USA … USA … USA … USA … USA … USA … USA … USA … USA … USA!
It is time to get out your American flags and route for the Americans.
The 2014 Ryder Cup Matches are about to begin …
What is the event?
Well, it all started at Worcester Country Club in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1927. It began as the biennial competition between the male professional golfers of the United States and the male professional golfers of Great Britain. The matches were held every other year from 1927 to 1937. In 1939 Great Britain chose a captain and named eight players to compete. War was declared on September 3, 1939 so the matches were cancelled. There were no matches played in 1941, 1943 & 1945. Play was resumed in 1947.
Initially it was just the English professionals who competed for Great Britain. Professionals from Northern Ireland were added in 1947 and professionals from the Republic of Ireland were added in 1953. In 1979 the “Great Britain” team was expanded to include professionals from continental Europe. Since 1979 their side has been referred to as Europe.
The Ryder Cup had always been played on odd numbered years until 2001. That year the matches were scheduled for September 28-30, 2001 at The Belfry’s Barbazon Course. The 2001 matches were postponed by mutual agreement after the September 11th terrorist attack on the United States. The matches were played in 2002 and have been on even numbered years ever since.
Overall, since 1927, the Ryder Cup Matches have been played 39 times. The United States has won 25 times, lost 12 times and tied twice. It is worth noting that since 1979, when continental Europe was added to the Great Britain side, there have been 17 matches with 9 US wins, 7 Europe wins and 1 tie.
The Ryder Cup (along with The Presidents Cup) remains one of the few professional “all-star” events where the players are not paid to play. They play for the pride of their countrymen.
Each side has 12 players. Nine players qualify on points based on performance. Each captain may select three players known as “captain’s picks” or “wild cards”
Modern day Ryder Cup Matches (since 1979) are 12 players vs. 12 players. The format is foursomes, fourball and singles matches. All competition is played at match play with one exception – a tie is not played off. Instead a tie gives one-half point to each side. The schedule of play is decided by the home captain. It is either 4 foursome matches on Friday morning followed by four fourball matches in the afternoon or vice versa. The format is identical on Saturday. This means if it is foursomes in the morning on Friday followed by fourball in the afternoon it will the same on Saturday. If it is fourball first and then foursomes on Friday then it will be the same on Saturday. All single play occurs on Sunday.
Fourball is a match in which two players play their better ball against the better ball of two other players. In fourball each player plays his own ball.
Foursome is a match in which two players play against two other players with each side playing one ball. On a foursome team each player plays alternatively from the teeing grounds and alternatively during the play of a hole. In layman terms this means that if Player A tees off on the even numbered holes then Player B would tee off on the odd numbered holes. During the play of a hole player B would hit the second shot if player A drove from the tee, and vice versa. This form of play is sometimes called alternate shot.
There are eight matches on Friday, eight matches on Saturday and twelve single matches on Sunday. Each match is worth one point. A total of 28 points is available. The defending team must at least tie to retain the cup.
This year’s matches will be played September 26-28 at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perth & Kinross, Scotland.
The US Team is comprised of the following players:
Tom Watson, Captain
Raymond Floyd, Vice-Captain
Andy North, Vice-Captain
Steve Stricker, Vice-Captain
Keegan Bradley Rickie Fowler Jim Furyk
Zach Johnson Matt Kuchar Hunter Mahan
Phil Mickelson Patrick Reed Webb Simpson
Jordan Speith Jimmy Walker Bubba Watson
Team Europe is comprised of the following players:
Paul McGinley, Captain
Des Smyth, Vice-Captain
Sam Torrance, Vice-Captain
Jose Maria Olazabal, Vice-Captain
Padraig Harrington, Vice-Captain
Miguel Angel Jimenez, Vice-Captain
Thomas Bjorn Jamie Donaldson Victor Dubuisson
Stephen Gallacher Sergio Garcia Martin Kaymer
Graeme McDowell Rory McIlroy Ian Poulter
Justin Rose Henrik Stenson Lee Westwood
Ultimately history will only remember who wins so the critical question is: Who wins?
Well, to start the discussion you have to admit, the hottest American players are not on the US Team.
In recent weeks Americans Chris Kirk won and Billy Horschel got incredibly hot, winning two in a row and the FedEx Cup. Unfortunately, both players are not playing for Team USA.
Since mid-April Americans J.B. Holmes, Brenden Todd, Ben Crane, Kevin Streelman & Brian Harman won … but none of these players qualified for the team.
Don’t fret … there are some positives …
Hunter Mahan did win the Barclays in August so we have that going for us … which is nice.
Bubba Watson won the Masters.
Matt Kuchar won the Heritage.
Patrick Reed won a bunch early in the season
Zach Johnson won in Hawaii to kick off 2014
Jimmy Walker won three times early in the season.
Of course Team Europe’s players won The Players, The US Open, The Open Championship, The World Golf Championship – Bridgestone and the PGA Championship. That certainly looks good on paper until you realize that this was all accomplished by only two players on the twelve man team!
Net, net Team Europe looks like they have the hotter hand. This time Team USA looks like the underdog but everyone loves an underdog.
How about camaraderie? Who has the best team spirit?
Being an American I have pride in America. I think Team USA comes together better than Team Europe. Here is why:
Team USA is led by a guy from Kansas City whose team is made up of players from California, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina Vermont and Oklahoma. They may make small talk about sports, politics or the stock market but, at the end of the day, they are Americans. These are guys born in America who still live in America, raise their children in America and vote in America. They are proud to play for the red, white & blue. They want to represent everything that is good about being an American.
An added incentive Team USA has a bitter taste in its mouth from the loss in 2012. They want to win badly. They feel a sense of crisis and groups form stronger bonds during a crisis.
It will be a great show.
Salesmanship Club of Dallas