Week(s) In Review, Sept. 16-30: The Ryder Cup

WeekInReview2.jpgSome of the highlights from Ryder Cup week, starting with the opening ceremony.

JPB writes: Well, the Americans won the battle of clothes. The Euro outfits were pimptastic and fit in with the Al Czervik development. He did do the condos at the K Club right? It is good to see midcentury Miami golf hustler come back in style. I didn't see the whole thing so I missed the entertainment and whatnot. The sppeches I heard could have been worse. So all in all better than I expected.

Once the matches got going, JPB also noted the painful pace of play: Horrifying that a match could take over 5 hours. Something needs to be done. Even if you are playing for your life, it might not be worth living any longer if a round, especially in match play, takes 5.5 hours. And the Ryder cup is an exhibition, not life or death.

As the rout developed, DAW noted:  Is it not possible that the explanation for the current result is simply that the Europeans are just a tiny bit better, particularly on a familiar course and with the crowd behind them? Why do we have to go through the usual finger-pointing exercise? Is it really that hard for the press to come up with another angle?

And once the rout was complete, Hawkeye wrote: I would just like to say something positive about the US team that has been almost completely overlooked - the fact that the four rookies have scored points in five of the seven matches they have played. Compare that to #1 & #2 in the world scoring points in just three of the eight matches they have played, with two wins and a halve.

LEFTY: In 2008 at Valhalla, Captain Azinger will lead America to a dazzling display an incredible 10 points, five of them scored by crusty, old veteran Tiger Woods, fourth oldest member of a team that also includes Furyk, Chris DiMarco (a captain's pick despite falling to 168th on the OWGR) Mickelson, Ryan Moore, Lucas Glover, Sean O'Hair, Kyle Reifers, Michael Putnam, Anthony Kim, J.B. Holmes and Billy Horshcel. I'm excited already...

F.X. observes: One thing I notice about younger better players is that they aren't interested much in match play with handicaps, as if it is somehow unmanly to put their game to the test except in stroke play. If the very best players we produce are inculcated with this mindset at a young age, what hope do they have of competing in match play at the highest levels? They simply don't perceive it as "real golf." It's just nuts since the whole handicapping system is designed to let players of unequal skill compete as equals at match play. One suggestion: start a movement among high schools to play at least half their matches in Ryder-Cup formats. Get the best young teens tasting fourball and foursomes.

Tim Liddy: Why is it so hard for us to realize that the US does not have the best golfers (as a group) in the world anymore? Why can't someone say it publicly instead of their putts dropped, they play better as a team, etc. They have a better team!

ScottS: There is always discussion around this time about golf being an "individual sport", and that "medal play is the truest test", but it stands out rather strikingly that when those seemingly cardinal principles are infringed on even slightly that all hell breaks loose.  Figures like the top US players tend to be held up in the light of being great as individual players who want nothing less than to dominate and destroy. So, when domination of only half of the field and supporting the other half becomes the game, they seem to faulter.

the village idiot: In America we don't golf with others. We golf by and for ourselves, trying to post our own scores. We don't care for the social interaction of a game. We try to beat our personal best. Says a lot about why we suck at match play, no? For self-obsessed Americans, having to pay attention to how other people are playing is too much of a distraction!

CBell: Surely the Euros are at least the equals of the Yanks at the game, but we don't perceive them in the same light. We'd take a lot more pleasure from seeing Donald Trump lose a contract or, say, be dumped by a supermodel wife than we would from seeing the same thing happen to some lesser-known mogul from afar.  In our hearts it's simple justice meted out by the fickle gods of golf - and divine justice trumps loyalty to the state for all but the shallowest of men.

jneuman: Wilt Chamberlain said nobody roots for Goliath. That's us on the international scene. Rooting for the U.S. is like rooting for the New York Yankees -- we have the most resources by a huge margin, and therefore we really OUGHT to win everything. What fun is it to root for a side playing with a stacked deck?

Mark Holthoff: I think it's because almost no one on the American side seems to be having any fun. While we're busy "gutting it out," the Europeans are enjoying themselves, each other, and the game itself -- and that's a lot more fun to watch.

Sean Murphy:  The United States' next Ryder Cup Captain should be the grossly neglected......Larry Nelson.

And finally, Chuck wrote: It is interesting (and perhaps just a mere coincidence) that one of the greatest extended periods of success for Europe in the Ryder Cup coincides with one of the greatest periods of futility for Europeans in the major chanpionships.