Man was I wrong — as was Johnny Miller — when it came to the captain’s picks of both the European and American teams. I dumped on the choice of Ian Poulter, but he turned out to be the best player the Europeans had. Others jumped on JB Holmes, and while I don’t think he was dominant because of his long bombs, he did play exceptionally well, regardless of his personal hygiene. But man, he’s one ghastly slow golfer.
Hunter Mahan was terrific, making 3.5 points, even though he blew the singles match on Sunday by pushing his drive into the pond. All he needed to do was play a touch more conservatively. But man, who knew Paul Casey hit the ball that far? He had 200 yards into 18 and something like 80 yards in the 17th, which is a monster par-4 that Miller kept saying set up badly for everyone. Apparently it is easier if like Holmes or Casey you hit the ball 390 yards.
Who would have guessed Sergio Garcia — Mr. Ryder Cup until this point — would only garner a single point and hit two irons into the drink on the par-5 7th. Interestingly this also seemed like an example of a poorly designed hole. With a split fairway — the right being an easier shot but putting the green largely out of reach — every player went to the left side. Maybe this works for someone Mr. Nicklaus — but it didn’t work for the pros. Back to Garcia — what a mess of a year. It looked like it should be a good one, especially after winning the Players. But he dropped to Padraig Harrington at the PGA and then this debacle. Good thing he’s learned to putt again…
Am I ever glad I watched all three days on my PVR. TSN regularly cut into coverage with their own short commercials and I had to listen to the drones on NBC constantly talk about “Direct TV” and that damned blimp. Or at least I think most did — I just pressed the forward 30 second button on my PVR and missed it. That also allowed me to pass by the lengthy waits for every shot hit by Harrington and Holmes. That said, maybe Mahan had a point when he said this was a cash grab. I mean could there have been any more commercials? In this regard the Ryder Cup makes the Masters look like some sort of non-profit organization.
Speaking of Harrington, what the hell? This guy won three majors in the past year but his game resembled mine for much of the year as opposed to a guy whose won the British Open twice in a row. Miller said he was opening the clubface, resulting in balls that went high and right. I guess Nick Faldo felt he needed to continue sticking him out there, because he played four times, with his best result being a halve. Piss poor. Miller said he needed to head home and work on his swing. I think Miller is right on this one.
Anthony Kim had one of those rounds and ripped through poor Sergio Garcia in the singles on Sunday. Oh, okay, no one is sad to have seen Garcia get destroyed, but the Spaniard ran into one of those rounds Kim plays every so often — like he did at the Canadian Open on Friday this year — when the rising star drives it long and straight, hits it close and makes everything. Kim will never be the most humble guy, but I think his aggressive attitude and play are good for the game. Now that he’s taken down Garcia — the #3 player in the world — I’m looking to see what happens when he goes head-to-head with the #1 player. I can’t see Kim being intimidated.
Regarding world rankings, #2 Phil Mickelson still can’t seem to do anything right in the Ryder Cup. Playing with Kim, every ball seemed to go left into the Woods. On Sunday he was smoked by Justin Rose in a match that was never close. Should the Ryder Cup be a showcase for Mickelson’s swashbuckling style? Mickelson is now 10-14-6 in Ryder Cup play, surely not what you’d expect from the second best player in the world.
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.