Obvious Difference - Euros Better

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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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