The Monday Morning GolfRap on TDG Radio and TV had plenty of 2014 Ryder Cup fodder for this show as hosts George Honeycutt and SC Golf Center’s Hugh Royer III breakdown the weekend’s golf. The 2014 Ryder Cup is in the books, and and although the United States Team had some shining moments, in the end winning was not to be. Being the Monday morning quarterbacks we tend to be, let’s take a shot at determining where we can lay the blame this year. Although the TGD GolfRap broadcast team felt Mickelson was unprofessional in his delivery, all are in agreement with the content in his comments during the press conference. Mickelson seemed to basically lay the blame with Captain Watson, referencing Paul Azinger’s methods that included more player involvement in the decision process. First to be critiqued are Captain Watson’s conservative picks that left out names like Billy Horschel, Chris Kirk, Ryan Palmer, Ryan Moore, and even Brendon Todd, while adding Hunter Mahan, Web Simpson, and Keegan Bradley. Most everyone who had the benefit of seeing Billy Horschel’s finish to the season…after Captain Watson’s deadline for making picks, has been questioning the look over. There’s no question, with his strong play at the end of the season, Horschel should have been on the team. But, Captain Watson did not have a crystal ball and had to make his picks based on present circumstances. The broadcast team brings up a great question for future picks,…should at least one pick be saved until after the Fedex Cup? The play of Ryder Cup Rookies Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, and Jimmy Walker added strength to arguments for including youthful enthusiasm in place of veteran complacency.
Having lost 7 of the last 8 Ryder Cups something is obviously wrong at the core of the U.S. process. The Ryder Cup does not seem to mean as much to Americans as it does the Europeans. Being touted as one of, if not the top global sports spectacle, the Ryder Cup seems to take a back seat in the U.S. to The Masters, The U.S. Open, and the PGA Championship. The U.S. does not seem to need the Ryder Cup for global prestige as much as the Europeans, at least that is the opinion of Royer and Honeycutt. The discussion became heated when Honeycutt asked Royer his opinion of the way captains are chosen in the U.S. versus the process utilized by the Europeans. Royer was animated and passionate in his statements that the PGA of America is not really qualified to handle the U.S. side of the Ryder Cup by themselves. “There should be more involvement by the players,” stated Royer. “There needs to be more involvement by the tour. I belong to the PGA of America, mainly because my father was a member. But, those guys for the most part are not players.”
When the question was posed as to who would be the best choice for the next Ryder Cup captain, some interesting names were mentioned. Royer stated that Paul Azinger would obviously be a great pick. He also added that Mark Calcavecchia and John Cook would both be the kind of coach to get a team fired up. Honeycutt mentioned Billy Horschel’s tweet that Freddy Couples should be the 2016 captain, and added his own choice of Jay Haas. Both Royer and Honeycutt agreed on the idea of having the players vote on the the captains to coach the team.
There’s no doubt the U.S. Team has not played “like” a team in at least the last two Ryder Cups. What does it take to motivate 12 individual millionaires to play together as a team…for free… for the prestige of representing their country? As Mickelson stated, Paul Azinger created a process that worked and even wrote a book about it. Captain Watson apparently took nothing from Azinger’s methods and cannot escape the ensuing criticism for yet another embarrassing Ryder Cup loss. Let’s take nothing away from the play of the Europeans. They played some amazing golf. Justin Rose proved once again that he is a putting machine. And although Rickie Fowler played great golf Sunday, Rory McIlroy was on a mission and couldn’t be stopped, putting an exclamation mark on the end of his incredible 2014 season.
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