What a weekend in Louisville. There’s so much to talk about regarding the 37th Ryder Cup, where do I start?
The two main factors in the U.S. victory were stellar play by the rookies and the non-existence of the European stalwarts, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, and Padraig Harrington.
Seriously, what happened to Padraig Harrington? A month ago, the man was unbeatable. I posted a photo of him with the caption, “Who wants a piece of this man at the Ryder Cup?” But he was downright horrid over the weekend, earning a mere half point over the course of his four matches.
Garcia earned one point in four matches and was just obliterated by Anthony Kim in the lead-off match on Sunday. He just seemed completely overmatched yesterday. Kim came out firing and never let up.
On the first hole, both players stuck their second shots to about two feet. Garcia asked Kim if he wanted to “good, good” the putts and go. Kim said he wanted to putt out. Garcia promptly made his putt, picked up Kim’s marker, and moved on. The testy battle was on. Not to compare Kim to the great Tiger, but, okay, I will. His style of flashy play reminds me of the Great One.
The American rookies—talk about six guys who came to play. Hunter Mahan and the aforementioned Kim really stand out in my mind. His 18th hole bogey not withstanding, Mahan’s clutch birdie putt on 17 came at a time when the entire Cup looked wide open. The American lead was slipping and there were a lot of even matches out there.
Just look at the rookies’ records over the course of the three days: Kim (2-1-1); Mahan (2-0-3); Weekly (2-0-1); Holmes (2-0-1); Stricker (0-2-1); Curtis (1-1-1). That’s a combined record of 9-4-8 for the American newcomers. What I thought might be the Americans’ greatest vulnerability turned out to be their greatest strength. We’ll be seeing a lot more of these guys in the coming years.
And Kenny Perry…he received much criticism for not playing in the British Open, for saying the Ryder Cup meant more to him than the Majors. But Perry played like this event was the last golf he would ever play. I read a stat from the Elias Sports Bureau today: Perry has played in 1,872 rounds on the PGA Tour, and only once in his career has he started as well as he did yesterday. He showed up.
As for the Euros, Ian Poulter played better than anyone on both teams, amassing a 4-1 record over the weekend. Poulter made everything inside of 15 feet. Graeme McDowell (Go UAB!) and Justin Rose are the other two notables on the European team. Without these three guys, especially Poulter and Rose, the 37th Cup would have been a blowout. Look for these two to make a run at some Majors very soon.
The crowd looked amazing. It really reminded me of an SEC football game. That’s just as loud, boisterous, and obnoxious as a golf gallery can get. The highlight, or lowlight—depending on whom you were cheering for—was Garcia’s walk of shame on the 7th hole.
After dumping two balls in the water, Garcia conceded the hole to Kim and had to walk a lonely 300 yards to the next tee, promptly getting jeered the entire way. It’s the only time you will ever see a golf crowd resemble a wrestling crowd.
2010, Celtic Manor in Wales. If it were up to me, I’d just keep those same 12 guys together and let ‘em play in 2010. But, of course, it doesn’t work that way.
And your 2010 Ryder Cup Captain? I’m putting money on Corey Pavin. But Davis Love III is another solid candidate. Anyway, two more years of speculation. Let the fun begin.