Big Changes for Ryder Cup
So this is what the United States thinks it takes to stop getting its collective ass kicked and try to win the next Ryder Cup. After having the Euros whip the Americans in 6 of the last 7, and 9 of the last 13 Ryder Cups, the PGA of America, which is in charge of the U.S. Ryder Cup team, has decided put together a Task Force to solve the problems. The task force consists of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Rickie Fowler, Davis Love, Raymond Floyd, Tom Lehman and three PGA of America officials. This announcement has so intimidated the Europeans that Lee Westwood Tweeted “What a massive pat on the back & confidence booster it is for Europe that team USA needs to create a Ryder Cup task force!!!”
Now we’ve got ’em where we want ’em. The task force hasn’t been told exactly when they will report any decisions or what their actual job is supposed to accomplish, but we now have a task force so everything should be okay, right? It’s going to take more than a task force to figure out what the American team needs to change to finally get back to winning the Ryder Cup on a regular basis. I’ve got a few ideas; first they need to pick a captain who isn’t just a former major winner with some skins on the wall and pat him on the back and say…”this is for all those years of dedication on the PGA Tour and winning millions of dollars.” They need to pick a captain like we pick Olympic coaches or World Cup soccer coaches. Get a guy who you like, pay him a salary and let him coach the Ryder Cup team for the next 2 or 3 Ryder Cups. That’s a good 4-6 year gig that will let him see which players play best under pressure, who should be matched up with who, etc.
Paul McGinley was the European captain in Scotland last month. Do you know how he gave the Euro’s an advantage? He paired European players together on regular European Tour events over the past 2 years to see how they played together. If he didn’t like the pairing he changed it up and it didn’t cost them anything. The Americans only think to pair guys up the week before the Ryder Cup, if they don’t work out it’s too late to correct it. That’s just one idea.
Another would be to let the captain make his at large picks AFTER all of the tournaments have been played. Billy Horschel was the best American player after the final event, the Tour Championship, which he won. The problem was that Tom Watson had to make his captain’s picks 2 weeks before that and so the U.S. didn’t have the hottest player on the planet on its team.
Maybe this latest embarrassment at the hands of the Europeans was enough to spark some serious change in the PGA of America. The Ryder Cup is better than the Olympics or the World Cup because it’s every 2 years, not every four, and every other year it’s played on American soil. And if America starts to win again I seriously think it will grow even more popular. It brings out the patriotism that even non-sports and non-golf fans can get caught up in. My wife even got up with me at 5:00 am to watch the matches in Scotland. It may have taken another beating to light a fire under the PGA of America but now, finally, we may actually see the fire carry over to the players and make the Ryder Cup the greatest event in the history of the world. Or at least, better than watching our guys get their asses kicked by guys from Finland for God’s sake.