By Robert Bicknell

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September 17, 2006

My Ryder Cup prediction - Europe in a blow out…

All over the streets of America, people are gearing up for the next threat on the horizon. Pundits have been taking to the airwaves screaming its "us against them", comparing our way of life versus theirs and claiming moral superiority. Others claim that "might makes right", while others mindlessly parrot the old saw that "we cannot show signs of weakness." No, I am not talking about the alleged "War on Terror"…

Its Ryder Cup time again.

For some reason, I just can’t get hyped up about it this time around, probably due to the worst defeat in the history of the US team thanks in part to Fred Flintstone…er, Hal Sutton in 2004. Ya gotta admit that an 18 ½ - 9 ½ loss is more than a tad humiliating.

While Sutton was the epitome of buffoonery, he had a good team. Sadly, this time around there’s a good captain with a winning Ryder Cup record, but some of his team still have training wheels on their golf cars and the others have trouble seeing out of the smoked-glass interior of their limousines. NBC golf analyst Johnny Miller went so far as to claim that this year’s Ryder Cup team is the worst ever fielded by the US.

Another problem involves the American belief that its always someone else’s fault. Nah, it wasn’t Sutton’s fault that a hick cowboy who cannot speak in complete sentences can’t motivate selfish millionaire superstars to play together in the same sandbox, so it must be the system…yeah…the system. Fix it.

So, the USPGA, bowing to the fickle whims of the public, fixed what didn’t need fixing and now we have kids who are still wet behind the ears representing our country against the Europeans who are laughing into their crepes.

Sadly, the USPGA forgot to include a "Mickelson clause" which prohibits changing equipment right before the event.

Granted, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk can be legitimately called "big guns" under normal tournament circumstances, but not in a Ryder Cup where teamwork is more vital than being a one-man wrecking crew.

Tiger’s 7-10-1 record in the Ryder Cup sucks, period. He is simply not a "team player" because of his highly competitive nature. He is a legitimate "Weapon of Mass Destruction" and can only do his thing without interference.

Flintstone’s…er, Sutton’s worst move was putting two prima donnas like Woods and Mickelson together. Instead, he should’ve paired Woods with the team mascot and just let Tiger be Tiger.

Mickelson wants so desperately to be a star that competes against his own team-mates as well as the other team and Furyk is the only golfer on the planet who requires a disclaimer to be flashed on the screen before he swings just to warn people not to try this at home.

So, that leaves the slack to be picked up by some Ryder Cup rookies and a few wild cards, who also have dismal records.

A few weeks ago, I smacked a wire service journalist who was stupid enough to claim that the US was in danger of "losing its dominance in golf" because if you examine the history, you’d see that the Europeans have won four of the last five Ryder Cups.

American dominance of the Cup ended in 1983 and its been a true dog fight ever since.

If anything, the last Ryder Cup proved that the teamwork spirit is superior to individuality and therein lies the rub.

The Europeans seem to relish the idea of team play and its evident in their attitude. They’re having a great time out there. Even in the team rooms, they’re having a blast, whereas Team USA’s "go it alone superstars" spend the evenings talking to their agents on cell phones.

Superior firepower and "folksy anecdotes or fire and brimstone rhetoric" will not blow the Europeans out of the water and Team USA had better understand that they have to take a page from the European playbook and work as a team, but sadly, if the current collective mindset permeating the US is any indication, I do not see that happening.

My prediction : Europe wins in a blow out.

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