Today we gather as one to pay our final respects and toast the life and success of the 2018 US Ryder Cup team, who flew over to Paris as heavy favorites and returned having lost a squeaker 17.5 to 10.5. Unfortunately, the US players can’t join us today, as their court-mandated session with Dr. Molly Griswold next door (because a fake team certainly deserves a fake doctor-lady) conflicts. Let us bow our heads in a moment of silence before we go on.
(LOUD NOISE in the form of punches landing on someone’s body echo in the background; Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka are wrestling on the ground and throwing punches. Both men are bleeding). “Guys, come on.”
Oh dear, it seems that Dustin and Brooks skipped out on their session. This is rather unfortunate. I didn’t want to have to do this, but you leave me no choice but to use this tranquilizer dart gun. Security, take them instead to visit Stuart Smalley. Guys, you did mixed doubles all wrong. Be better.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. This was supposed to be the dawn of a decade of American dominance, according to Alan Shipnuck who is never wrong about these things. After beating Europe two years ago at Hazeltine, the US was supposed to be in the ascendancy with the kind of talent that hasn’t been seen before! We have a picture of Alan’s “source” for these predictions.
Really, Alan? Let’s go back to 1999. Coming off losses in 1995 and 1997, the US was hoping to regain control of the trophy. Fresh off a final day comeback in Boston where Europe was defeated, the US was set to soar into the ascendency. A US team led by Tiger, David Duval, Justin Leonard and Phil Mickelson would be the backbone of American dominance. Or would they?
Fast forward to 2008, where, after 3 straight losses to Europe, (2002 (the 2001 matches were postponed a year due to the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks), 2004, 2006) Paul Azinger’s vaunted “pod” system propels the US team to a win over Europe. US optimism was running rampant on that final day, and with good reason. A quartet of exciting rookies led the way for a US win in Kentucky that would surely be the foundation for future success. Hunter Mahan, Ben Curtis, JB Holmes and Anthony Kim would join elite players like Tiger and Phil for success in the future. C’mon, sure this had to work, right?
So, 8 years later (after losses in 2010, 2012 and 2014) the US team, with the fruits of their now-famous Task Force after the infamous 2014 press conference at Gleneagles, beat Europe handily to take back the trophy. This time would be different. You had a ‘greatest generation’ of young talents; Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka.
I believe it was the Smiths who sang “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before.” On an album that quite literally was released after the band broke up. Metaphors running fast and furious today, kids! Join in if you know the words:
Europe in 2018, we were told, was old. Not good enough. A mix of beyond-their-prime players and rookies who didn’t know about Ryder Cup pressure. Thomas Bjorn was from Denmark. Let’s take a look at the European Team’s pump-up video they showed the players the night before the first day’s matches.
Stirring stuff, you’d have to admit. A nice reminder about passing of the torch. And now, the US team’s video, which somehow they left behind in the destruction of the US team room.
After seeing that US team’s video, I know I’m pumped up. TO LIVE IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER.
To borrow a term from Cliff Fletcher, Video Shmideo. If you need a video to get pumped up then you’ve got bigger problems, right? I mean, look at that stacked US team. The young core from Hazeltine who would assuredly not do anything silly or dumb, combined with Veterans with a Winning Ryder Cup Pedigree in Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. Tiger had won the Tour Championship the previous Sunday. Win number 80! What could possibly go wrong for this team?
Oh. So other than everything, Captain Furyk how was your week in Paris? Let’s count the ways, shall we?
Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson got into an altercation on the flight to Paris.
They got into a second altercation Sunday night in the European team room. The reasons for the scraps aren’t really appropriate to mention here.
Brooks then had a wayward drive during Friday’s matches that hit a spectator in the face causing her to lose sight from one of her eyes. This is what some would call an omen.
Phil Mickelson looked old and useless and no amount of Mizzen and Main dancing could help. He conceded the winning point after rinsing his tee shot against Moliniari and gave the world a nice visual to what the word metaphor means. He then complained about how unfair the course was with its narrow fairways and deep rough. But he’s still pretty nimble when he’s wearing his American Flag pajama pants (which apparently were a thing). Which might be the most impressive thing he did all week.
Patrick Reed complained about pretty much everyone and everything, and his family decided to defend him on Twitter (which always goes well) even though he knew what was going to happen. I’m shocked that this guy’s Tour nickname is “Table For 1” (among his FELLOW TOURING PROS). Oh wait, no I’m not. Really, though- taking a verbal run at Tiger has never worked out badly. If the Green Jackets served him the champions dinner in a dog bowl on the veranda, who’d blame them at this point?
Seriously- in 2 years Reed went from being a so-called Captain America to a guy you don’t touch with a 40-foot pole. It’s almost as if the rumors about him from college were predictable, but let’s go with the ‘nobody saw it coming’ tripe.
Bryson Dechambeau and his cadre of scientific stuff proved equally useless. Blame the metric system, I guess. They even made him his own special Hogan cap because genius boy can’t wear a regular hat like the rest of the team.
