USA has come up on the losing side again in Straffan, Ireland at the K Club, making this the third straight loss in a row. For some reason the USA team seems to be down before they start. They are not playing with the carefree spirit the Europeans have when it comes to the Ryder Cup. It is hard to tell if the Match Play style that starts the Ryder Cup first two days is not their style or they just seem flat. Of course the putts were not dropping and it was said that the European golf courses have slower greens but they had time to practice on them and the putting was a big factor in their loss.
I have always enjoyed watching the Ryder Cup golf as it is a stressful event for the players. The team Match Play is best score of the team in four ball in the morning, followed by alternate shot team play in the afternoon events. Each side teams up two players to match against two players of the opposing side. The team captain may split up the teams as they feel suited in each event. There are twelve members to each side and some players will sit out as the captain deems necessary to have his team best suited against the opposing side.
For some reason the USA team struggles with this format. It may be because this type of tournament is not played that often in America. European events may use this format in their tournaments and their players know how to handle it better. Many years ago the Match Play events were held here more often and used the 36 hole a day as a standard. In the days of Bobby Jones this was normal for golfers to play 36 hole tournaments with 18 in the morning and 18 in the afternoon. This takes stamina and concentration which the USA golfers should prepare for if they ever want to win the Ryder Cup again.
The following is from a web site called www.rydercup.com/2006/usa for the pairing of the final day on Sunday. USA only won three and half points all day Sunday in the singles matches as the rest was won by Europeans with a final of 18 and half points for the Europeans to 9 and half points for USA. The three wins for USA on Sunday were by Tiger Woods, Stewart Cink, Scott Verplank and a tie by J. J. Henry. As I watched from the beginning which started at 6:00 A.M. Central Time and it was all over by 10:00 A.M. as USA lost again.
Montgomerie vs Toms
Garcia vs Cink
Casey vs Furyk
Karlsson vs Woods
Donald vs Campbell
McGinley vs Henry
Clarke vs Johnson
Stenson vs Taylor
Howell vs Wetterich
Olazabal vs Mickelson
Westwood vs DiMarco
Harrington vs Verplank
There were some great shots by the Europeans as two Hole-in-Ones were recorded as many long chip in and long putts. Sergio Garcia won all rounds for the first two days with amazing play. He lost the last day of singles match to Stewart Cink and was out early. He is an amazing player in Match Play and seems to be having the best time it seems the singles match he must have been out of steam. Phil Mickelson only won a half point in the three day event. He just did not show the drive and shot making as he is capable of doing. Tom Lehmann the USA Captain was hopeful on the final day but was not going to predict an upset. He was aware of the strength of the European team as he said, “We have to beat them as they’re not going to give it to us.”
All we have now is to look forward to two years from now to Sept. 16-21, 2008 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. They will be on USA turf and hopefully have learned a few lessons of their defeats by the European team. All they can say is; wait until next time. It is a great tournament to watch and we wish them luck in 2008.