September 21, 2008

My Opinion, Faldo Screwed Up without Monty, Clarke...

Another Ryder Cup is under way and, for the life of me, I cannot understand how Nick Faldo could overlook Colin Montgomerie as one of his picks. It makes no sense whatsoever to ignore someone whose mere presence on the team would give them a moral boost.

Ok, Mrs Doubtfire…er, Monty has never won a major and is known for blowing up at the worst moments in a major, but come Ryder Cup time, he becomes a different person. You could almost expect him to pop out of a phone booth wearing blue tights and a red cape.

The most important thing Monty could have done for the European team is to just be there. If you remember correctly, come Ryder Cup time, most Americans cannot resist sneering at him, booing him and hurling invective about his perpetual hangdog facial expression.

Lets be honest here, Monty’s expression hints that even if you dropped a sack with million dollars in it at his feet during a match, he’d probably whine in despair about the taxes that needs to be paid. He is NOT "Mr Cheerful", so my countrymen take great delight in winding him up.

Please do not get me wrong, I do not approve of this behaviour and I have been frequently embarrassed by the antics of some of the gallery when they go to a Ryder Cup match in the US, but I do think that insulting Monty does serve a purpose…

It irritates the European Team and makes them play even harder. It also proves that the one person on the Team Europe that the Americans respect and worry about is Montgomerie.

Hey, nobody ever kicks a dead dog, right?

So why Faldo left poor old Colin off the team is a mystery that may never be solved. He has lost cup stalwarts Colin Montgomerie and Darren Clarke, having failed to select them with his two wildcards, but believes that once again European team spirit and camaraderie will win the day and he might not be wrong.

Faldo’s advantage is Padraig Harrington who has won three majors in the last 15 months, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood who have been in a few Ryder Cups and have the enthusiasm of youth as well.

Azinger, on the other hand, had a wealth of possibilities for his picks and he chose some surprising ones, and has six rookies in which might not be a bad idea given the proclivity of many veteran American players on the Tour who seem to play for second place and hope the leader stumbles.

Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk the two senior players for the US although neither has enjoyed great success to date in the Ryder Cup.

The rookies include three players in their early 20s - Anthony Kim, JB Holmes and Hunter Mahan. Again, what makes them dangerous is that they are too young to comprehend the pressures of the Ryder Cup and might be able to skate through it. The arrogance of youth does have its benefits at times.

But to be honest, I think the one play who will make a difference for Team USA is the one who will not be there…

Yes, I am referring to "you-know-who."

He’s a great player, no doubt about it, but the fact remains that he’s always had a lousy Ryder Cup record and makes life difficult for anyone he’s paired with. Superstars hate sharing the spotlight. It also makes it difficult for the team captain when it comes to pairings.

While Jeff Puchalski, Kenny Saunders and Scott Dedo might call me a traitor, I think the Europeans will take the cup again this time around. However, please remember a very important fact…

I am NEVER correct in my predictions.

Just as a note, if Michelle Wie earns her card through Q-School, I will stop making fun of her and will give her the credit due any professional who made it through the hardest test in golf. In short, she will have earned the right to be on the LPGA.

However, I would hope that she continues to display level-headedness and smart decision making, which seems alien to Team Wie, but one can always hope for the best.

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