Bring on the Ryder Cup

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I have to admit, even now, that I wasnt as excited as I should have been about the Presidents Cup.
 
And now, a week removed, I feel like I was rewarded for my skepticism. You know, if you dont expect the best, you cant really be disappointed ' right? Well, I wasnt disappointed.
 
Chris DiMarco
After an exciting Presidents Cup, all eyes will be focused on the 2006 Ryder Cup.
In fact, I was left more enthused than ever about the Presidents Cup and Im left with a whole lot of 'hurry up' for the Ryder Cup in 2006.
 
Fred Couples did it for me.
 
His 'arms in the air ' smiling face ' look for somebody to hug' expression on Sunday against Vijay Singh was as good as it gets. And, for me, it seemed that the reaction was about far more than just beating Vijay Singh. It was about being there in the first place.
 
Fred Couples isnt supposed to be the Presidents Cup hero these days. Hes supposed to be content just being a part of it. And to me it seems that he was. The fact that he made a difference seemed as big to Couples as it did to his team, as it did to his Captain, as it did to the spectators who chanted 'Freddie, Freddie, Freddie.'
 
Ive always been a fan of Fred Couples. The cool, the swagger, the layed back demeanor on the golf course. Hes a guys guy. Hes a pros pro. Hes a sportsmans sport.
 
Chris DiMarco did it for me.
 
His final putt in the match against Stuart Appleby was as clutch as the putt he saw Phil Mickelson make to win the Masters in 2004. It was as clutch as the putt Tiger Woods made in front of his very eyes en route to winning the Masters this April.
 
DiMarco has contended in major championships, but until now hasnt had his own 'major moment.' Sunday he got what he deserved. The moment to make a difference was his. He took it. And youd have thought it was the major that broke Jacks major championship record total of 18.
 
Jim Furyk did it for me.
 
Unbeaten for the week. A very reliable source told me this week that Tiger Woods ' in search of a partner whod make him unbeatable instead of unreliable - wanted Furyk before the event even started. Steady as they come, hes usually void of the big mistake and thus keeps a player in every hole. Actually, Furyk looked like he might not have too many holes in him. He spent much of the early matches on the ground with an injury, being rubbed like a classic car in need of some wax.
 
But Furyk is as tough as they come. Like DiMarco, he might not have every single skill that Tiger has. But like Tiger, he has the 'no give up' trait that makes him as tough an out as Barry Bonds.
 
In every hole, and in every match, Furyk is the partner you can count on. The teammate who gets you amped up for the moment.
 
Tiger did it for me.
 
Hes the greatest player of his time. Injury and all, hes the one player you want to watch hit every shot of every match hes in. Normally hes not the vocal type who leads the team in speech. But last week he seemed pumped to play with Furyk and his celebratory reaction toward Chris DiMarco (the huge hug) was better than any shot he hit all week. Woods came across as the perfect teammate and the perfect gentleman. So much for Tiger the 'individual.' It hardly appeared that Woods cared about his record for the week. He cared about the team.
 
Phil Mickelson did it for me.
 
Lefty was hardly right at the Ryder Cup last fall. He made some poor choices and some poor shots. He paid the price in the media, and players have told me hes paid the price among his peers.
 
But Mickelson is a talent. A huge talent. Hes got a love for the game that is obvious. And he hates to lose.
 
Mickelson didnt get Tiger as a partner. He got DiMarco which was good for both. I never understood taking your two best players and putting them together for the possibility of only 1 point per session as opposed to 2. Over two days of Ryder Cup Foursomes and Four-Ball competition thats a chance at 8 points versus 4.
 
And while Phil didnt make the biggest putt, or have the biggest moment. He might have been the most reliable. The 2nd major championship might be bigger than we think as it turns out. And Mickelsons play was proof to me that not only is he ready to be counted on, but hes also ready to be a leader.
 
Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player did it for me.
 
Two of the games greatest champions applauding great play and talking about whats good for the game as opposed to whats good for his own team. Enough said.
 
The format did it for me.
 
Four days as compared to three, and no chance to 'hide' a player or two before Sunday singles. It gives players like Angel Cabrera and Trevor Immelman a chance to shine and be noticed instead of be searched for.
 
And the chance to see the match-ups we want in Singles instead of match-ups the envelopes give us, makes a huge difference in the drama. Woods versus Goosen at the Presidents Cup or Woods versus Paul Casey as we saw at Oakland Hills?
 
As I mentioned before, I wasnt exactly following the Presidents Cup point standings each Monday as I normally would during a Ryder Cup year. But this Presidents Cup finish has me looking ahead already.
 
Woods and Furyk, Mickelson and DiMarco. Lets go.
 
Suddenly the 18 to 9 drubbing at the hands of Europe seems like a distant memory. Theres been a change in momentum for the Americans. And they didnt even play against Europe last week.
 
Who knows who wins the Ryder Cup in Ireland next September. But Im ready to get it started. How about you?
 
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann