Four of the last five Ryder Cups have gone to the Europeans with a 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 win in Wales two years ago, and it's time for the Americans to up their game at Medinah Country Club in the Chicago, IL area this Sept. 28-30. The US team has experienced mostly losses, and its counterpart has had just the opposite. Captain Davis Love III and his four assistants including Michael Jordan can find better pairings, line-ups, and strategies to beat the European Team who brought the Ryder Cup Trophy with them this week. Mostly, though, it's time for the American men to step up collectively for pride and home and take back the 39th Ryder Cup in front of a spirited home crowd.
The American Team of (FedEx ranking): Brandt Snedeker (#1), Tiger Woods, (#3), Phil Mickelson (#4), Dustin Johnson (#8), Zach Johnson (#12), Bubba Watson (#13), Jason Dufner (#14), Jim Furyk (#15), Webb Simpson (#16), Matt Kuchar (#18), Steve Stricker (#20), Keegan Bradley (#21) will play 8 "foursomes," 8 "fourball," and 12 singles matches over 18 holes each. The European team consists of: Rory McIlroy (#2), Justin Rose (#6), Luke Donald (#9), Lee Westwood (#10), Sergio Garcia (#17), Francesco Molinari (#31), Martin Kaymer (#32), Nicolas Colsarts (#35), Ian Poulter (#39), Graeme McDowell (#42), Paul Lawrie, and Peter Hanson. The winner of each match scores a point for their team, with half points awarded for ties.
Perhaps we'll see some better pairings, because Woods-Mickelson was not a good one. Camaraderie and chemistry are extremely important in "four-Ball" match play where you are taking the best ball of a twosome, and in "foursomes" play where two players alternate hitting one ball. While the USA team looks for balance among its individual players, the European team looks for chemistry. In team competition there should be a good mix of both. However, the Europeans have proven that chemistry is better. They have some of their top players, and they have some good team players.
The 2010 European Team won by one point at Celtic Manor and currently has the Ryder Cup Trophy. Then and in other instances, with everybody playing on Sunday, the depth of the US should have shown, nonetheless, the last day of play hasn't made up for the days before of late. The United States has had 25 victories, while Britain/Europe has 11, with two ties.
For the USA to win there needs to be better team and pair's mutual understanding and compatibility. Let's hope for more complimentary pairings not only in style of play, but personality. Let that consistent player strike first, and then let someone rip a shot. An example might be a duo of Stricker and Woods, who match up well and have a good rapport. So that on the 15th, 300-yd. drivable hole, after Stricker gets his shot down the middle of the fairway, Tiger has a possible chip in for the "foursome," or Tiger then hauls off for the green and a short putt in "four-Ball".
We have the PGA world No. 2 and they have world No. 1 However, Woods as No. 1 hasn't in the past meant a win for Team USA, so let's hope the jinx passes over to McIlroy as the new #1. Let's root for the home team, celebrate this year's biennial Ryder Cup win, and save José María Olazábal, the European Captain, the extra baggage fee for the trophy.