Monday, October 4, 2010

2010 Ryder Cup - Monday Finish Merely a Formality, US Lost on Sunday

Team Europe holds the Ryder Cup after successfully defeating America 14 1/2 points to 13 1/2 on the fourth day of the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor resort in Newport, Wales on October 04 2010.  UPI/Hugo Philpott Photo via Newscom
Hunter Mahan doesn't usually leave his tee shot, on a relatively straightforward par three, twenty yards short of the green. He typically doesn't chunk a twenty yard pitch shot from a perfectly good lie. He, in turn doesn't miss the hole completely with 20 foot putt that for all intentional purposes would have just delayed the inevitable. You see Hunter and his American compatriots had their asses handed to them yesterday, a day when, due to monsoons, six points were up for grabs in various manners. The old golf adage, "Even a blind fox finds a chicken now and then" didn't apply to the US on Sunday as they gagged their way to giving up 5 1/2 of a possible 6 points to the Euros. That was too large an obstacle to climb against the talent the Euros displayed. It was a Herculian effort just to make the final score as close as it was.

Both squads were diverse in age, accomplishments, and backgrounds. One could argue and pick regarding world rankings and captain's selections, but the fact is both teams had prodigious talent and represented the best of what each geographic region had to offer. Hard to quibble with that. In a different vein, I decided that the current world ranking system wouldn't hold up to a pile of spit. No amount of deciphering, or just plain ciphering for that matter, can convince me that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are the top two players in the world right now. I'd hazard a guess that Mrs. McDowell, if there is one, would agree with me.

Congratulations to the Europeans for a hard fought and well deserved victory! The golf was outstanding by both teams and a pleasure to watch.

PS - Will someone that matters please realize that the British Isles in October isn't the best place to schedule ANY tournament, much less one of this import. I don't want to see the world's best play lift, clean, and place. My regular foursome plays it year round and I'm stinkin' sick of it! Screw the FedUp Cup and move the Ryder back. I know, I know, the money, the money.

Til' next,

Sunday, October 3, 2010

2010 Ryder Cup - US Needs Huge Rally in Singles to Retain Cup

A rainbow breaks over the 12th green on the third day of the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor resort in Newport, Wales on October 03 2010.  UPI/Hugo Philpott Photo via Newscom

I mentioned in yesterday's post that the US needed to be tied 8-8 going into the final single's matches. That didn't happen. Not even close. The Euros enjoy a 9 1/2 - 6 1/2 advantage after the rain plagued first four sets of play. Here's the Monday singles line-ups presented by Captains Montgomerie and Pavin....

Singles Match-ups (Europe vs. U.S.)

Lee Westwood vs. Steve Stricker
Rory McIlroy vs. Stewart Cink
Luke Donald vs. Jim Furyk
Martin Kaymer vs. Dustin Johnson
Ian Poulter vs. Matt Kuchar
Ross Fisher vs. Jeff Overton
Migeul Angel Jimenez vs. Bubba Watson
Francesco Molinari vs. Tiger Woods
Edoardo Molinari vs. Rickie Fowler
Peter Hanson vs. Phil Mickelson
Padraig Harrington vs. Zach Johnson
Graeme McDowell vs. Hunter Mahan

You see that Montgomerie has front loaded with his best players in an attempt to go for the jugular early. Arguably his best four players are in the first four matches. He hopes that the efforts of Woods and Mickelson will be moot. The way Mickelson's played it's almost a loss going in anyway. Given our traditional dominance in  singles I'd give us a shot, albeit a somewhat long one. The key are those first four pairings. Stricker, Cink, and Furyk should make a competitive showing. Whether it's enough to make the later matches worth watching remains to be seen. Can anyone say Brookline?

Til' next,

Saturday, October 2, 2010

2010 Ryder Cup - US Up 6 -4, Thanks To Darkness

NEWPORT, WALES - OCTOBER 02: A leaderboard is seen during the Fourball & Foursome Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 2, 2010 in Newport, Wales. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
In the abbreviated world of the rain plagued 2010 Ryder Cup, the US held a 6-4 lead on paper over the favored Euros. That's because when darkness fell the Euros were leading all 6 suspended matches. If ever a time out was required for the US, this was it. Hopefully a good night's rest, (Hear me Tiger??), will inspire the same sort of comeback we enjoyed after day #1's rain delay. 
It seems all the Americans are getting waxed in the Round #2 sessions with little exception. Here's what HAS to occur for the US to have a decent chance in this thing. The Mickelson and Woods' groups are getting pounded. We need Furyk/D.Johnson, 1 down thru 8 to Harrington/Fisher and Cink/Kuchar, 1 down thru 6 to the Brothers Molinari, to win their matches. That would leave the Cup at an 8/8 tie going into the singles matches, in which we're traditionally heavily favored. Simple, isn't it? We're 4 down and 3 down in two of the remaining matches and two down in the others. Granted, there's a ton of golf left to be played, but if we enter the singles tied, or even 2 down, whenever the play is finished, I like our chances. This Average Golfer should have a fairly good idea how this will play out when he awakes, about 1 PM their time.

Til' next,

Friday, October 1, 2010

2010 Ryder Cup - Rain in Wales? I'm Stunned.

U.S. Ryder Cup player Tiger Woods plays his shot on the second fairway during four-ball play on the first day of the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in Newport, south Wales, October 1, 2010 REUTERS/Brian Snyder (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT GOLF)
Of course it could rain in Wales in July, or in Peoria for that matter. Still, a late September tee time at Celtic Manor is just asking for a deluge. Too late to move the Ryder Cup, so let's make the best of it. Sir Terry Matthews, Celtic Manor owner and a non-golfer, made good on his desire to bring the event to Wales and his mega-resort. Forget though that it's a target style sort of course diametrically opposed to the innumerable links courses available in the British Isles. Like it's K Club predecessor, it was the dollar signs and the ability to hold 45,000 paying spectators that brought the Cup to this swamp.
Oh, the golf so far? It's really too early to tell as the first match of the tourney had only reached the 12th hole after a 7 1/2 hour rain delay. As they stand right now, Westwood/Kaymer 1 up on Mickelson/D. Johnson thru 12. Cink/Kuchar 2 up on McIlroy/McDowell thru 11. Stricker/Woods all square with Poulter/Fisher and Watson/Overton 1 up on Donald/Harrington thru 8. I sensed a decided momentum shift when the players returned from the lengthy break. Down in three matches at the time, the US has rallied to have the lead in two and halved in a third. It will be interesting to see if that continues tomorrow when these initial matches are concluded.  

The captain's won't have the luxury of hiding any players on Saturday as the plan is to complete all fourball and foursomes matches in order to get back on schedule for Sunday's singles. All 24 players will be involved to become heroes or goats. The plan is to finish the first fourball, (best ball), round, then play 6 foursomes matches, (alternate shot), followed by the last 2 foursomes and the last 4 fourball matches. Mother Nature will have the final say in this optimistic undertaking.   

*Average Golfer financial tidbit - Sell your Sun Mountain stock if you haven't already.

Til' next,