Just a few thoughts as we view the wreckage of the U.S. Ryder Cup effort this weekend:
– First, remember that for the first two days of these matches, the United States completely outplayed Europe. Completely. 10-6 is a huge margin to build in the first two days of the event. Europe was remarkably flat the first two days with the exception of Ian Poulter. The Americans were on fire.
–Davis Love is going to get more than his share of blame for the loss, as all captains do, and Jose Maria Olazabal will get more than his share of credit. But Olazabal was no genius. How did he keep Poulter on the bench the first afternoon? How does the No. 1 player in the world have to zoom onto the course with just 11 minutes to spare until his tee time? Isn’t that part of the captain’s job, to make sure his guys show up?
–That being said, how could Love put himself in a situation where Bradley didn’t play five matches and his two Sunday singles anchors were his two worst players of the week?
–Don’t be surprised that Tiger Woods didn’t play well. Tiger Wood is not a great Ryder Cup play. Woods is now 13-17-3 in seven Ryder Cup appearances. And Phil Mickelson is just 14-18-6.
–Credit to Rory McIlroy, who would have been destroyed in Europe if he had pulled his late-appearing act and lost and somehow cost Europe the Cup. And Luke Donald, well, Sunday was a reminded that he is a world-class player.
–Let the debate begin about who will take the U.S. captain’s job in 2014. Larry Nelson is a popular name, but his time may have past. Fred Couples is a popular name, but the PGA may not like the idea that Couples is going to spend the next year as Presidents Cup captain, taking away from his time as possible Ryder Cup captain. Jim Fuyrk’s too young, Steve Stricker likely wants one more run at making the team as a player. Jeff Sluman? Mark O’Meara? Honestly, it seems like slim pickings for the PGA of America. How about a reprise by Paul Azinger? Well, that’s not the way things work now.
–When Martin Kaymer said winning the Ryder Cup was a bigger deal to him than winning a major championship — Kaymer has a PGA title — it probably spoke to the very heart of the issue. I can’t think of an American who would believe the Ryder Cup is a bigger deal than the U.S. Open or the Masters.
—The next Ryder Cup is in Scotland. After that, the event returns to the States in 2016 at Hazeltine in Minnesota.