Ryder Cup Has Changed and Its All for the Better
The big change came in 1983. At last we were getting enough talent that we felt we could play with the Americans. Seve Ballesteros and Sandy Lyle had come aboard in 1979. In 1981, Bernhard Langer made the team. Ian Woosnam was there in 1983. And in 1983, we lost the Cup by just one point.
Going into the matches in '83, probably half believed it could be done and the other half didn't. But after we came so close that year, all 12 guys believed it was possible. It WAS possible in 1985 - we won - and from then until now it's been equal footing.
The Ryder Cup has so many joyful and memorable moments for me, as well as some that aren't so joyful. Certainly there have been great partnerships - Peter Oosterhuis, Woosie, Sam Torrance, Bernhard, Colin Montgomerie. Obviously the match most people talk about today is the one I played with Curtis (Strange)- this year's American captain - in 1995.
I remember it pretty well myself - I had gotten down early, we were like the 11th match on the course, there was so much tension. Our team was such big underdogs there at Oak Hill.
I finally tied it and on 18, I had about a 95-yard shot into the green. It was as nervous as I've ever been on a golf course. When I went down to the shot and my knees went boinggg! I had never done that before!
Then I had a four-foot putt that was very tricky. There was a lot of break, the ball would have to be played outside the hole. So I knew that, if I missed, it would roll far enough away that I'd still have another putt. But I didn't want to dribble it down there, I wanted to stand up and hit the darn thing. Of course, it did go in and I won the match. But that was a pretty good up-and-down, that one. I would have prayed if it would have helped at the moment, but of course I didn't have time!
We've had to go with only eight or nine players most years, though. The tone was set by Tony Jacklin back in the mid-'80s when he was European captain. He called us together back then and said, 'Guys, I've got eight men playing great and I'm going to keep playing those eight guys.'
We've never had 12 really strong players. We're always struggling. Of course, there have been a year or two that we've been better than that. But I think this year, we'll be all right. I doubt there are more than two or three guys that the captain is intending to go all five matches. The only one I can think of is Garcia.
The rest of the guys have injuries and what have you, so it actually might help this time that he (Torrance) won't be able to go with many guys every time. I think he is going to have to play just about everybody. There might be a few guys who go out three or four times, but those days of having to play five times are about over.
This year will be different, of course, in that this is really 2001's team one year after. You can't expect the players to be all on top of their game. There are about four guys on each team who are struggling, either because of injuries or loss of form. We knew that would happen when they postponed it for a year. It was inevitable that at least two players would be playing worse. But the press hasn't really dwelled on who or who isn't playing poorly. It's like, 'Hey that's the team, now get on with it.'
Both sides will be hurt somewhat. But it IS match play, so that really doesn't matter. If he shoots 75 and you shoot 74 - you've won. The important thing is to win your match, it doesn't matter how or by what bloomin' score, it's just you've got to win a point. That's what you've always got to remember.
Match play has always been intriguing. The big difference is, you play more aggressively than in stroke play. Every shot you go for, because if you miss the green, you can still chip it in. You're not thinking, 'This is awfully difficult to get up and down.' You always are thinking about just one thing - get the ball in the hole.
That's the great thing about match play - you never think about the next shot; whereas, in stroke play, you're always thinking about the next shot. And if you lose one hole, you forget about it immediately and think about the next hole. You can really survive on your adrenalin and determination. You go for everything - within reason, of course.
There are so many butterflies on the first tee, but you've got to realize that you only control what you can control. You can't control anything outside the ropes - you can't control the gallery or the TV or the Ryder Cup officials or anything else. The only thing you've got control over is yourself. And you should have one overriding thought - 'There's the fairway and I've got to hit it.'
I've put my name forward for Ryder Cup captain. I feel like I'm ready for it. To be honest, I don't know what the procedure is, so we'll just have to see what happens. But whatever it is or however you go about, I feel as though I am ready.
But, I love the concept behind the Ryder Cup. May the best team win, and let's begin the matches.
Full Coverage of the 34th Ryder Cup Matches
Romo turns in even in PGA Tour debut
After stumbling out of the gates, Tony Romo has found his footing in his PGA Tour debut.
Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption, Romo shot an even-par 36 for his opening nine holes in the Dominican Republic. The former NFL quarterback bogeyed his first two holes, but steadied the ship with three birdies from Nos. 4-8 while playing alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.
The early highlight of the round came at the par-4 fifth hole, where Romo drained a putt from across the green for his second straight birdie:
Romo has played as an amateur partner in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and has played individually in U.S. Open local qualifiers and mini-tour events as an amateur. But this marks his first attempt to gauge his game against the best players in the world who are not in Austin for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Romo, who plays to a plus-0.3 handicap, said earlier in the week that he expected some jitters once it came time to put a tee in the ground.
"You'll be nervous on Thursday on the first tee. Just going to be," Romo said. "I've got to get through the first three or four holes. If I can handle the nerves on the first three or four holes, I think that I'll settle in and hopefully just play the way I've been playing."
Click here to watch live first-round action on Golf Channel.
Kim's missing clubs show up at sporting goods store
More than a month after they were lost on an American Airlines flight, the clubs I.K. Kim used to win last year's Ricoh Women's British Open turned up on the sale rack of a California sporting goods store.
Kim's clubs became lost in late January when she flew from Miami to San Diego, with the airline suggesting she simply rent a new set. A few weeks later, Kim shot a "What's in the bag" television segment which according to a Golfweek report caught the eye of three good samaritans in the San Diego area.
The three men recognized Kim's clubs for sale at a local Play It Again Sports, with the major winner's tools listed at $60 each. The store even had Kim's tour bag, complete with her LPGA player badge. Kim filmed the reunion with her bag - containing wedges and a few hybrids, minus the head covers - at the Carlsbad police station:
What’s in my bag now?! They were selling at Play it again ... only $60 each in San Diego. Jack, Jeff, Paul watched my video with @alisonwhitaker1 in Singapore and found my remaining clubs and brought it back to me @lpga_tour this week at Aviara!! Btw... Where is the head covers? They might sell separately?Never mind.
Kim was back in southern California this week for the Kia Classic, where she'll begin play Thursday morning at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad.
WGC-Dell Match Play: Scoring, live stream, standings
New dad Garcia removes shoes, wins match
AUSTIN, Texas – In one of the day’s most explosive matches, Sergio Garcia rolled in an 8-footer for birdie at the 18th hole to defeat Shubhankar Sharma, 1 up, at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
The duo halved just nine holes on Day 1 at Austin Country Club, with Garcia going from 2 up through four holes to 1 down with five holes to play.
But the Spaniard rallied with five birdies over his final eight holes and pushed his record to 20-17-1 in the Match Play. He also gave himself his best chance to advance out of pool play since the format began in 2015.
The victory continued what has already been a memorable week for Garcia, whose wife, Angela, gave birth to the couple’s first child last Wednesday.
“I already feel like I’m a winner after what happened on Wednesday,” Garcia said. “Obviously, it's something that we're so, so happy and proud of and enjoying it as much as possible.”
The highlight of Garcia’s round on Wednesday came at the 12th hole when he took a drop on a cart path. After considering his options, he removed his shoes and hit his approach from 212 yards to 29 feet for a two-putt birdie to halve the hole.
“I have spikes. So if I don't take my shoes off, I'm going to slip. It's not the kind of shot that you want to slip,” Garcia said. “I had tried it a couple of times on practice swings and I was already slipping a little bit. So I thought I would just take my shoes off, try to get a little bit in front of the hole and it came out great.”