IT MAY JUST BE COINCIDENCE, but Team U.S.A. enjoyed its biggest margin of victory in the Ryder Cup for 27 years WITHOUT the world’s greatest golfer, Tiger Woods.
After three consecutive defeats in golf’s premier team tournament, the United States gave the Euros a does of their own medicine at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.
For the last ten years or so, the Ryder Cup has seemed of far greater importance to the European players and their fans than it has to the Americans.
Now the wheel has turned full circle as the Europeans returned home complaining of being abused by a partisan crowd.
Lee Westwood was unwilling to state exactly what was said to him, but he did reveal one of the comments was “a particularly nasty reference to my mother.” He also claimed his parents had been awoken by a 4.30am phone call on Sunday.
The British media have criticized captain Nick Faldo for his team selections and some inappropriate comments, notably when he told fans to “bring your waterproofs” to the 2010 Ryder Cup, which is being held in Wales.
Unlikely heroes win back Ryder Cup
That’s just Faldo, the man who once said: “I would like to thank the press from the heart of my bottom.”
The reason why Europe lost the Ryder Cup is simple. Their ‘Big Three’ – Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia and Westwood – could not manage one win between them.
Garcia and Westwood had both been ill in the lead-up to the competition while Harrington said he was “fatigued” after winning back-to-back Majors.
In contrast, the U.S.A. had unlikely heroes in Kentuckians JB Holmes and Kenny Perry, along with Boo Weekley and Anthony Kim.
Paul Azinger managed to achieve something that previous U.S. captains had not: unity among his team. Even Phil Mickelson, in the absence of Woods the Americans’ only real superstar, bought into the team ethic.
That’s why if Azinger returns as captain in 2010, he won’t be too concerned should Woods be unavailable again.