There was honor in defeat.
That’s a major theme American Ryder Cup members have been hearing since their return home in the wake of their loss to Europe in Wales 10 days ago.
It’s a far cry from the public flogging the Americans received when they came home after their previous loss overseas, an 18 ½ to 9 ½ drubbing at the K Club in Ireland in 2006. That loss equaled the record rout the Americans received at Oakland Hills in ’04. Those back-to-back defeats left Americans coming home to heavy criticism for not caring enough about the matches and for not bonding as a team.
There’s respect in the wake of this newest loss for the magnificent late American charge in singles.
“I kind of get that feeling,” American Zach Johnson said Wednesday from his home in St. Simons Island, Ga. After immediately returning to action at last weekend's McGladrey Classic, Johnson is getting a chance to sort through the aftermath of the Ryder Cup loss.
“I’m not big on moral victories, by any stretch,' Johnson said. 'I don’t think there are any in golf. But based on what I’ve seen and heard, on Twitter, in e-mails, everyone’s saying we made them proud.”
Johnson was on that ’06 team that got whipped up on in Ireland. While he doesn't like losing, he says he took pride in the American charge in Wales.
“I can tell you every guy on that team, I’m proud of, because I know they gave it their all,” Johnson said. “We played against a tough opponent, especially on foreign soil. Those guys are tough. They made a lot of putts when they needed to. That third session obviously hurt us bad, but that’s what tough opponents do. They sting you. They played well at the right time.”
Johnson tied for 12th at the McGladrey Classic. He said he plans to spend the next five weeks at home with his family before returning to action at the Chevron World Challenge Dec. 2-5. His wife gave birth to the couple’s second child, Wyatt, this summer.
“I'm trying to get more acquainted with him,' Johnson said. 'He’s been around for 11 weeks and I’ve been around for four weeks. It’s time for me to be at home and be a dad.”