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RYDER CUP: IN RETOSPECT

The golf world has pretty much returned to normal since last weekend’s Cup with events already underway in America and Europe. To this writer that which happened last weekend borders on the unbelievable. Who would have ever predicted a European landslide on American soil? I haven’t read or heard anything over the week that clarifies in my mind just what transpired or why.

I keep going back to Captain Hal Sutton’s decision to team Woods and Mickelson in the first match on the first day. Their defeat seem to open the floodgates and the Americans never recovered and especially after the same two lost again in the afternoon alternating shot matches. Obviously, there has to be more to the American’s performance deficit than that decision but it was definitely, in my mind, a contributing factor. Another decision I would not have made was Sutton’s obvious choice to seed the Americans by Ryder Cup points. I would have used the 2004 money list standings with consideration being given to prior Cup experience and in so doing and would not have seeded Jim Furyk fourth while he was 111 on the money list. He was out several months following wrist surgery and never really regained his game that allowed him to win the US Open last year.

Using my approach you put Mickelson down as the first seed, Tiger second, Love third and perhaps Cink or DiMarco in the fourth spot. My next four would not necessarily follow the money list. Furyk would be my seventh seed and I would have matched him with Tiger Woods. David Toms would have been my eighth seed and teamed with Mickelson. They have a history of playing well together. Love would have been teamed with Cink, DiMarco with Chad Campbell. You’ve got to think that these eight teamed this way would have gotten off to a much better start. In the afternoon I would have gone with Mickelson, Woods and Love as the top three and choose the fourth seed from how everyone was playing in the morning. I not so sure that I would have used any of the other four left out in the morning especially if the first eight played well early in the first round. You could hold them out until day two. Day one proved to be critical in establishing momentum and team attitudes. You must get off to a good start in the Ryder Cup and not feel like you’re out of it after day one.

The other part of my evaluation is the mind set of the two teams. Americans seem uptight and incapable of playing more relaxed, having some fun. Of course, the Europeans were joyous almost from the start but they were winning which is much more fun than trailing by significant margins. The Europeans seem to have a different attitude about the Ryder Cup, seeming more relaxed, more spirited. Last week I blamed the media for contributing to a “nervous” team attitude. It was in front of the media that Sutton felt it was appropriate to blast Mickelson as if Lefty had lost all 6 ½ points. Look, the Ryder Cup, was and is intended to be a time of good camaraderie, fellowship and sportsmanship among the participants. I assume that originally it was more about rewarding the participants for playing well in the year before the Cup. Having a good time obviously was important. Now, it is like going to war. Perhaps the media, the PGA Tour and the PGA of America have hyped this event beyond where it needs to be. Let’s all think of the Cup more as a fun time and a reward as we move forward. “Nuff” said on the subject.

 


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