Captains Shouldnt Sweat the Details


There is an answer today on the tip of the tongue of every player, writer, spectator, broadcaster, pundit, observer and analyst.
Americas Ryder Cup dreams are broken. They must be fixed.
I have a plan.
First, you must understood WHY the 12 best players in the United States lost so badly to Europes 12 best last weekend at Oakland Hills near Detroit:
The Americans look forward to the Ryder Cup. The Europeans live for the Ryder Cup. Theres a big, big difference. This time the difference was nine points. The Euros trashed the Americans. How many gs in juggernaut?
Now for the solution:
Let the captain be the captain.
Let a manager handle everything else.
The way it works right now the captain and his wife must concern themselves with everything from uniforms styles and sizes, to golf bags, to gifts, to food, to social schedules to seating charts.
Clearly, American captain Hal Sutton had his hands full just trying to figure out which American should play with which American in which session.
The captain of the United States Ryder Cup needs to be freed up to concentrate on those decisions that matter.
Bill Parcells doesnt worry about shoes, balls or jerseys. Joe Torre doesnt worry about menus. Vince Lombardi didnt give a tinkers damn about hat sizes or styles.
They had people to do that stuff for them. They worried about the games and how to win them. And thats precisely what the next American Ryder Cup captain needs. He needs a combination general manager/general factotum. He needs Radar OReilly from M*A*S*H. He needs James Garner, the scrounger in The Great Escape.
He needs to be left alone to pay attention to the lineup and the golf.
By the time the American team had arrived at Oakland Hills early last week, Sutton and his wife, Ashley, had invested too much time and emotion trying to keep everybody happy and ensure a chemistry that never really existed to begin with.
When it came time to make tough decisions'like insisting Phil Mickelson, who didnt putt Oakland Hills tricky and changing greens after Tuesday, spend more time on the South Course'Sutton was compromised.
Understandably, he didnt want to upset the delicate balance in the team room. Instead, he sacrificed the delicate balance that needed to be attended to on the golf course. Similarly, when Chris Riley begged off of the Saturday afternoon match as Tiger Woods partner, Sutton didnt feel completely right telling Riley he was completely wrong.
What Im saying here is the American Ryder Cup captains of the future should distance themselves from their players to the extent that it allows them the freedom to make the big picture decisions that will be for the greater good of the team.
Sutton is not a softie. He just got caught in a trap not of his own making. One of the best ways for the next American captain to avoid the same trap will be for the PGA of America to appoint a person to take care of the little stuff so the captain can focus on the big picture.
It wont guarantee victory. The Euros have raised the bar on the course. But it will be a step in the right direction for the Americans.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt