Let’s start right here: I don’t actually see how the team captain of one of the Ryder Cup squads can possibly really change the outcome of the event. Sure Nick Faldo sat some of his big hitters — Robert Karlsson, and Paul Casey, for example — but did that actually change the outcome of the matches overall more than say, the fact Sergio Garcia couldn’t figure out how to hit a 5-iron and Lee Westwood someone forgot how to win?
I guess it doesn’t matter — Garcia is a hero in the Ryder Cup who will play in it again and is to be forgiven. Nick Faldo, on the other hand, was a remarkable player, though not one much loved, and now the British press have sensed blood in the water. Nick hasn’t been this battered since former girlfriend, Brenna Cepelak, beat on his Porsche 959 with his 7-iron.
“Bungling Faldo to Blame..” read the headline in the Scotsman, while the Times said “Faldo Must Carry Can For Lack of Order.” Carry can? Must be Euro speak for something, but I haven’t a clue what. The Times takes Faldo to task for letting his players pick the singles order:
There we were marking Faldo down as a man who wanted to micro-manage this team to victory when the reality was that he sat in the Brown Hotel in Louisville allowing his players to dictate strategy, like Sven-GÃƒ¶ran Eriksson in his last days as England head coach. How old-fashioned of us to think that selection was the captain’s business.
But let’s be honest — what is the captain’s role? Cheerleader? Strategist? Some of both? Neither?
The Times says the players were willing to “take the bullets” for Faldo, but I wonder if these comments are more accurate than most are willing to admit:
From Lee Westwood: We hold the golf clubs and we hit the shots, not the captain. Sergio GarcÃƒa: If I would have played better and won my match, maybe we would be talking and writing a different story. It has nothing to do with Nick.
Is Faldo a dislikeable guy? I think that much is clear. Is he smarmy with an uneasy sense of humor? Clearly. But is he to blame for blowing the Ryder Cup? I don’t see it. I mean Tom Lehman had strong plans for Ireland two years ago, but his players floundered and the US disappeared. I think the Irish Times has it correct in saying that Europe’s three best players — Harrington, Westwood and Garcia — “turned up, but didn’t show up.”
And remember Faldo was widely criticized for picking Ian Poulter (myself included in this). But where would the UK have been without him?
I’m not sure Faldo is blameless, and he can be a self-interested ass, but I don’t think he’s to blame for the failure of the European team.
I love the ridiculous comments from pundits that suggest the US is better off without Tiger on the Ryder Cup team and that the win on the weekend proves that. Huh? I mean Phil Mickelson doesn’t have a great record in the event, so he should go as well? Even if Tiger plays in five matches and wins all five — including four of which are partner events — he can only win or lose five points. Last I looked you needed 14.5 to win.
Don’t tell that to the columnist at the Bleacher Report who says:
Hopefully in two years, Team USA can go overseas and defend their Ryder Cup with or without Mr. Woods (Personally, I say scratch Eldrick from the roster).
This one, from a San Diego columnist, goes one further — the Ryder Cup is apparently better without the world’s best golfer. Really?
But the Ryder Cup may be better without him. The American team is more likely better without him.
Crazy to say, maybe, but look at the result Sunday. Look at how much fun the Americans had. Look at the camaraderie they shared. Compare that with the dour grinding they’d done over most of the past decade of Ryder Cup play, when Woods couldn’t overpower Europe alone in three straight terrible losses.
I guess this makes good column copy, but it doesn’t make much sense. Think about it — the argument goes like this: Woods wasn’t there and the U.S. team won. If Woods had been there, maybe the US wouldn’t have won. So Woods shouldn’t be allowed to come to the Ryder Cup. Of course, the US won the Presidents Cup with him, so I’m sure it is okay if he continues to play that one.
Now that makes a lot of sense.