A few thoughts about the 2008 Ryder Cup, in no particular order.
I am naturally glad to see the Ryder Cup return to the United States—not just for jingoistic reasons (though there is a great deal of that)—but also because golf benefits when such events are competitive. In an ideal world, the Cup would change hands every two years, with the Euros winning on their home turf, and the US winning on its.
Paul Azinger should be proud. He made some solid Captain’s picks, and they came through for him. In particular, Hunter Mahan and JB Holmes really shined. Mahan lead all American players with 3.5 points, and Holmes tied several others for second with 2.5.
Steve Stricker was the weak link, getting just half a point in three matches. I think he might have been a good pick LAST year, when he was riding a hot streak. I think I would have gone with Rocco Mediate instead. He’s a real scrappy player, as illustrated by his US Open performance.
I’m really glad for Kenny Perry. He laid it all on the line this year to make the team, taking a great deal of criticism for skipping majors. But his goal was to cap his career with a Ryder Cup victory in his home state. He got his wish.
Kenny strikes me as one of the good guys on tour. That he has remained in Kentucky, eschewing the typical golf millionaire trappings in Florida or Arizona speaks volumes. One of these days, I’m going to drive down and play the course that he built for his hometown.
Anthony Kim is going to be a real star. But I think I’m going to get tired of him very quickly. Those AK belt buckles are obnoxious. And his goal of becoming known as “the baddest man on the planet” doesn’t give me any hope.
Maybe he’ll settle down as he gets older. Otherwise, he could become America’s Sergio Garcia—hopefully minus the cup spitting.
Booooo. Does anything else need be said?
I will add something else. I love it when he answers the television interviewers with “Yes Sir” and “No Sir.” I’ve read several times that Sam Snead cultivated the “hick” image for his benefit. I don’t think Boo is cultivating anything. He is what he is.
On the European side, the big story has to be the disappointing performances of Harrington, Garcia and Jiminez. Garcia has built a reputation as a Ryder Cup star. You wouldn’t know it from this year’s performance.
Padraig Harrington, I’ve heard had a bad neck. If that’s so, he has an excuse. But perhaps he should have taken a medical leave like Luke Donald. Surely a healthy Monty would have fared better than a gimpy Harrington.
Speaking of Luke Donald, he was very much needed. And I think that Johnny Miller was right when he said that the European team also needed Monty. And Darren Clarke. And Olazabal.
Ian Poulter clearly was the star of the European team. Faldo made an excellent choice there.
If I’m behind going into the last day, I lead with my best, and hottest players. Garcia going first was a good idea, given his history. But I would have had Poulter second. You’ve got to do something to try to take the crowd out of it, and a crushing victory by Poulter would have done the trick.
I thought it a bit of an oversight when the announcers kept saying that the Ryder Cup had the world’s best players. Not quite so. The event doesn’t include such stalwarts as Vijay Singh, Mike Weir, Ernie Els, Rory Sabbatini, Geoff Ogilvy, Aaron Baddeley, etc.
I love the format of the Ryder Cup. It is just so much more interesting than run-of-the-mill PGA tour events. I really think that the PGA Tour should look into doing some events in a match play – team play format. To help ensure that the best players are still there on the weekend, they could use a round robin, or double elimination format.
The President’s Cup is next year at Harding Park in San Francisco. I look forward to it.
Does the Nationwide Tour have a similar event?
Once again, the American crowds were wildly enthusiastic. And once again, the European team resented it. If they want to continue playing the Cup, they’re just going to have to get used to it. We’re just not as sophisticated or cosmopolitan as the Europeans. None of that post-modern, deconstructionist stuff for us here in Middle America. We love out country and love to see our representatives do well.
Just a thought. Do the fans at European soccer matches sit quietly and appreciate the efforts of the opposing team, not saying a word for fear of offending someone’s sensibilities?
In a perverse way, I’m glad the American fans were raucous. Now the Euros can stop whining about Brookline and focus on whining about Valhalla. The whole Brookline thing had gotten old about six months after that event was over.