Obvious Difference - Euros Better

By George WhiteSeptember 20, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Ryder CupSoif you are an American fan, how do you like your humble pie? Rare, medium, or well-done?
 
I am one of you, and mine is coming well-done. This has happened so often of late that the dinner is burnt. The U.S. has now failed to win in seven of the last 10 matches, and that stretches way back to 1985. It would have been eight of 10 except for that fantastic come-from-behind win at Brookline in 99.
 
This wont be another piling-on sermon, however. Im convinced the Americans tried as hard as they could. But honestly, it never was a competitive match. The Europeans pulled the same old rope-a-dope stunt that theyve been using the past 20 years, and it still worked beautifly.
 
They somehow have gotten the world believing that they just arent as good as the U.S players. Every pre-tournament interview that I saw or read, the Euros used the word underdog in describing their chances. They poor-mouthed it to the hilt, frequently using the u word, pointing to the world rankings, pointing to the American course, the time difference, the putting difference, yada yada yada. And once again, the U.S. allowed them to set the agenda, and for the umpteenth time, the Euros got away with it.
 
Maybe now theyll realize that Europe has the better team despite their country-bumpkin attitude, and has for two decades now.
 
The Yanks should have known it when they looked at just a few statistics before this one ever started. Since June, an American Ryder Cupper has won exactly ONE tournament ' Stewart Cink. By contrast, the Euro Cuppers won the last three tournaments alone.
 
Four players from the U.S team missed the cut in the U.S. Open. Four didnt make it in the British Open. Another four didnt survive the PGA cut.
 
The Europeans readily acknowledge that the U.S. tour is the worlds best tour. But listen to them carefully - they didnt say anything about the U.S. players. Of the top 10 money-winners on the PGA Tour, how many do you think were on Americas Ryder Cup team? Four - thats right ' four.
 
And nine of the top 15 money-winners arent Yank Ryder Cuppers. Eight are international players. The ninth is Todd Hamilton, an American who won two tournaments ' the British Open was one ' but who played in Japan last year and didnt compile enough Ryder Cup points to make the U.S. team.
 
Enough about the Americans dont go out to eat together, don't travel together, etc. Enough about their home-course advantage ' there isnt a more Americanized course in this country than Oakland Hills, and the Euros handled it magnificently, thank you very much.
 
There is only one explanation for a defeat of such overwhelming magnitude, and it is this: the Europeans are much better at this game of golf than the Americans.
 
A few suggestions, incidentally ' the U.S. selection system has got to be changed to reflect the hottest players of the moment. America still uses the ponderous method of qualifying over a two-year period, even though it is weighted towards the current year. The Europeans have the right idea with a one-year selection period. Play well in the year that the Cup is played and you make the team.
 
And, Europe seems to have gotten it just right in allowing five from the tour money list, five from the world rankings, and two captains selections. The U.S. still insists on an involved two-year period of ranking individual tournaments ' regular events and majors, top 10 in each acquiring points, the Valero Texas Open, for example, carrying just as much weight as, say, the Players Championship, the Tour Championship, or a World Golf Championship event.
 
Also ' Tiger Woods should no longer be asked to play all five matches. Thats an unholy amount of golf for anyone to play. That was smart in the years when he was winning 17 times in two years. But today, he isnt that much better than anyone else on the team. Give him a break on the second day and sit him for one session.
 
Yes, this year, once again, there were plenty of excuses to go around. Lets see ' Mickelson was in the middle of a club change, going to a new driver and a new ball. And Jim Furyk sat out much of the early part of the year with a wrist injury. And the U.S. must be tired after playing these international matches every year ' last year it was the Presidents Cup, this year the Ryder Cup. And Chris Riley, bad boy that he is, asked to sit down Saturday afternoon after just sparking Tiger Woods to Tiger's biggest win of the tournament.
 
But all that is just so much folderol. Its time we in America faced the funeral dirge. Our team isnt as good as their team. Criticism of the captain, criticism of the players would be wonderful if they were relevant. But the criticism isnt justified.
 
Simply put, we got thumped, and we got thumped by a team of much better players.
 
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.