Wow! What a great a great Ryder Cup and an amazing Sunday of golf. A truly stunning result and certainly one of my top five most memorable golf broadcasts. I wanted to share of few of my impressions from the week. Here goes:
- Ian Poulter: I have always enjoyed Ian's 'confidence' - some might call it arrogance, but I've never seen it that way and I have also thought him to be a top player and competitor. Everything I believed about Ian James Poulter has now been tripled! He, (virtually) single-handedly, won the cup for Europe with his five closing birdies on Saturday. Those five holes and that win for Europe allowed them to hang on to a glimmer of hope for Sunday and without that glimmer they don't get the job done. He now owns the best all time Ryder Cup record for players who have played in at least 15 matches - that says something about IJP.
- Phil Mickelson: While I have never been a fan of Phil, this weekend I finally packed up my things and climbed on his bandwagon. One of the coolest things I witnessed all week was Phil clapping for Justin Rose when he hit a good shot or holed a long putt. He played with fire, he played beautifully, and above all else he was a true gentleman.
- Keegan Bradley: This guy is for real. He has tremendous heart and just like Poulter, has the make up to be a fantastic competitor for many years to come in the Ryder Cup. I did not get the benefit to the sideways look at putts and the twitchy, start stop pre-shot routine has got to go. I was glad I had the golf recorded so I could fast forward while he got ready to hit a shot....
- Jose Maria Olazabal: It was great for Ollie to get the win and it was obvious on his face how often he thought of his friend and mentor Seve Ballesteros. Seve truly was the 13th amn and I believe his influence played a laregr than appreciated role in the European victory. I enjoyed JMO's post victory quote: "All men die, but not all men live. Today you made me feel alive again!"
- Should Davis Love III get the blame? Completely ridiculous! If one putt or chip goes in for the US squad on Sunday the result is completely flipped and he's a hero.
- Bubba on the 1st tee: Perhaps one of my favorite moments of the event! I got chills the first time I saw it and I hope (believe) he has started a trend in the matches that will continue for a long time. You saw him do it first! Great stuff.
- Giving putts and conceding matches: Francesco Molinari was instructed in the 18th fairway to win the hole by Ollie. In my view there is a difference in retaining the Cup and winning the Cup. Same celebration and 'same' outcome, but winning is always better. I honestly don't think I would have given TW his putt either....
- Spirit of the matches: This Ryder Cup was contended by two excellent teams where many of the players seemed to be in form. The matches were great theater and the players conducted themselves in a classy fashion. I did not see anything that I thought to be underhanded.
- Sour grapes: The European team is sour when they lose and their fans claim gamesmanship and unsporting conduct when they lose (see Brookline '99). The US team and their fans are no different (see Medinah '12). Nobody enjoys losing - it's human nature and I'm okay with that.
- Top players on each team: For the Euro squad it must be Poulter who also gets Man of the Ryder Cup in my books. On Saturday afternoon he loaded up the whole event on his back and said watch this...A nod must also go to Rory McIlroy who played some incredible golf and carried the 'World No. 1' flag beautifully. For the Americans there were a few superstars: Jason Dufner, who just continues to get better; Keegan Bradley who fired up Phil and played liked a man possessed; and Phil, who not only played with passion again, but owned the 'classy moment' of the week. Dustin Johnson also quietly went 3-0.
- Duds: For the Euro team G-Mac and Westwood performed below expectations and for the US it can only be TW and Stricker who earned a measly half point out of 8 opportunities.
- Was this a 'miracle' comeback? No, not really. If you run the odds on a team coming back from a 10-6 deficit going in to Sunday you come out with a 19% chance. Even though it's only happened once before, not a miracle at all.
- Don't count your chickens: Here's an interesting piece written by ESPN's Gene Wojchiechowski on Saturday evening. Gene has been taking a beating for this one.....
In total I absolutely loved the event and it once again proves that the game of golf is in good shape. There are more than enough great players and characters to carry the game without Tiger being what he once was.