Pendrith’s fellow Canadian Adam Svensson — to play well in the fall portion of the schedule and bank a bunch of points before fields start being tougher to crack come January. Svensson, by the way, was T51 last week ... Nice to see Jared du Toit pick up the victory at the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada’s ATB Financial Classic last week. You might remember that du Toit made a spirited run in the 2016 RBC Canadian Open as an amateur. He found himself in the last group out on Sunday that year and ultimately finished tied for ninth. His professional career hasn’t gone as well as some would have thought, with that PGA Tour showing putting unrealistic expectations on his shoulders, but a win in Calgary — where he was born and to which he later returned after being raised in Kimberley, B.C. — will be a big confidence booster ... Something else to note at that Mackenzie Tour event: two Canadian golfers with Indian heritage finished among the top 10. Those players would be Sudarshan Yellamaraju and amateur Jeevan Sihota. I spent time with Yellamaraju and his parents for this 2018 SCOREGolf feature on diversity, a piece that mentioned Sihota as well. Golf stakeholders are doing everything to try to diversify the sport but as that piece reported, to some degree it is already happening organically at the grassroots level.

Barbs

The best week on the sporting calendar has many candidates. The beginning of a particular league’s season or its playoffs. A golf major — hello, the Masters — or a tennis grand slam. Those first few days of March Madness basketball. There was a Sunday in March that for many years included the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the final of the Tim Hortons Brier and the championship game of U Sports Men’s Final 8 basketball, which almost always included my Carleton Ravens. Talk about an awesome triple-header. But for me, this week is hard to beat. Especially this year given the 2020 cancellation of golf’s best event, one that comes around only every other year to begin with. The Ryder Cup is as riveting as it gets. Pure drama that sees 24 men who play almost exclusively for themselves every other day of the year suddenly thrust into a team environment with nothing but national or continental pride on the line. And, of course, it’s match play golf, the purest form of the game and one we see just enough of each year to keep us craving it. (As an aside, we’ve been able to double-up in team match play this month with the Solheim Cup taking place earlier in September.) Look, I love the Masters like everybody else and the Open Championship is not far behind. But I can miss shots in those two tournaments — or even big chunks of the action in one of the first few rounds — and not feel forlorn. Not with the Ryder Cup. I need to see every swing. Every putt. Every birdie and every bogey. Even every first tee introduction. I need to drink up every drop of analysis beforehand and watch the highlights for days afterwards. The Ryder Cup is the absolute best and let us golf fans rejoice that it is finally here again.

Obscure thought of the week: However much it costs, I would think it’s worth the expense for politicians to include a head shot on their election yard signs. Weird to go faceless on such important promotional material.

Jason Logan is the editor of SCOREGolf Magazine and is based in Toronto. He is a contributor to the Star’s Sports section. Follow him on Twitter: @jasonSCOREGolf