BACK IN THE GOOD OL' USA: The United States took a 9-7 lead into the Sunday singles format and held on for its first Ryder Cup victory since the miracle at Brookline back in 1999. It also ended Europe's impressive run of three consecutive victories.
Hard to imagine things going any better for captain Paul Azinger's squad this week: From the fast start on Friday, to the raucous Louisville fans, to Anthony Kim's convincing win over Sergio Garcia in the opening singles match on Sunday. Somewhere Curtis Strange, Hal Sutton and Tom Lehman must be wondering what champagne tastes like.
WITH YOU ALMOST ALL THE WAY: Tiger Woods said in his monthly newsletter, which came out last Tuesday, that he would not be attending the Ryder Cup at Valhalla. Instead, he would be cheering on the U.S. team from home, with his cell phone by his side, should anyone call for advice.
Who needs advice from a guy who is 7-12-1 in team portions of the Ryder Cup? Looks like the Americans who did play did just fine without him. Tiger better play well over the next two years if he wants to make the 2010 team – he’s not a sure bet to be a captain’s pick.
13TH MAN: U.S. captain Paul Azinger wanted the Kentucky crowd to be a positive influence for his team – and he got his wish. The support was overwhelming throughout the week and help buoy the Americans to victory.
Azinger and company did their part to get the crowd riled up. They signed tons of autographs leading up to the competition, held a pep rally in downtown Louisville Thursday night, and even managed to get off to a good start (for once) Friday morning. Throw in a couple of Kentuckians on the team and the local crowd was roaring at every stop. Even European captain Nick Faldo mentioned that he would have liked to have had a few more supporters in the gallery for his side.
MOVE OVER JD: Boo Weekley came into the Ryder Cup an already established player with two PGA TOUR wins, but may have left as a household name. Chants of "Boooo" rained down from the Kentucky crowds all week as the down home Floridian went 2-0-1.
Weekley's biggest contribution might have been to get underneath Lee Westwood's skin with his efforts to get the crowd fired up early in the week. Westwood wasn't his usual dominant self in this competition. But one thing is clear: Golf fans have finally found a replacement for John Daly.
A STAR IS BORN: Anthony Kim's first Ryder Cup was one to remember, from his 1.5 points earned with Phil Mickelson in team play to his 5-and-4 thumping of Sergio Garcia in Sunday singles. Kim, who finished 2-0-1 in his Cup debut, was among the strongest players on the team.
The 23-year-old Kim breathed some much needed life into the U.S. team with his youthful exuberance and stellar play. Add to that his desire to be on the squad and successful partnership with Mickelson, Kim headlined the Americans' Ryder Cup rookies. He probably would have done even better had Mickelson not weighed him down.
ACTIONS LOUDER THAN WORDS: Michelle Wie shot 70-65-74-71 to easily qualify to the second stage of LPGA Q-School. Wie finished in a tie for fourth, with the top 30 and ties advancing to the finals, Dec. 3-8 at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla.
A side note to Wie’s qualifying was her snubbing of the media after her first three rounds. She finally spoke Sunday after the event was over and said something like, "Um, I'm really like, um, happy and stuff." Actually she didn't say that. But we figure what she did say wasn't too far removed.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Will MacKenzie birdied the second hole of a playoff against Brian Gay and Mark Turnesa to capture the Viking Classic on Sunday...Matt Bettencourt won the Oregon Classic for his first Nationwide Tour title Sunday, closing with a 3-under 69 for a two-stroke victory over former U.S. Amateur champion Bubba Dickerson … Once again, Michael Jordan could be seen following the U.S. team at the Ryder Cup.
With the win, MacKenzie solidifies his TOUR card for next year, jumping to 99th on the money list... "This will take a while to settle in. It’s what you dream about when you’re a little kid. It’s awesome," Bettencourt said … Wonder why Jordan doesn’t follow them around at the Presidents Cup?
Contributions from writers and editors on the Golf Channel Digital team.
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