Teaming for the Ryde Cup

Update: September, 25/2016 - 09:00
Viet Nam News

by Robert Bicknell

Well, here we go again.

Yes folks, it’s time for the 2016 Ryder Cup and once again Europe will most likely win and Team USA will once again try to understand why… and fail at that as well.

The answer is actually quite simple and is right in front of their noses… “Team”.

The Europeans always seem to have more fun being together. They travel as a team, eat as a team, practice as a team and go drinking as a team. So the Ryder Cup, for them, is just a great excuse to go have a good time with their mates.

Even the website of the European PGA Tour is more fun than the US PGA Tour website, just look at the videos they put up. Many fun contests with pros trying to skip a ball across a lake to hit a gong, wedge shots into a barrel of faux explosives on a ship, etc. These guys have fun.

The US pros, on the other hand, are as much fun as putting on a wet golf shoe on a cold morning.

These guys take themselves way too seriously and it shows in everything they do. I mean, c’mon guys. Golf is supposed to be fun. It’s not life and death. Why play if you’re not having a good time out there?

In the old days, when I was growing up, two teams in whatever sport would go at it hammer and tong and afterwards, congratulate each other, then head off for burgers and cokes, or beer when we got older. Heck, even when we’d have fights in school, one guy is standing, the other isn’t. The guy standing asks “Had enough?” The guy on the ground says “yeah” then the guy standing helps the other one up and off they go like buddies.

Not anymore. Everything we do is a “war” now. Think I’m wrong?

How about, the war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on homelessness, the war on racism. We don’t actually do anything about it, but we call it a war, claim victory and move on. We even called one Ryder Cup “The War By The Shore” and showed up in camouflage uniforms.

Team USA might have won that event, but golf as a whole seemed to have lost something as well.

Raymond Floyd was despairing that the 1991 Ryder Cup wasn’t fun. It was everything the Ryder Cup was not supposed to be. Former British and US golf broadcaster Ben Wright once called it "the most exciting and infuriatingly antagonistic contest ever in the biennial series".

Bernard Gallacher, the 1991 European captain, once said it was a turning point for the Ryder Cup, "and not in a good way". He cited "hostility" and crowd involvement that affected the outcome of matches.

In a nutshell, it went from being a gentleman’s game to a football game.

Europe beat the U.S. for the first time in 1985 at the Belfry breaking a streak of 13 American victories dating to 1959, then again in 1987 at  Muirfield Village and then tied 14-14 in ’89 at The Belfry, retaining the Cup as defending champion.

In the last 11 Ryder Cup events (1991–2012), Europe has won seven of them, USA only four.

This year, Las Vegas bookmakers have Team USA as a heavy favourite, perhaps due to the big guns on the team. Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Jimmy Walker and Jordan Spieth.

The home field advantage helps too.

But we all know Team Europe is unlikely to roll over and play dead, especially with Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Martin Kaymer on the team.

Captain-wise, this should actually be good because Davis Love III and Darren Clarke are worlds apart in terms of attitude, but well matched in experience. Having met both men, I’d actually rather play for Darren Clarke. He’s completely nuts, but in a good way.

Vice-captains, both teams have depth, but Team USA decided to add Tiger Woods to the list, but for what reason besides getting people to switch on the TV to see what girl is with him, I don’t know.

All things considered, I think I have to go with Team USA this year, but please remember before you run to place your bets…

I am almost always wrong. VNS