LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Europeans found themselves in a foreign place Sunday: watching the Americans take back the Ryder Cup they've won in convincing fashion three times since 2002.
Captain Nick Faldo's order of singles is going to be criticized by the European press, as he put four of his best players out last. Sergio Garcia, who lost 5 and 4 to Anthony Kim in the opening pairing at Valhalla Golf Club, defended Faldo's choices.
"At the end of the day, it comes down to playing well," said Garcia. "If I would have played better and won my match, maybe we would be writing a different story. It has nothing to with Nick. It's not his fault."
After winning the year's final two majors, Ireland's Padraig Harrington struggled in the FedEx Cup and went winless in four matches this week. Harrington anchored the European team Sunday in what was supposed to be a mismatch versus Chad Campbell but fell behind in the match.
"The minute the overall match was over, any bit of spark that was in my game was just gone."
After giving the Ryder Cup his all, he said he's ready to call it a 2008 season.
"I know I'm fatigued in many ways and struggling at times," he said. "I can't wait for the end of the season; I'm definitely tired."
One fan at Valhalla took all the "Boo's!" a little too literally.
Lee Westwood has been critical of the fans ever since his afternoon match on Friday versus Boo Weekley and J.B. Holmes. Friday would turn out to be the tamest fans were all week around Westwood. He was jeered Saturday after complaining about the crowd favorites.
On Sunday, he was really spooked. Walking between the fifth green and sixth tee, a fan in a ghost costume jumped inside the ropes in front of Westwood and yelled "Boo!" to a startled Westwood. The fan was ejected, but Westwood said the wrong person was thrown out.
"He was the one that got ejected, but he was the one that made me laugh," said Westwood. "All of the abuse that I got was fairly nasty, and that was pretty shameful."
Westwood also said his hotel room was crank called at 12:30 a.m. the night before the match, and his father was called at 4:30 a.m.
"They must have dialed the wrong Westwood," he said.
It was Valhalla's 18th hole that was a ghost town Sunday.
After 9 of 16 matches went to the final hole the first two days, only Hunter Mahan and Paul Casey's match went to the 18th Sunday, leaving thousands of fans with no action but the video scoreboard for most of the afternoon.
That won't be a problem in 2010. When the Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor Resort was built for the Ryder Cup Matches, the closing three holes were built along a hillside, which will serve as a natural amphitheater and will be able to accommodate more than 40,000 spectators, where they will be able to watch action on all of the closing holes.
September 22, 2008
Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.
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