2014 Ryder Cup: The Ultimate In Match Play Golf


Sep 23, 2014; Auchterarder,Perthshire, SCT; Team USA poses with the Ryder Cup trophy during a photo shoot before a practice round for the 2014 Ryder Cup at The Gleneagles Hotel-PGA Centenary Course. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret around Pro Golf Now that I love match-play golf, and it just doesn’t get any better than the Ryder Cup. I enjoy the Accenture Match Play Championships every year, as well as the Presidents Cup during the off-year, but the top of the mountain, is the Ryder Cup. Twelve of our best players, manu e manu against their twelve best players, in an environment that rivals European Soccer, and College Football here at home.

Who can forget Medinah? I’m sure that eight members of this year’s Team USA will never forget Sunday afternoon, and the agony of defeat they felt on Sunday afternoon as they watched Team Europe pop champagne bottles and rub the last-minute defeat in their collective faces.

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And who can forget the charge in the crowd when Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson, and Phil Mickelson rallied the raucous crowd on Friday and Saturday when were fairways were hit, and putts were rolling in like fresh coffee on a cold morning?

How did it end so badly on Sunday afternoon? Two words…..Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk. Both came to Medinah on the heels of less than stellar seasons, and I think they were so excited that they were picked by Captain Davis Love III to fill out the twelve-man roster that they forgot to pack their putters.

I remember pointing out in articles after the Sunday meltdown, if either of them could have made one putt that counted during the tournament, the Ryder Cup would have had a home in the US for the past two years instead of residing in Europe.

Jim Furyk was never the same in 2012 after he double-crossed his driver on the 16th hole at the Olympic Club, handing the US Open to Webb Simpson, and Steve Stricker looked tired at the John Deere Classic, where he was unable to win his fourth consecutive tractor trophy.

Stricker is one of the best putters on the planet, even giving tips to Tiger Woods, and Furyk is the ultimate grinder on the greens, but neither could roll the rock in the hole down the stretch at Medinah.

The Euro’s have always approached the Ryder Cup with a different attitude than most of our American players. Team USA has typically had trouble with the team concept where the Euro’s embrace it. They love the team competition, they play well together, and Captain Tom Watson is going to have his hands full trying to rally the troops at Gleneagles, and bring the trophy home.

Other than Rory McIlroy’s two majors, Team USA has more major winners, better stats, and on paper look to have the 2014 Ryder Cup well in hand, but Team USA lacks that It factor that the Euro’s will bring to the game.

Even though both teams have players that have cooled somewhat down the stretch and well into the FedEx Cup playoffs, this should be a great tournament. Players from both teams have had a grueling 2013-2014 season with the new wrap-around rules, but I think the week off will recharge these guys and we should see some great match-play competition at Gleneagles this weekend.

I wasn’t particularly thrilled with Captain Tom’s picks, but with the picks needing to be made before the end of the FedEx Cup Playoffs were finished because of logistics, I think he did as well as could be expected.

If Billy Horschel had not hit that squirrely six iron at TPC Boston, and had Chris Kirk made that putt on 72nd hole, Team USA might well have looked a little different, and maybe a bit stronger.

What ever transpires over the weekend, let’s get on board and rally this team to a victory at Gleneagles, and watch them celebrate in Scotland. And most of all, bring the Ryder Cup home where it belongs!