Topgolfgears Morning 9: What went wrong for the U.S.? Here’s the list… | Reed sounds off

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1 Throw out the drawing board
Golfworld’s Dave Shedloski with some of the best Ryder Cup postmortem writing…”It’s back to the drawing board for the U.S. Ryder Cup contingent after another miserable effort in Europe. Maybe they should throw out the drawing board, too.”
However, Shedloski also curates some of the explanations/excuses for the U.S. thumping.
  • “The Fatigue Factor: Eleven Americans competed in the Tour Championship in Atlanta. Europe had five.”
  • “The Tiger Effect on Team USA: It continues to be a net negative when he plays. Woods can’t seem to bring his A-game to these matches.”
  • “The Tiger Effect on Team Europe: Woods isn’t currently No. 1 in the world like he had been many times in earlier Ryder Cup appearances, but he remains the man everyone wants to beat.”
  • “Putting: It always seems to come down to putting. The Europeans enjoyed a massive advantage in familiarization with the greens.”
  • “The Buy-In Factor: This wasn’t supposed to be an issue. But it still is. The U.S. commissioned a Ryder Cup Task Force to get the players more involved in the process of how the team is assembled and organized, and it seemed to work well at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minn. But if the U.S. Ryder Cup Committee and the players were fully invested, then more than six of the 12 players on the team should have seen Le Golf National’s Albatros Course before Tuesday.”
  • “Picks: Furyk’s captain’s picks-Woods, Mickelson, DeChambeau and Tony Finau-scored two points and both by Finau.”
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2. Furyk
…but Captain Furyk is happy with the doodle.
Golf Channel’s Jay Coffin on Captain Jim…”Furyk split up Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed. He put Reed with Tiger Woods and Spieth with Justin Thomas. Furyk thought he took one dynamic duo, split them up and formed two dynamic duos. Only Thomas and Spieth performed well. Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka gelled well together, but only played together once, and lost.”
  • “His captain’s picks seemed obvious at the time. How do you leave Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau off the team? But they combined to tally a 2-10 record, and Finau won both the points.”
  • “No matter the second guessing by others, Furyk – who played on nine Ryder Cups and collected a career 10-20-4 record – didn’t seem like he was going to do that to himself. Sure, he will give input to the Ryder Cup committee in hopes of strengthening the process for the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, but as for his team, he had no regrets.”
  • “I’m going to say it over and over and over again – I have every confidence in these 12 players. I think we have a great team,” he said. “I would take them right back into another Ryder Cup and play it all over again if I could. You can call me crazy, but I have every belief that these guys could get it done. I still do and I still would again.”
3. Tiger
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”One of golf’s great mysteries continues: Why is Woods’ Ryder Cup record so lousy?”
  • “He went 0-4 at Le Golf National after what was an inspired effort to even be part of the U.S. team. He came to France off the jubilation of victory at the Tour Championship, a satisfying-yet-emotional win that obviously left him spent, and he departed with the worst record of any player in the competition.”
  • “Two more Ryder Cup partners went on his résumé — Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau — adding to a long list of infamy that has seen Woods’ overall record drop to 13-21-3. He’s 9-19-1 with partners, and lost at singles for the first time since 1997.”
  • “All manner of explanations have been given over the years, none of which really apply now, if they ever did: he doesn’t care; he doesn’t like playing with a partner; he’s horrible at team events…Woods might have had his issues 20 years ago, but now as one of the game’s elder statesmen, he has become heavily involved in the U.S. Ryder Cup process that selects the captains and assistant captains. He has already signed on to be the U.S. Presidents Cup captain in 2019 — and why would a guy who doesn’t give a rip do that? — with an eye on a future Ryder Cup captaincy.”
Of course, there may not be an overarching explanation for Woods’ entire body of Ryder Cup work. This year, he simply looked gassed and struggled to keep the ball in play off the tee. Facing energized opponents who are having no such issues is tough.
4. The mystery remains
PGATour.com’s Mike McAllister…”Jim Furyk – who stands to garner most of the criticism, as Captains generally do when their teams lose – said he will work with the PGA of America and the Ryder Cup committee to improve on areas that were lacking for this week. “I’ll definitely go through things that are in my head,” said Furyk, who did not reveal the specifics of those things.”
  • “One of the obvious things is making sure the Americans are acquainted with the course – and perhaps making sure the American players on the roster are best suited to play that course. The fear entering Friday’s first day was that the tight, driver-unfriendly Le Golf National would pose issues for big American bombers. That seemed to play itself out, as the U.S. found more trouble off the tee than its counterparts.”
  • “The best American player this week was Justin Thomas, who just happened to be the only American who played the French Open at Le Golf National this summer.”
  • “We thought this course suit us and our style of play,” said Rory McIlroy, the PGA TOUR’s driving distance leader who may have been the only European to feel at a disadvantage. He still won two points.”
  • “Furyk, to his credit, took the blame for the loss, saying he would gladly take the same 12 players into battle once again. He knows he will be second-guessed for decisions such as breaking up the Jordan Spieth/Patrick Reed pairing, or picking Phil Mickelson to play a tight course in which he ranked second-to-last on the PGA TOUR in driving accuracy”
