Ryder Cup Day Three: Sorry guys, but you might at least have made a fight of it
Let the excuses begin. For PGA commissioner Tom Finchem the Americans were outputted. For Captain Tom Lehman they never got momentum. For others it was lack of American team culture (you don’t have teams in America then?). For Scott Verplank the problem was something he knew (but didn’t tell us), adding hurriedly that it wasn’t the PGA of America, it wasn’t Lehman, in fact it wasn’t anything at all. Confused? Moi?
I’ve got no excuses. Some you win, some you lose. But I am annoyed, because in backing America I believed they would at least come out fighting. Maybe I’ve watched too many John Wayne movies. To be brutally honest, they might as well not have turned up. It fell to one of the BBC’s commentators to describe it as great golf, but not a great contest.
There were legitimate excuses. Europe’s home advantage, especially in the heart of golf-mad Ireland. The sodden weather suited the Europeans more. And Captain Ian Woosnam rubbed his critics’ noses in the dirt with super leadership. How brilliant was persuading Darren Clarke to play as a wildcard? That produced an emotional tidal wave that all but drowned the Americans.
Woosnam must have a huge grin on his face tonight: his other wildcard did him proud too, his team pairings were often inspirational, his decision to ask Colin Montgomerie to lead the singles charge the clincher. The Americans ran away, putting Tiger Woods down the list in what was seen as a sign of weakness.
Some players should bow their heads in shame - can you hear me Lefty? But Lehman must take some responsibility. He was a great gentleman and a huge sportsman, contributing greatly to what has been described as one of the most “human” sporting occasions in memory. But he failed to fire his men and stuck too rigidly to pairings that clearly were not working. And we all know what Verplank really left unsaid.
Finchem poo-pooed the criticism of the selection method but I think it is key. As a measure of recent, let alone current form, the international rankings are a joke. My fellow blogger Tim McDonald says it needs a Jack Nicklaus captaincy to kick pampered millionaire backsides. But I say dare to be more radical and don’t pick the pampered millionaires in the first place. Ah but then the media moguls who really pull the strings would get upset wouldn’t they?
Who were the most successful players? The captain’s picks (when they were allowed to play). And the rookies, excited to be there and feeling they had something to prove. Oh, and of course Colin Montgomerie - a pampered millionaire but one who, while he can’t win majors to save his sporran, is a tough nut in these team events even when not particularly on song. It’s not an American problem, it’s horses for courses!
You don’t want teams picked by committee and rankings. You’ve chosen a captain or a manager - that should include faith in his ability to pick a winning squad (If you really want to win that is rather than just rake in media megabucks).
Ah well, now that’s off my chest, back to the more mundane pleasures of Eric Axley and the Texas Open. At least he’s likely to put up a fight.
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Men, all this stuff you've heard about America not wanting to win the Ryder Cup, wanting to stay out of the competition, is a lot of horse dung. Americans, traditionally, love to win at golf. All real Americans love the sting of winning at match play.
When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball players, the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. Now, I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed (or hugged the guys who just kicked your teeth in). That's why Americans have never lost a Ryder Cup before, until you pansy-assed millionaires decided there wasn’t much worth winning it for – like a fat purse. Because the very thought of losing to the Euros is hateful to Americans.
Dammit Tom, you should’ve let the team see and hear George C. Scott’s opening scene of Patton Friday night...Christ, how can anyone not want to kick ass after something like that…at least die trying, if nothing else.
Look, sportsmanship, mutual respect, and camaraderie are fine, but when you’re on the field of battle you must…”Wade into them. Spill their blood. Shoot them in the belly. When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend's face, you'll know what to do.”
I have faith, I fully expect, whomever might have the honor to be the Captain in 2008, he will leave his boys with this thought as the y stride up to the first tee: We're going to hold onto those Euros by the nose, and we're gonna kick them in the ass. We're gonna kick the hell out of them all the time, and we're gonna go through him like crap through a goose!
WIN IN 2008…or DIE TRYING!
Fun, isn't it? I suppose it is distracting to readers for me to "fat-finger” the keyboard and not correct the typos before posting; my apologies.
. I think a problem with your tour is the fact that (I could be out here) the top 100 or so golfers in the USPGA tour win A million dollars a year. This means that without really having to try they can make a living comfortably. I hope something changes so that more empahsis is put on the Ryder Cup for your countrymen.
Here's to Kentucky in two years see you then.
One proud Irish Man.
The tour does not list email contacts for its headquarters, but it does have a phone no: 904-285-3700. Hope that helps.
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