Americans end Europeans rule

By Brian HewittSeptember 21, 2008, 4:00 pm
LOUISVILLE, Ky. ' Sunday at the Ryder Cup is a riot of colors; a cooker of pressure; a cauldron of noise; an orgy of national pride; a stampede of fans-gone-wild and a spicy hot mixed grill of emotion and tension for the protagonists.
 
Once you have witnessed one, even if you dont know a halve from a half, as long as you fancy the game, you will be addicted. The winner, at the end of this exhausting, long days, flag-waving journey into night, lays claim to the biggest and best bragging rights in all of golf.
 
That winner Sunday at Valhalla Golf Club was the United States of America by a decisive margin of 16-11. The runner-up was Europe.
 
U.S. Ryder Cup team
The U.S. team celebrates its first Ryder Cup win since 1999. (Getty Images)
There were no losers in the strictest sporting sense. But a baked dozen of Europes best players dont really want to hear about that right now.
 
Of course it hurts, said Euro captain Nick Faldo. When youve come here and youve made such an effort to come and play.sure, losingit always hurts.
 
American rookie Anthony Kim set the tone for the final day singles early on when he birdied three of the first four holes against Sergio Garcia in the first match out. It whipped a huge crowd into an even bigger frenzy and it resulted in a 5-and-4 victory.
 
Hours later the USAs Jim Furyk closed out Spains Miguel Angel Jimenez with a two-putt par on the 17th hole and the Ryder Cup was back on American soil to stay, for at least two more years, for the first time since 1999.
 
Now the critics of controversial European captain Nick Faldo, and they are legion on the other side of the Atlantic, will prey on his decisions.
 
The fatal one was his positioning of Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington in the 10th, 11th and 12th spots Sunday. Poulter was Faldos best player all week, finishing with a 4-1-0 record. Westwood has been a Ryder Cup stalwart since 1997. Harrington is the reigning British Open and PGA champion and the No. 3 ranked player in the world.
 
Its a cardinal rule in Ryder Cup captaining to make sure the scores of your best players count in the singles. Poulter, Westwood and Harrington were all still on the course finishing matches (that would turn out to be meaningless) when Furyk closed out Jimenez.
 
The history on this is obvious and it is recent. In 1999, Euro captain Mark James saved his best player, Colin Montgomerie, for last and he, too, posted a result that didnt matter in a pulsating American victory at Brookline. Three years later in England, American captain Curtis Strange sent Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods out 11th and 12th respectively. Their matches didnt count either in a European team victory that concluded with Mickelson and Woods still on the course.
 
But captains dont get to hit any shots. And Faldo, a six-time major winner, might have expected more from big guns Garcia, Harrington and Westwood. Those three combined to go a shocking 0-7-5. Thats right, not one of them captured a single match in three days.
 
Oh, and by the way, the underdog won. The talk of this topic began moments after Europe thrashed the Americans 18 -9 two years ago in Dublin. And it continued right up until the first tee time Sunday.
 
As late Saturday evening, long after darkness had covered Valhalla, this subject came up again with the principals. I think, American captain Paul Azinger said to a small group, quietly anticipating the question, Europes probably still favored.
 
Moments later a weary Faldo scoffed when asked who he thought the underdog was now that only the 12 singles matches remained and his European squad trailed by two points.
 
Even, he said tightly.
 
Meanwhile, by the end of this biennial bash, there were even more American heroes and statistical anomalies everywhere you wanted to look.
 
Kim went 2-1-1 in his first Ryder Cup. So did Furyk. Hunter Mahan, who earlier this year wasnt so sure he even wanted to play in a Ryder Cup, won two matches, lost none and halved three.
 
I wish every golfer, every player on Tour could experience this, a reformed Mahan said, because it is just amazing.
 
Justin Leonard wound up with a winning record as did Kentuckian Kenny Perry, Boo Weekley, Kentuckian J.B. Holmes, Furyk and Chad Campbell, one of Azingers four captains picks.
 
I couldnt in my farthest dreams have imagined this thing to play out like this, Holmes said.
 
The 10 rookies in this Ryder Cup actually had a better overall record (15-9-10) than the 14 veterans (17-22-16). So much for experience.
 
The conclusion here: In golf, where nerves fray easily over time, perhaps the Ryder Cup is becoming a young mans game. Meanwhile a stunning total of six European players failed to win a match.
 
All 24 players had earned at least a half a point before Sunday. So the hounds, as they say at the finest fox hunts in Britain, had been blooded before the singles.
 
Or as north Floridas Boo Weekley, playing in his first Ryder Cup, put it Saturday night, I feel like a dawg somebody done stuck a needle in and juiced me up like a greyhound chasing one of them bunnies.
 
Precisely.
 
In the end, it was left for the 48-year-old Perry to have the final word. Perry had announced making the Ryder Cup this year was his only goal. He played just one round in the four major championships. And he took a lot of heat for skipping the U.S. and British Opens.
 
I figured this was going to define my career, Perry said. But you know what, it made my career. Its the greatest day of my life.
 
By then the golf was finally over Sunday at the Ryder Cup. The sun was setting in the Kentucky hollows at this place called Valhalla. But the buzz was still fresh.
 
The celebrating from another Ryder Cup Sunday would be going on until long into the next morning.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related Links:
  • U.S. Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • European Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • Full Coverage - 37th Ryder Cup
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.