Ryder Cup Clippings, Final Edition

T1_0924_ryder3.jpgLots of great coverage, so let the celebration (and questions) begin:

Lawrence Donegan in The Guardian:

The Americans arrived in Dublin as underdogs, played like underdogs and will be cast as underdogs for as long as the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson fail to produce their true form in the context of a team event. Indeed, so one-sided was the contest that at times during yesterday's session of 12 singles matches it seemed the impossible was on the cards - a Ryder Cup without drama.

Fortunately there was enough raw emotion in the air to ensure the day will live long in the memory. Woosnam's victory address will not trouble the compilers of the Oxford Book of 21st Century Speeches but the much-derided Welshman showed a wonderful touch when he sent Clarke out in the seventh tie of the day. Four points ahead overnight, Europe needed 4½ points to win the trophy. This left the Irishman, whose wife Heather died from breast cancer six weeks ago, with the maximum chance of delivering the ending the home crowd and his team-mates so desperately wanted.

Doug Ferguson summarizes each of the singles matches if, God forbid, you want to relive the rout.

Gary Van Sickle on SI.com:

This was the best Ryder Cup because -- and Darren Clarke is going to hate this sentence -- it was all about Darren Clarke. This Ryder Cup belonged to him -- no, it was for him, although he'd be embarrassed by your attention and feel uneasy about your sympathy. Clarke deserved this Ryder Cup week and maybe, if not probably, he needed it. Ryder Cups are always thick with emotion, but there's never been one this emotional.

David Feherty on Golfonline:

You can bet half your ass the American players always care about the event and each other, and bet the other cheek on the fact that this carousel will come around. It will come around even quicker if all fans of American golf get behind it and push.

Moving into the "what-to-do-next" division, Scott Michaux in the Augusta Chronicle offers a few thoughts, but first he has to get this off his chest:

The only thing more embarrassing than the final result was DiMarco fist-pumping his birdie on the 17th hole that extended his match with Lee Westwood. His comeback effort from five down with seven to go against a player who was ill overnight and carrying a fever on the course was meaningful only to himself. It was like doing a dance after a sack with your team trailing by seven touchdowns. Hitting two balls in the water on the 18th was his just reward.

The Golf Gazette's Ken Carpenter offers his suggestions for turning things around on the U.S. side.

Have you ever seen wives and girlfriends jumping on the pile after a team wins the World Series? No. Do significant others wear matching “uniforms” at an NFL game? No. Do NBA organizations allow wives and girlfriends to travel on the team plane? Rarely, if ever. Do significant others march into an Olympic stadium during the opening ceremonies? Never.

There were reports last week that the wives were in the USA’s team room when captain Tom Lehman was addressing the troops. Has Bill Belichick ever invited the girls into the Super Bowl locker room? Yeah, right . . .


Motivate Mickelson: If Phil Mickelson wants to “shut it down” after the PGA Championship every year, then he should give up his spot on the team and go to the beach. In the last two Ryder Cups he’s 1-7-1; in the last two Presidents Cups he’s 3-5-2 — that’s an abysmal 4-12-3 record, totally unacceptable for someone annually ranked in the top three in the world. In 2008, Mickelson needs to play his way into shape prior to the event — assuming he isn’t fully retired by that point.

ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski weighs in on the what-to-do-about-the-U.S. subject, as does AP's Jim Litke, who talks to Michael Jordan about what ails America.

James Lawton in the Independent says the Americans need to start playing better or the Ryder Cup will be diminished.

The truth, and it is a bitter one for anyone embracing the idea that the Ryder Cup has a format and a tradition that makes it one of the great jewels of the sporting universe, is that the long months of hype, the millions of euros of investment, delivered something rather less than glittering. What was forthcoming was not a serious collision of some of the most talented and best rewarded sportsmen in the world but another day when the blue of Europe covered the scoreboard almost as though it was spilling from a can of paint. It meant that those who believed the humiliation inflicted on the United States in Michigan two years ago would concentrate the collective mind of an American team boasting four major winners - Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, David Toms and Jim Furyk against Europe's one, Jose Maria Olazabal - to make a real contest this time were not so much confounded as embarrassed.

The Telegraph featured this commentary by David Leadbetter, who writes:

But in its structure, the American golf system is simply not set up for these grand team events. Even at junior level, the focus is overwhelmingly on individual scores, rather than team dynamics. An event such as the Ryder Cup, squeezed into an already tight schedule, is almost a nuisance to them.

Douglas Lowe looks at Tom Lehman's dismissive response to the idea of adding Canada and South America to the U.S. Ryder Cup equation.

I'm not so sure. Lorena Ochoa might be an upgrade?

T1_0924_ryder6.jpgMartin Johnson approached the same topic but also covered Woosie's celebratory cleansing:

In the battle of the captains, Ian Woosnam had the easier job because he had the better players, and it was no great surprise when the Ryder Cup went to a bloke who wasn't much taller than the trophy itself. After spending months practising his speeches in front of the bedroom mirror, one of golf's great bon viveurs had promised himself a small libation at the end of it all, but we didn't think this would involve an attempt to down an entire jeroboam of champagne in one herculean swig.

The end result was a blowback of such Vesuvian proportions that the eruption of escaping champagne flew out of every visible orifice bar Woosie's ears.

Back to the state of U.S. golf, Thomas Boswell in the Washington Post:

Lehman insisted that his players were "prepared" and played "their best" with "heart and courage." Because it's presumably true, that only makes these back-to-back 18 1/2 -9 1/2 scores more damaging to the PGA Tour's reputation. Asked if more such wipeouts might send this mega-money-making event "back in the other direction" toward lessened popularity, Lehman said: "That sounds a little insulting. . . . Things have cycles. There will be a time when we'll be sitting here saying to the Europeans, 'Is this [event] in danger of becoming a little bit in trouble because the American team is on top?'

"That will happen."

Image buffs, SI's shots from Sunday are here, Golf Digest's here. Golfonline's do not feature a direct link.

Oh, and it was an unnamed photographer from Getty Images who captured the shot of Stevie losing Tiger's 9-iron. Nice work Stevie! tiger1.jpg

Rob Hodgett on the BBC blog analyzes the Dublin comedy festival that broke out during the Euro press conference. I think it's one of those "you had to be there" deals. It did seem funnier on TV.

The Chicago Tribune's Ed Sherman looks ahead to 2012, yes, 2012 and Medinah, forecasting the U.S. roster for those matches. 

Here's a guess at the makeup of the U.S. squad at Medinah:

Captain: Davis Love III. The six-time Ryder Cup player will get his shot.
Woods: Might have 21 majors by then.
Furyk: Will he still be paired with Woods?
Chad Campbell: Looks to be a U.S. fixture.
Zach Johnson: Performed well as a rookie in 2006.
Vaughn Taylor: Fellow players are very high on him.
Ryan Moore: Expect him to be a star.
Ben Curtis: Proved that 2003 British Open victory wasn't a fluke.
Lucas Glover: Big hitter could make Ryder debut in 2008.
Sean O'Hair: A load of potential that should be fulfilled.
J.B. Holmes: Long hitter could be a Ryder Cup force.
Captain's picks:
Mickelson: Star sliding, but Love still takes him.
Michelle Wie: She couldn't do any worse than her predecessors.

Mark Garrod confirms that Phil Mickelson is not playing in this week's AmEx event in England.

And finally, Hodgetts at the BBC blog has the quotes of the final day.