by Jeff Skinner
The impossible comeback that the Europeans executed to down the Americans from a 10-6 lead will be the legacy that Love will have to carry as he attained his dream of a Ryder Cup Captaincy. It is a difficult time for Love but he has to take solace in the fact that he did a good job preparing his team and his decisions and pairings put his team in position for a victory with a four point lead going into Sunday.
The charges at Love include not sending Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley out for a fourth match, keeping Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker together for three defeats, having a struggling Stricker in the eleventh slot on Sunday and with the Cup already decided Tiger had no impact because he was in the last slot.
If there is any legitimate criticism of Love it should be directed at his captain’s picks. It was there that he added what he thought was a solid veteran advantage with Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk. His two contemporaries failed him miserably, earning only one point in seven matches. But even with this failure his team was still in great shape and certainly, a four point lead is more than either captain would have imagined going into Sunday.
There isn’t much second guessing being directed at European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal and with good reason, he won. And because Love’s troops failed to execute, failed to hold a huge lead, failed to show any nerve over crucial putts on Sunday, Love bears the burden of his players failure to simply play decent golf on Sunday. Any criticism needs to be directed at the players that failed, and failed miserable on Sunday.
This is a team that had a huge lead going into Sunday without getting any points from Woods or Stricker and only one from Jim Furyk. On Sunday the meltdown spread to the entire team as players that seemed unstoppable in team play lost their edge and just plain choked in their singles match. Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley, Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker, Furyk, Matt Kuchar and Stricker all failed to win their singles matches and Tiger only earned a bogus tie, when wins from just one of the losers would have claimed the cup for the Americans. All the U.S. Team needed was another win from any of the first eleven players to play on Sunday. Is Davis love to blame for their inability to close a match? No, he got them in a position to win and they failed to step up, show some nerve and take down their opponent. Love had done his job, it was the players that failed to do theirs.