BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Some thoughts following the 35th Ryder Cup Matches:
Hooks and Cuts from the Ryder Cup
The Europeans drink more wine, smoke more cigars, enjoy more laughs and win more Cups.
The U.S. lacks leadership in the player ranks. We have no Sergio, no Monty, no Clarke.
Hal Sutton will take plenty of heat, but players cant hide from the fact that theyve not gotten it done.
Its a good thing the internationals werent here or the U.S. would have left like the U.S. hoop team'with a bronze medal.
People point to Brookline and wonder why the U.S. cant have fun like they did there. Brookline was more fury than fun.
When you play a member guest you dont want to play with a guy you dont like. You pick a guy youre going to have a good time with and you think you can win with.
The future doesnt look all that bright for the U.S. Youd be hard pressed to name young professional players who offer hope and excitement. Charles Howell, Ben Crane, Zack Johnson, Jonathon Byrd, Ben Curtis? The Europeans already have Sergio, Luke Donald, Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, David Howell, Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood, all relatively young, plus Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Fredrik Jacobsen, Nick Dougherty and Simon Dyson waiting in the wings.
Chris Rileys dad, Mike, told me that when Tiger sees Chris, Tiger thinks hes 14 years old again.
Phil Mickelson says theyre under constant scrutiny and ridicule. This isnt presidential politics; its a game of golf. Lighten up, or light up a cigar, or laugh, genuinely.
U.S. players seem guarded, or stone faced, or shy, or driven by public relations. The Europeans seem genuine, down to earth, reachable, fun loving and unpretentious. Read my column from last Monday when the Europeans landed in Michigan to begin their week.
American players are collecting world ranking points in Phoenix or Dallas or Houston while the Euros are collecting good times on the coast of Spain or the Swiss Alps or Ireland.
Forget The Ryder Cup. In general, Europeans work fewer hours, take longer lunches and more vacations. Is it possible we need to just relax a little, sip some espresso at a sidewalk caf and watch the world go by?
Some of the striped shirts didnt work for the Americans.
The PGA of America should consider changing the selection process to try to get hot players in the mix. Why not use the European model with the top five on the money list and top five from the world rankings plus two captains picks?
In 1977, with the matches terribly uncompetitive in favor of the U.S., Jack Nicklaus suggested opening up the event to continental Europe. Maybe we should open it up to all of North America and bring Mike Weir into the fold.
Heres a team wed like to see: John Daly because hes loose and doesnt care about appearances; Todd Hamilton because hes unafraid; Steve Flesch because he has a sense of humor; Scott Verplank because hes a butt kicker; Freddy Couples because hes relaxed and a gallery favorite; Joey Sindelar because hes real; Duffy Waldorf because hes a wine connoisseur; John Jacobs from the Champions Tour because he smokes good cigars; Hale Irwin because he cant stand to lose; Jack Nicklaus because hes Jack Nicklaus, and win or lose, hed do post round interviews; Craig Stadler because hes a pain in the neck to play against, though we have to admit the striped shirt wouldnt have been all that flattering; Corey Pavin because even if hes not the player he once was, hes still a bulldog; and finally, amateur Ryan Moore because he made it through the summer without losing a match play event.
In a year of personal upheaval, Monty cemented in concrete his peculiar legend. He also forged the bonds of a professional marriage thats proven unbreakable'the one he shares with the tightly knit community that is European golf. The Ryder Cup brings as much if not more pressure as a major. Why Monty shrivels in that arena is as big a mystery as the one surrounding Tigers record in The Ryder Cup. In any event, Montys a lock Hall of Fame inductee in my book.
How many majors should Sergio win? How about Harrington? Luke Donald has U.S. Open written all over him. Darren Clarke would look good in a green jacket.
The Europeans tell us theyre underdogs but know otherwise. The Americans will say theyre underdogs in 06, and mean it.