Who won the first-ever Donald Ross Memorial Invitational boys individual title?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Some final thoughts on the Ryder Cup

Apologies to loyal blog followers for not getting this out sooner, but here are my final thoughts on the Ryder Cup that ended Monday:

1. Let's not stage the Ryder Cup so late (October) in the United Kingdom again.

The biennial matches ultimately had to be finished on Monday for the first time ever, since constant rain halted action on the first day, which set the entire schedule back a bit.

2. Get adjusted faster.

The old cliche is putt for dough and drive for show. That's never more evident than at big-time tournaments, where the winner is usually decided by who has the hot hand with the flatstick.
The United States is a team built with PGA Tour players, who are all accustomed to fast greens.
Since it was Europe's turn to host, Celtic Manor's greens looked as fast as a shaggy carpet.
To be fair, it's hard to get the greens lightning quick in Wales in October (see No. 1 for this issue). But that doesn't mean the American players can't get themselves adjusted and acclimated better and quicker.
One of the things, aside from consistency, that separates PGA Tour pros from other golfers is the ability to adapt to different conditions on the fly.

3. Kudos to Rickie Fowler

The PGA Tour rookie has zero career wins, yet he was selected with a captain's pick to join the team.
For the first few sessions, his inclusion on the team looked like a complete bust.
But then something remarkable happened in the singles match on Monday, and the United States benefited by having a chance at the end to escape Wales with the Ryder Cup in tow.
It was a coming-of-age moment for the phenom Fowler, where he closed with four straight birdies, stealing a crucial half point like the way John Dillinger used to rob banks.

4. Amazing finish

After Fowler's unfathomable comeback to garner a half point, Hunter Mahan had all the weight on his shoulders for Team USA.
Graeme McDowell had it on his for the Europeans.
Who would buckle first?
It didn't hurt that McDowell was 2-up with two to play, but the Northern Irishman turned it on just enough – thanks to a gravity defying putt that snuck in the bottom shelf on No. 16 – to down Mahan and regain the Ryder Cup for Europe.
Not a bad finish for anyone playing hooky from school or work that was able to watch.
And I must admit, that McDowell sure looked like he wanted the pressure.
Boy, did he thrive. I guess that's what happens when you play near-mistake free golf en route to a United States Open victory at the famous Pebble Beach Golf Links.

5. Speaking of that finish...

... I could, and have, done the same exact thing as Mahan with that chip shot.

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