5. Le Ryder Cup National
Geoff Shackelford writes Le Golf National sets a new standard for Ryder Cup venues.
  • “Much was rightfully made of the narrowness here, most of it artificially created with a purpose in mind. Landing areas were tightened by the European Tour paint guns, though modern driving distances also created pinch points unforeseen by the architects. But modern players have seen narrowness before. The rough density was excessive, particularly on this side of the Atlantic where they love their natural golf and once railed against the American harvesting of tall grass.”
  • “So flat in spots they seem laser leveled, the Americans regularly missed on the high side as late as Sunday singles when a late-morning mowing had the greens rolling slightly faster. Still, the lethargic-by-modern-standards Stimpmeter reading of 10 feet, 2 inches proved another wise move by the setup masterminds since the European Tour players generally see slower week-to-week speeds.”
  • While Shackelford praised the T.V. viewing experience, he said this about watching from on site…”As a fan experience, reviews ranged from mixed to poor, with never-ending reports of overwhelmed infrastructure. By day’s end, the venue was littered with piles of trash thanks to a minimum of receptacles. The sight of male fans openly urinating in nearby creeks, sometimes within a wedge shot of the action, suggested a few more of the European Tour’s Ryder Cup millions should have been spent on proper preparation.”
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6. Explanation for the Spieth/Reed split…or not?
While Jordan Spieth and Captain Furyk toed the party line, Patrick Reed did otherwise following the U.S. side’s defeat.
  • “The issue is obviously with Jordan not wanting to play with me,” he told the New York Times.
  • BBC Report…”I don’t have any issue with Jordan,” added the world number 15. “When it comes right down to it, I don’t care if I like the person I’m paired with or if the person likes me as long as it works and it sets up the team for success.
  • “He and I know how to make each other better. We know how to get the job done.”
  • Reed also took issue with not playing in every session…”For somebody as successful in the Ryder Cup as I am, I don’t think it’s smart to sit me twice.”
The Woods/Reed team failed to earn a point. However, Spieth/Thomas won three of their four matches.
7. Time for Tiger & Phil to go?
Here’s a hot take from the AP’s Paul Newberry…the soccer national team example…
  • “Then there’s the Ryder Cup, which, for whatever reason, has dealt out far more disappointment than achievement.’
  • “As Europe romped to a seven-point victory, Woods’ career record dipped to 13-21-3. He’s played on eight of these teams but only one has captured the Cup – at Brookline, nearly two decades ago. Even then, approaching the peak of his career, he managed only a 2-3 record and is a largely forgotten figure in the historic U.S. comeback on the final day.”
  • “Woods would be the losingest player in U.S. history if not for Mickelson, who slipped to 18-22-7 with his two defeats this weekend. The Americans have won the Cup three times with Lefty on the roster, but they’ve lost nine times. His most noteworthy moment might’ve been ripping into 2014 captain Tom Watson after he was benched on Saturday at Gleneagles.”
  • “What Woods and Mickelson should do instead is follow the example of top soccer players as the years creep up on them. While they may continue to play for their club teams, even with a great deal of success, they’ll often step aside from international duty – passing the baton to the next generation in a symbolic acknowledgement that their time has passed.”
8. Sergi-oooo!  
Golf Channel’s Will Gray on Sergio’s Ryder Cup resume-capping week…”Sergio Garcia came to Le Golf National this week as the most scrutinized combatant on either side. He left as the most prolific winner in Ryder Cup history….Garcia’s addition by Thomas Bjorn received plenty of scorn given his lack of form over the last few months and the strength of other possible candidates left at home. But the Spaniard delivered in a big way, going 3-1 while helping Europe to a 17 ½ to 10 ½ victory.”
  • “That individual mark included a 2-and-1 win over Rickie Fowler in Sunday’s singles play, a full point that vaulted him past Sir Nick Faldo as the highest point earner in tournament history. Faldo amassed 25 points for both Great Britain and Ireland and Europe, but Garcia has now earned 25 ½ with a career record of 22-12-7….”I think Sergio’s Ryder Cup story tells its own,” Thomas Bjorn said. “It’s a whole thing of its own, and it’s a brilliant story. It’s a fantastic achievement.”
In other words: Nice pick, Captain Bjorn.
9. Do the Europeans just care more?
Not the first time the suggestion has been made, certainly, but our Ron Montesano has some thoughts.
“Who wants it more?” is a common commentator cliche, and a bad one at that. But in this article, I’m talking about really care, as in, if your backs are up against the wall you’ll do anything to win, including provide energy and spark even when getting trampled. Not just maintain acceptable body language despite losing, but acting in ways that inspire teammates. Fight and claw until the bitter end. And it starts at the top, with the veterans and future hall-of-famers, who know who they are….The United States needs more care in them, it seems.”
“I’m going to call it the “Larry Nelson Curse.” Until the PGA of America publicly apologizes to Larry Nelson, the last guy to go 5-0 before Moli-Moli-Moli-Moli-Moli-Moli MOLINARI, for not giving him his richly-deserved captaincy, Team USA will never again win on foreign soil. Sad part is, it doesn’t seem they care. Very few players showed urgency, passion, zeal or enthusiasm this week in France. Take note of the “Or” and not the “And” in the preceding sentence; to hope for more than one of those adjectives was asking too much of Team USA.”

GolfWRX Morning 9: What went wrong for the U.S.? Here’s the list… | Reed sounds off

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