Let the Cup Be Close

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36th Ryder Cup MatchesThe 36th Ryder Cup begins on Friday. And given what happened two years ago at Oakland Hills outside Detroit, Mich., lets hope its not over before Saturday play begins.
 
Do you remember? It was 6 1/2 - 1 1/2 after Day 1 play. The only points for the United States came from a half earned by Chris Riley and Stewart Cink in the morning fourballs and a full point earned by Chris DiMarco and Jay Haas in the afternoon foursomes.
 
For the record, it was 11-5 after two days, and then Europe continued to whip the Americans, 7 1/2 - 4 1/2 in singles.
 
Regardless of what happens, and tossing aside the fact that Europe has won four of the last five Ryder Cups and seven of the last 10, I hope this years event is truly an event.
 
Heres what Id like to see above all else:
 
1. A Ryder Cup that goes down to the final singles match on Sunday. Who wouldnt want that!?!
 
2. American rookies make an impact. Vaughn Taylor can putt the lights out. J.J. Henry is a terrific ball-striker. Zach Johnson is a mild-mannered, steady player who can make putts. Brett Wetterich is the guy whos the yellow light to me. He hits it a mile and can overpower a golf course, but do the nerves cause long drives to go wayward? Any use of the rookies that adds up to six points would be huge.
 
3. Tiger Woods to play like Colin Montgomerie. Tigers the greatest player and the most talented. Hes done all the right things leading into this years Ryder Cup. Can he put his frustration over tabloid articles linking his wife to pornography in its proper place? Tiger hardly needs motivation.
 
4. Darren Clarke to have a week of good fortune. He deserves it. Clarke has more friends in golf than most. This week he arrives without his wife, Heather, who passed away recently after a bout with cancer. If Europes to win, then Clarke as the hero is certainly a story worth rooting for.
 
5. More heroics from Monty. Like him or not, hes one of the greatest to ever play the Ryder Cup. Cmon ' even if the United States wins, you have to hope they beat a European team whos on its best form. Monty without his best is hardly fun to watch in this event.
 
6. Entertaining press conferences. Remember Ben Crenshaws Saturday night presser at Brookline in 1999? We need great quotes and great characters to emerge and keep the energy going.
 
7. Great weather. So far, the rains been the biggest story. Wind on Thursday night nearly turned the grandstands into a grand mess. A Ryder Cup using lift, clean and place is no Ryder Cup in my opinion. Cool weather works ' but a little sun instead of rain is nice.
 
8. An American hero. In 2004, Sergio Garcia said, I think that this whole team and also myself, we just live for this. When youre winning its easy to say that. Garcias been a hero of sorts ever since he played as a rookie. He's 10-3-2 overall in three Ryder Cups. DiMarco proved a worthy hero at the Presidents Cup. If America wins, let somebody be the undisputed star.
 
9. Let it be the big story. This time of year is about the NFL, college football and a baseball pennant race or two, among other things. The Ryder Cup can put golf on the front page ' if its good. I go back to the Let it Be Close headline. Golf needs a boost at this time of the year. Lets hope we all get it.
 
Im sure Im forgetting something. So go ahead and finish my list. Ill be glued to the set and waiting for good things to happen.
 
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann