Europe has won 6 out of the last 8 Ryder Cups. It began as a contest between USA’s best players and England’s but American dominance over the years led to the inclusion of the rest of the European continent.
Since then the 2 sides have been more evenly matched, especially with players like the ineffable Seve Ballesteros. Nothing more closely signifies an end to America’s death grip on The Cup than the addition of the swashing Spaniard.
What the US really needs is a captain with some grit who can rally the troops. We don’t need a star player. We don’t need flashy uniforms. We don’t steroids. All we need is a great leader.
Who were the last two winning US Ryder Cup captains? Anyone? Anyone? Paul Azinger in 2008 and Ben Crenshaw in 1999.
Neither one of these men were considered the best players. What they had was something different. And they know how to win.
Azinger won 1 major. It was against Greg Norman in a playoff but he won a bigger battle against lymphoma. You don’t beat the C-word without believing and having some toughness. Zinger captained the winning US team at Valhalla by turning the course into “a $19-muni track,” as he put it. By cutting down the rough he opened up the course for the longer-hitting American players.
Consider Ben Crenshaw for a moment: known as one of the best putters ever, he didn’t have a particularly consistent iron game but he didn’t need it because he had something else. Something intangible—Crenshaw refused to appear in the HBO miniseries, “Dead Solid Perfect” starring Randy Quaid because one episode contained a few nude scenes.
Greatness emerges from integrity.
I can still hear him talking to reporters at the press conference in Brookline, Massachusetts the night before the largest comeback in Ryder Cup history, “I'm going to leave y'all with one thought. Mark my words! I'm a big believer in fate. I have a good feeling about this."
The rest is history and legacy.
Davis Love III will captain the 2012 US team at Medinah, near Chicago, Illinois. Tickets to the event will be hard to come by as our side tries to bring it back home. Love used to lead the PGA Tour in Eagles. He may have been born with a croquet mallet in his hand but now he’s got a custom motorcycle from Orange Country Choppers. That might be style of horsepower the Stars and Stripes needs.
Play gets underway on Friday, starting with foursome alternating shot matches at 8:20 a.m. EST. Fourball is up next at either 1:05 or 2:05 p.m and the entire day of play can be seen on ESPN. Saturday follows the same format as Friday, but TV coverage shifts to NBC.