Bubba Watson demonstrated his usual effectiveness playing overseas; it’s not like he ever had a blow-up at this course before. Oh, never mind. His career Ryder Cup record is the equivalent of the 2018 Baltimore Orioles. Career record of 4 wins in 14 matches. What level of delusion does one have to have to think “yup, I can help the team” with that record. A one-trick pony who phones it in when things go off the rails when he’s not crying (his caddie being tasked with cleaning up his messes is never not funny).
Tiger Woods looked old and tired. Playing 4 rounds in Atlanta heat and humidity and then flying across the Atlantic almost immediately was never going to end well for him; not to mention the emotional come-down from winning. It’s hard to win on Tour, and that he made it look easy for so many years only underscores how dominant he was. The rain pants in sunny weather was a bold strategy. Was he trying to cut weight or something? Should have gotten him a squirrel or something.
Rickie Fowler didn’t play well either, but he didn’t seem to do anything stupid, so he’s got that going for him.
Webb Simpson wasn’t bad either; he didn’t do anything dumb and played pretty well. On the US team this is called ‘having a great Ryder Cup.’
Tony Finau was pretty good and again, managed to go 3 days without doing anything dumb. Major success!
Other than those two, combined with Jordan Spieth (who got destroyed in the singles) and Justin Thomas, the team effort was one long fart noise.
The excuses coming from the US team were…something. “They grew the rough up and it was unfair.” Seriously? Pretty obvious that this was going to be the plan. I’m no expert but maybe they should have had a task force on how to find a god damn fairway. To that point, at some point a US Ryder Cup team captain is going to understand that there’s a difference between the never-ending trough of 72-hole stroke play events on the PGA Tour and four-ball and foursomes (so-called alternate shot) events and start to pick Horses for Courses.
“The greens were slower than we’re used to putting on.” They had 3 days of practice, and unless my eyes were deceiving me, Europe had to putt on them as well. They also had 2 years to prepare knowing full well what Europe was going to do to set up the golf course; makes you wonder what exactly they were doing in that time.
“Their crowds were out of control.” Yup; first time this has happened. The crowds at previous Ryder Cups have been completely devoid of controversy or negative comments about other players. The Country Club in Boston during 1999 was well-behaved like I’m anorexic.
“Furyk should/shouldn’t/should/shouldn’t have done something else.” Or, you know, you could try playing better.
Reminder that Mickelson, Dechambeau and Tiger were captain’s picks. Zero points. To quote Dean Vernon Warmer, “zero point zero.” Maybe Furyk should have made them wear the Chiliwear shirts that he made famous. Maybe top them off with the Duffy Waldorf Hawaiian print hats (remember, always steer in the direction of the skid).
The other (non-Adam Shipnuck) talking heads were just as bad. Golf.com had 9 of their 12 prognosticators pick the US team. Golf Digest, Golf Channel were equally bad. This inevitable slaughter in Europe has happened in 1997, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018. You’d think they’d see a pattern or something, but instead they throw out the same talking points and blind enthusiasm from the previous 4 years (flash back 4 years ago and you had the same level of delusional thinking about the US team’s chances). Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
But surely there must be some positives to look forward to as we inch towards 2020, when the Ryder Cup is contested at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. A few things to look forward to:
- Steve Stricker will probably be the captain because he seems polite, he’s from Wisconsin and it’s his turn or something.
- Dustin Johnson finally figuring out what a bunker is on the 18th Too soon?
- Eleventy billion viewings of the time John Daly threw a club into the lake. Nice form that.
- Your first 9,000-yard course that has no rough, 100-yard fairway widths, and an actual clown’s mouth on the putting greens that will stimp out at 25. People will then wonder why balls oscillate in wind.
- Should Europe retain the cup, at least one prognosticator will blame the wind and say something like “nobody could have predicted it would be windy” with a straight face or something equally intelligent remarking on how it is that Bubba Watson isn’t good in this format.
- Hopefully every hole will have TopTracer (or similar) technology.
- Johnny Miller along for one final ride with Dan Hicks before David Duval comes in hard with “Imma let you finish talking about your 63 at Oakmont, but you never had a 59 in tournament play.”
- The over/under on times you’ll see fans wearing Cheese Heads is set at 37 trillion.
- Hearing “USA, USA, USA” every six seconds.
But, we digress. Let us bow our heads, take a moment of quiet reflection, and mourn the loss and departure of the 2018 US Ryder Cup team. Oh dear, Patrick Reed has had a second Michelob Ultra and is screaming profanities at everyone and complaining that nobody likes him, which explains his ‘Table For One’ nickname on tour and his listening to Imagine Dragons on a loop. If only someone could have warned him about Imagine Dragons:
Vegas Golden Knights have gone seven straight games without a regulation win since letting Imagine Dragons play on the ice before a game
— DL (@davelozo) October 8, 2018
It’ll be 29 years of no wins in Europe by the time the 2022 US Ryder Cup team heads to Italy to try to win. Looking forward to the same stories in four years’ time about how the US team will be overwhelming favorites to win in Italy.
Go in peace.