Ryder Cup Report Card: Team USA

by Jeff Skinner

With the American Team still reeling from the Massacre at Medinah and the victorious European Team nursing a magnum sized hangover we get to reflect on their performances (or lack of) at the 2012 Ryder Cup.  While many players gave us truly unforgettable memories there are some players that would  love to be able to forget their week at Medinah.

Keegan Bradley  (3-1)  A-  :  The rookie burst on to the Ryder Cup scene with a contagious enthusiasm that brought Phil Mickelson back to life.  He was undefeated in team play but failed on Sunday in a key match against a “late” Rory McIlroy.

Jason Dufner (3-1)  A  :  Another rookie that carried the team and his singles win kept the fading hopes of the American Team alive.

Jim Furyk (1-2)  D-  :  Furyk did not validate being a captain’s pick.  He continued his Ryder Cup struggles and pissed away a one up lead against Garcia on Sunday with a bogey, bogey finish to hand the point to Europe.

Dustin Johnson (3-0)  A  :  Played well when Love put him out and did everything Love asked of him including a Sunday win against a hot Colsaerts.

Zach Johnson (3-1)  A-  :  He paired well with Dufner and he beat 2010 hero, Graeme McDowell on Sunday but it was he and Dufner that were victim to Ian Poulter’s five birdie string on Saturday afternoon which set the tone for the European Team on Sunday.

Matt Kuchar (2-1) B-  :  Undefeated in team play but lost to a balky Lee Westwood in singles who was only able to card a single birdie all day.

Phil Mickelson  (3-1)  B-  :  Lefty and Bradley were the poster boys for the team on Friday and Saturday but as Mickelson applauded his singles opponent, Justin Rose, the European stole the match from him.  Phil was one up going into seventeen and Rose’s consecutive birds took the match started the American’s Sunday collapse.

Webb Simpson (2-2) C- :  Simpson paired well with Bubba but his Sunday performance was a tale of two nines.  He went to an early 2 up lead over Ian Poulter but slipped to all square on the back and lost both the 17th and 18th to the heart of the European Team.

Brandt Snedeker (1-2) D : The best putter on tour showed that even the steadiest hands tremble during the Ryder Cup.  A Sunday waxing by Paul Lawrie in the fifth match out fed the fire of the European comeback.

Steve Stricker (0-4)  F :  The nicest guy on the team has to bear the greatest of burdens.  Love’s captain’s pick truly disappointed all week whether it was his pairings with Tiger or his clinching singles loss to Kaymer, Stricker will be hurting for a long time after this one.

Bubba Watson (2-2) C : Bubba gets credit for teaming with Webb as a good team and for changing the nature of the game on the first tee.  But Love put him out first on Sunday to get the crowd into it and earn a big point for the U.S.  But short hitting Luke Donald beat the miles longer Watson and was the spark that lit the European fire.

Tiger Woods (0-3-1) F : Tiger and team play just don’t mix and when you’re Tiger Woods your team needs more than a meaningless half point.  When Woods should have smoked Molinari he let him hang around on Sunday.  The team and the fans got nothing from Woods.

Davis Love III  B  :  Love put out the lineup that on Saturday afternoon gave the Americans a 10-4 lead.  It finished on Saturday at 10-6, a healthy margin any captain would relish.  He frontloaded on Sunday to counter Europe’s big guns.  But his players could only muster a paltry 3.5 points in the final.  If Love made mistakes they were sitting Phil and Bradley (but Phil was adamant it was his own call) or Dustin Johnson only playing in two team matches.  But at 10-6 did anyone really think Love had erred?  If anything is to be questioned it was his captain’s picks:  Stricker, Furyk and Snedeker combined for a 2-8 record.  But his on course strategy had worked for the Americans.


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