The US had their backsides handed to them yesterday, losing to the European squad 18½ to 9½ in the 35th Ryder Cup matches at Oakland Hills Golf Club in Detroit, Michigan. Not only did the US lose the Ryder Cup, but it did so in an unprecedented fashion: losing by the largest margin in the 77-year history of the Ryder Cup.
"We haven't been winning it," Davis Love III said. "If they keep bringing the cup back on their airplane, we are the underdog." No kidding, Davis. The US has lost seven of the last ten Ryder Cups and shows no signs of reversing that trend. The same comments were made before this Ryder Cup as have always been made: "The Euros have more chemistry," "It means more to them," and - our favorite - "They have more heart."
Winners for the US team Sunday were few and far between: Tiger Woods didn't lose a single hole in his 3&2 win over Paul Casey. Davis Love III halved his match against Darren Clarke after being two up with three to play, and Chris DiMarco 1-upped Miguel Angel Jimenez. Jim Furyk won convincingly - 6&4 - over Cup Rookie David Howell, as did Chad Campbell, winning 5&3 over Luke Donald.
Match 1: Tiger Woods (US) def. Paul Casey (EUR) 3&2 Match 2: Sergio Garcia (EUR) def. Phil Mickelson (US) 3&2 Match 3: Davis Love III (US) ties Darren Clarke (EUR) Match 4: Jim Furyk (US) def. David Howell (EUR) 6&4 Match 5: Lee Westwood (EUR) def. Kenny Perry (US) 1up Match 6: Colin Montgomerie (EUR) def. David Toms (US) 1up Match 7: Chad Campbell (US) def. Luke Donald (EUR) 5&3 Match 8: Chris DiMarco (US) def. Miguel Angel Jimenez (EUR) 1up Match 9: Thomas Levet (EUR) def. Fred Funk (US) 1up Match 10: Ian Poulter (EUR) def. Chris Riley (US) 3&2 Match 11: Padraig Harrington (EUR) def. Jay Haas (US) 1up Match 12: Paul McGinley (EUR) def. Stewart Cink (US) 3&2
Said Captain Hal Sutton of the questioning that will ensue: "That will be debated until the day I die," he said. "They've debated past and future captains, and I knew it was part of the job. I'm not going to second-guess myself." That's what we're here for: The team of Tiger and Phil was horrid, as was the decision to pair them twice. Phil's "mistake" in switching to new clubs before the Ryder Cup was just that: a mistake. The big four: Tiger, Phil, Davis, and Jim (Furyk) produced very little.
The US team won only one session of play - the Saturday morning four-ball - and was thrubbed in the others.
US EUR Sunday Singles 4½ 7½ Saturday Foursomes 1 3 Saturday Four-ball 2½ 1½ Friday Foursomes 1 3 Friday Four-ball ½ 3½
Fred Funk and Kenny Perry, each playing in his first Ryder Cup, were the only players who failed to win a point. Mickelson was 1-3 (and sat out a match) and Woods went 2-3, losing twice with Mickelson on Friday and winning as a single and paired with Chris Riley (who begged out of the afternoon foursomes) in the Saturday morning four-ball. He lost with Davis Love III in Saturday foursomes.
Garcia and Westwood were the European stars, each going 4-0-1. And when Thomas Levet beat Funk for his first point of the week, he assured every European player contributed something to this record victory.
The US and Europe will next compete in 2006 at the K Club in Dublin, Ireland, where the US will once again be the "on-paper" favorite. Real golf fans know better (and did this year too). Let the second guessing and analysis begin…