Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Same Old Song

The American Ryder Cup team shouldn't have been surprised when the Irish crowd briefly interrupted the closing ceremonies Sunday afternoon for a rousing rendition of 'Ole, Ole,' the European fight song.
They'd been hearing it all day.
The Americans didn't just lose the Ryder Cup. They got walloped -- again.
Why does this keep happening?
It happened this time because the Europeans just played better. They always had the momentum, holed seemingly every crucial putt and played with their typical passion.
Match-play golf is built on momentum and the Americans never had any.
This Ryder Cup belonged to the Europeans from the start. Some of it had to do with talent. On the first morning, Ian Woosnam benched three players ranked in the top 14 in the world. That's how deep the Europeans were.
The Americans' best chances -- the Tiger Woods-Jim Furyk and Chris DiMarco-Phil Mickelson pairings -- weren't particularly productive. Woods and Furyk did okay but Mickelsonn and DiMarco were a bust.
The rookies didn't hurt the U.S. team. Throw them in with the two captain's picks and they produced more points than the top six players in the American lineup.
So, after consecutive wipe-outs, where do the U.S. go next?
That's what everyone is trying to figure out. It's expected that Paul Azinger will be the next captain and he's not afraid to speak his mind.
But Tom Lehman can't be faulted for his preparation. The players spoke glowingly of Lehman's captaincy. They just didn't play well enough.
They came to Ireland looking for the Ryder Cup. They left looking for answers -- again.