Innovation Could Be Key for Ryder Cup
Tom Watson has been named captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team for 2014.
Break out the red, white and blue banners. Strike up “America the Beautiful.” Let’s hear those “USA! USA!” chants.
You gotta love Watson. The guy gives hope to all of us who are currently helping drain the Social Security program. He’ll be 65 when the Americans head to Scotland for the next “Massacre of the Yankees.”
OK, I’m admittedly tired of seeing our guys get their butts kicked in the Ryder Cup. I thought we had those European cats skinned this year and am still a little in shock at the way it ended.
But that’s the Ryder Cup: totally unpredictable.
Is Watson, who guided the U.S. to its last victory on European soil in 1993, the right man to end the drought? Or will Ian Poulter come dashing in to drain all those impossible putts and help the Americans once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?
Like most of us, I like Watson. He’s a great guy with a great attitude, and even though he’s 64, I’d still rather have him coming down the stretch on the final hole of a Ryder Cup match than one of those young guys who can’t seem to make a par when it’s all on the line.
Still, if I had been choosing the captain, ol’ Tom wouldn’t have been my first choice. I would have gone with Larry Nelson, a man who for some reason keeps being overlooked by the PGA despite an outstanding record as an individual player as well as member of the Ryder Cup team, where he had a 9-3-1 record.
Now there’s a guy who knows how to beat those cats from the other side of the pond.
Seriously, though, after our team’s performances over the past few years, it must be getting hard to find someone willing to take the job.
This may be a little off the wall but, as my late friend Jim Pettit once stated, who said the captain has to be a former PGA Tour professional?
If what the team needs most is inspiration, why not go out of the ranks and pick an inspirational guy? Hey, Michael Jordan has never even coached a junior league team, but he does have the experience of having been on hand for a few of the recent U.S. disasters.
You want inspiration, let MJ go one on one on a basketball court with whoever is the European captain and let’s see how that one comes out.
And if you really want someone with coaching experience, there’s a whole slew of NHL coaches out there just dying for a little action.
Then there’s a guy up in Raleigh named Tom O’Brien who is available. Maybe Mike Krzyzewski would take a stab at it. There’s a guy who knows how to win in anything.
The possibilities are endless. But the truth is, it isn’t the captains who have been losing those Ryder Cup matches. It’s been a while since we had a playing captain. Maybe what we need is a new attitude. Having served as captain of a couple of Writer’s Cup teams (what’s all that giggling about?), I’ve been on both sides of the victory celebration, and believe me it’s a lot more fun if it’s one of your guys holing that gagger on the 18th hole.
My philosophy was to keep things light, have some fun, and go out there and kick some serious butt.
That worked well at West Palm Beach when the American writers just blew away the team from Europe, but it was a miserable failure a few years later when a team of South Carolina scribes rallied in the singles to tar our heels.
Me? I’d kind of like to see something really radical. You know, like naming a woman captain. How about the venerable Judy Rankin?
Now there’s an idea. She knows the game and she could make any pairings she liked. Nobody talks back to a woman.
Frankly, I think there’s too much made of this chemistry thing. These guys are all supposed to be at the top of their games. Let’s see them play some good golf when it really counts.
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