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Americans: Oh, So Close at the Ryder Cup

by Jeff Skinner

I hope the PGA of America can hurry up and put together a video of the 2010 Ryder Cup because it was a fantastic tournament.  To steal a line from Jim Nantz, “it was one for the ages.”  Hardly ever do we get to see a Ryder Cup come down to the last pairing.  Rarely do we get to see such an exciting ending by two such passionate teams.  While everyone from Johnny Miller to Johnny Knoxville will analyze why the Euros once again beat the Americans the answer is simple.  Over the four days of cold and rain and passion and heartache the Euros sank more putts.  It’s that simple, they putted better than the Americans.  During the first session a few Americans had it going like Jeff Overton and Stewart Cink but until Monday when the greens had dried a little the U.S. players were consistently short with their putts.

There were plenty of occasions for the Americans to step up and sink a putt that would have changed the outcome of the match.  At the fifteenth hole alone, every American had a chance to make a putt to possibly change the outcome of their match.  If Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson get a half point as a team instead of being shutout it’s a different Cup.  Stewart Cink missed two makeable putts down the stretch on Monday.  Rookie Rickie Fowler blew half a point when he dropped the wrong ball and lost the hole.  Overton missed a short, gimmie putt in between his opening birdie and his “Boom Baby.”  Jim Furyk was out of form all weekend.  Bubba Watson couldn’t eagle on fifteen.  Matt Kuchar looked like he left his game in the states.  Zach Johnson teamed with Hunter Mahan when McDowell and McIlroy cleaned their clock.  Heck, even Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods lost for the first time as a team in international play.

The point is that every American had the opportunity to change the outcome of the tournament long before Hunter Mahan was faced with a do or die shot on seventeen.  And most of the Americans did make up for their errors over the course of play.  Phil and Tiger played like they should and won on Monday.  Rickie Fowler played like he had his girlfriend bet on his match with four finishing birdies to halve his match.  Overton came back from two down to win.  And Steve Stricker, the heart and soul of the team, took down the best player on the European team.

It was a magnificent comeback for the Americans that fell a bit short.  Unfortunately, most will remember it for Mahan’s mistake.  They shouldn’t.  The 2010 Ryder Cup should be remembered for the great competition and passion displayed by two very skilled and dedicated teams.  It may be a long time before we see another one like it.

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