Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have failed to take leadership roles at the Ryder Cup.
It’s among the points NBC analyst Johnny Miller made when asked during a teleconference Wednesday about the poor records of American stars in the most recent Ryder Cup matches.
Woods, Mickelson and Jim Furyk have the most American Ryder Cup experience but none sports a winning Ryder Cup record. Cumulatively, they are 28-40-11 in the matches. The five American teams they've played on together are 1-4.
A question on this topic by Associated Press golf writer Doug Ferguson sparked an entertaining debate between Miller and fellow NBC analyst Gary Koch. Here’s how the spirited banter went:
Ferguson: Do guys like Furyk, Tiger and Phil have bad Ryder Cup records or is it more a case that they’re playing on bad teams, or losing teams? Or is it their records that allow them to be playing on losing teams?
Miller: I know what you are saying, but, basically, they have not played well. Forget their teammates. Tiger hasn’t led the team. Phil really hasn’t either. And Furyk, who you would think would be a good Ryder Cupper, has played so-so, less than so-so. He’s only had eight wins in 24 matches. That’s not good.
Koch: Johnny, I’m going to disagree with you a little bit there. If you look at their individual records, Furyk is 4-1-1 in singles and Tiger is 3-1-1. So, I think that goes a bit more to Doug’s point, that sometimes when you get paired up with a guy who’s maybe not playing that well, or you don’t mesh as a team, it brings your game down, or there’s your losing record. So, these guys obviously have proven they can handle the pressure when they play in singles.
Miller: The point I’m making is it’s not like in those singles matches Furyk or Woods is shooting 62s or 63s . . .
Koch: It doesn’ t matter, they won. That’s the big thing about match play. It doesn’t matter whether you shoot 8-under par or not, it’s whether you win the point.
Miller: I’m talking about the whole week. None of those guys has had a hot week in the Ryder Cup.
Ferguson: Am I going to have to separate you two?
Koch: No, we love going after each other, it’s fun.