Ryder Cup aftermath

Wow. I’d never have guessed the Americans would have been crushed in the Ryder Cup for the second straight meeting with an obviously superior European team.

It would be easy to place the blame for the U.S. failure on Tom [photopress:sergio.jpg,full,alignright]Lehman. Sure he probably should have had Scott Verplank out more earlier, but Lehman isn’t really to blame for the drubbing.

Examine the results:

The Good

  1. Sergio Garcia: Sure Stewart Cink smoked him in the final singles matches, but Garcia made it interesting. He also found the ability to putt this week, losing only one match.
  2. Jose Maria Olazabol: 3-0. That brings his overall record to 18-8-5. Enough said.
  3. Tiger Woods: After playing like he’d rather be hanging with Elin at Oakland Hills in 2004, Woods played very well this week, dominating his singles match.

The Bad

  1. J.J. Henry and Brett Wetterich: Nothing much was expected of these two Ryder Cup rookies and that’s exactly what they delivered.
  2. Padraig Harrington: 0-4-1. Harrington single handedly gave the Americans an opportunity. One has to wonder whether he would have played five matches if this was being played in Spain.

The Ugly.

  1. David Toms – Clearly not a player who works well in the Ryder Cup format, Toms made a half point in four matches. “Europe just played too well against us and we didn’t perform as a team,” Toms told the Scotsman. Actually it wasn’t the entire team — and Toms is a good place to start.
  2. Phil Mickelson – It is time someone in the U.S. Ryder Cup leadership asked poor tired Phil whether he actually wants to play in the event because for the second time in four years, Mickelson has had his hat handed to him. He looked pathetic all week, made worse by the Rolex commercials that aired endlessly in Canada and featured Mickelson, discussing his “precision.” If by precesion they mean hitting balls in the water on 175 yard par threes, well I agree that Phil has pinpoint accuracy.
  3. Chris DiMarco – wasn’t he supposed to be a leader on this team? Instead he played like he has for a large part of this year — badly.

So what should we take away from this weekend’s event?

  1. The K Club worked as a match play course, but that still doesn’t make it a great course. It is simply too one-dimensional.
  2. The rookies aren’t going to fix the U.S. team’s problems, and it is very likely that Vaughn Taylor, Brett Wetterich and J.J. Henry will never play on another team.
  3. If Phil is so tired, perhaps he should simply not be part of the team. As most of the media knows, the only person Phil Mickelson is interested in is Phil Mickelson. That’s why he is a dismal failure in these events.
  4. Johnny Miller’s concept of ending the Presidents Cup and pitting the U.S. against the rest of the world seems pretty short sighted now. The Americans can’t even beat the European squad. Imagine if that team also had Adam Scott, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Trevor Immelman and Mike Weir on it?
  5. Perhaps a better format would be this — have three teams, a U.S. team, a European team and an International squad. The winner would continue to play every two years until defeated. So if the U.S. lost this year, the European team would face the International team two years later. If the European team wins, they would head against the Americans two years later. This would keep players from complaining they have to play these sorts of events too often.

For a full rundown of the singles matches, check out the Chicago Sun-Times’ story here. Colin Montgomerie discusses whether he’ll play in the event again here.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I like the 3 team concept…recognizes that golf is a global sport and brings the cache of the Ryder Cup to all the best golfers regardless of their global location.

    But regarding the results, one of the NBC commentators mentioned on Thursday that the European team had 7 of the top 11 putters in the world…in match play, that is the key element. Not surprisingly the US got trounced.

    Having said that, the US team had the talent but they could not put it together for this weekend. This is a team competition and Lehman looked (John Wooden, Mike Scioscia, Mike Krzyzewski etc) but could not find the magic “team chemistry” formula.

  • I do think the qualifying/selection process in the US is flawed. Players only get points if they are in top 10. But there are so many good players from the world playing the PGA, it is extremely tough for an American players to earn points. What they might want to do is to have American Players top 10 ranking in every qualifying tournaments.

    Any casual PGA observers can point out that Steve Stricker, Dean Wilson, Ben Curtis, Shaun Micheel are on form compared to the likes of Vaughan Taylor, Brett Witerich, Zach Johnson.

    Also, feisty players like Jerry Kelly and Frank Licklitter would have been good – unfortunately, they had not played well.

    I think Ryan Moore is going to be the next feisty competitor for the US.

    I can not believe people brought up Fred Couples as a potential captain’s pick. I think his layback style is not conducive to getting people in a battle mode. Paul Azinger is my #1 choice. Especially given that Faldo would be the next Euro captain.

  • I disagree that JJ Henry did nothing. He was the leading points-earner among the rookies, was he not? 🙂 He helped salvage some close ones with good late play. He was AWOL on the first 14 holes, though, of all of his matches.

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