No Rocco, No Ryder Cup for Captain Paul Azinger and American squad
I was a pretty big fan of Paul Azinger’s captain style in the Ryder Cup proceedings. I liked how he took some jabs at European Captain Nick Faldo in pre-tournament interview sessions and I like how he’s been at Valhalla several times catering the course to the American’s suitability.
He was also very nice to my grandma once on Hilton Head Island, which obviously scores serious points.
Well, that’s all out the window now, thanks to his captain’s picks and his decision to pass up on his good friend Rocco Mediate.
Mediate’s broken up about it and he should be, he’s been one of the most electrifying players of 2008.
I know he’s not the best player available, but he’s the X-factor. He’s a short, straight-hitter. He would have galleries riled up and his fidgety demeanor would have his opponents off-balance. He’s a gambler who stood up to more pressure in the final two days of the U.S. Open than any other golfer has done versus Tiger Woods in a major that I can think of.
Rocco resembled the underdog demeanor the Americans needed. Not Chad Campbell. No offense to the guy but he’s done nothing all year and hasn’t been a factor in any majors. He shouldn’t have even been on the short list. I can’t figure it out.
And Hunter Mahan? You have to be serious. Last month he openly denounced the Ryder Cup and called it the Tour equivalent of slave labor (relax, Hunter, you don’t have to serve the finger foods at these black tie pre-tournament functions). Now he’s changed his tune, most likely after his agent or his mother gave him an earful.
I don’t care how excited he sounds, he’s not going to be nearly as juiced as anyone on the European squad. You can’t fake intensity. I would have given him a few years to be left out before giving him another shot after he’d changed his tune.
I am okay with J.B. Holmes because like Kenny Perry, he’s a Kentucky native. He’s also fared well in Walker Cup competition.
But 2008 has been the year of Rocco. Omitting the surefire spark plug was a big mistake for Azinger and now I’m afraid the Euros have the edge once again.
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Rocco is the ultimate scrappy fighter, the type of guy who'd be hustling rubes out of their cash in golf matches if he hadn't made it as a pro.
And you go with Chad Campbell over that?
shocking for that reason.
Europe by 10 points.
Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Ian Poulter, Colin Montgomerie and Paul Casey are all better players than Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, J.B. Holmes and Chad Campbell.
The reason why is simple. European golfers learn target golf, and American golfers usually grow up playing courses with wide fairways, shallow bunkers and short rough. The European team, as usual, looks better than the American team, and I don't expect Europe to lose.