Instead of writing the news (does anyone not know the Euros won today), I attempted an analysis of why they won. The resulting column is up at Sympatico, along with a post on Terry Matthews’ role at the Ryder Cup and five courses worth playing in Wales.
Here’s a taste:
On paper it looked like a the Americans should simply overpower their lighter-hitting European counterparts.
The U.S. team that went to Wales was full of big hitters – Watson, Mickelson, Woods, Overton, Johnson – but the team that prevailed was the one that found fairways and greens. It may have come down to the 17th hole of the final singles match, but the truth is only a last-minute surge by the Americans made this Ryder Cup a contest.
It could be summed up best by a tearful Hunter Mahan, who lost the final match for the winning point to Irishman Graeme McDowell on the 17th hole after he flubbed a chip.
“[McDowell] played great today, didn’t miss a shot,” said Mahan, tearing up. “He hit a bunch of key putts. That birdie on 16, after I got it to one down, was huge. He just beat me today.”
The numbers suggest the Ryder Cup was very close, but the truth is that – as Mahan said in reference to McDowell – the European team just beat the Americans. For three days they outplayed the U.S. team, though they came close to giving away that advantage in singles play, which was held over to Monday because of rainy weather.
Several Euro players – Martin Kaymer, Francesco Molinari, Padraig Harrington – got smoked on the final day, making the tournament appear closer than it was outside of the singles matches. The apparent American advantage of length was completely overwhelmed by pesky short hitters – think Luke Donald or Ian Poulter – who found fairways and greens, and then put their putters to work.
With that in mind, let’s look at the pars and bogeys for now defeated U.S. Captain Corey Pavin and European leader Colin Montgomery, who adds this victory to a stellar Ryder Cup record.
The rest of the column is here.