Europe gives U.S. Ryder team what fore

September 28, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

Just a little more than a week has passed since the debacle at Oakland Hills called the Ryder Cup.

Europe destroyed a team of phantom golfers from the United States in what is becoming a ritual these days. Unless something changes, it's not going to get any better for the home boys.

The U.S. has lost four of the last five Ryder Cups to the Europeans and this one was the worst in history, 18 1/2 to 9 1/2.

I'd hope changes are made to the process for choosing U.S. Ryder Cup team members.

The most important change has to come with the point rankings that are gained by an individual player over the course of a two-year period. The Europeans' point list is limited to one year.


The PGA needs to reduce the length of time for the point system, starting when the PGA Tour begins its Hawaiian swing in years the Ryder Cup is being held. Let the points build up from January through July.

With this structure, the U.S. team is likely to have players that are on more of a roll than what we saw with the 2004 team. Of this year's 12 players, Stewart Cink was the only player that had won a tournament since May. Now, that is having your hottest players out on the course.

I'm sorry, Maryland ties or not, but golfers like Fred Funk - a product of the length of the point system - didn't belong in the Ryder Cup.

And European captain Bernhard Langer purely outmanaged the captain, Hal Sutton.

Chris Riley, who played so well with Tiger Woods in the morning matches on the second day, tells Sutton he basically couldn't give it his best in the afternoon matches. Sutton, as captain, should have still put him out there. Did Riley think he was going to make a Ryder Cup team in the future?

And Jay Haas, God bless him. At 50, he was out there playing golf when he should probably be the captain.

Let's get with a shorter time frame on the points standings.

And here's another great idea.

Since he lives in Florida, how about getting U.S. naturalization papers in order for Vijay Singh?

In case anyone didn't notice, the new No. 1 player in the world continues to win tournaments this year - something that hasn't been done by any Ryder Cup member.

Europe already draws its contingent from several flag-bearing countries, so there shouldn't be any harm in adding Canada to the list on the American side. Mike Weir or Fred Funk. Who would you rather have?

The choices are clear. A victory is not.

Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by email at

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