Sunday night, during halftime of the Bears-Cowboys game on NBC (I don’t even watch the NFL and I know this game is two teams that are bad), Davis Love III will finally announce his 4th captain’s pick and the 2016 US Ryder Cup team will be finalized. Regardless of what happens in Hazeltine, this multi-step process cannot continue and both the US and European teams must come to an equitable system for 2018 and beyond. Pick a number (be it 0, 2, 3, or 4 if you must, but both teams must abide by the same number of captain’s picks) and both sides must abide by it.
I mean what next- a god damn rose ceremony with David Feherty in the Chris Harrison role where the hopeful candidates get interviewed in hopes of impressing the team captain? We’re a stage away from having a Ryder Cup Selection reality TV show for the Americans.
I distinctly remember after the 2014 Ryder Cup a series of interviews that European captain Paul McGinley did that detailed the amount of preparation prior to the tournament proper. Knowing his team well before the event and who was going to play with whom well in advance…it’s leaving nothing to chance. He had all kinds of analytical data on each player. He had played with each player. Tom Watson…kind of seemed to make it up as he went along.
You know when would be a good time announce your captain’s picks? Immediately AFTER the 2nd FedEx Cup Playoff event. Have the ceremony on the 18th green during NBC’s coverage. Have local kids carry out bags of the players, and if the players are there, have them come out as well. USA Hockey did something similar to this prior to the 2014 Olympics; they did it after the 2014 Winter Classic. Pretty cool (and not just the weather). Take a look (they did the same thing four years prior after the 2010 Winter Classic but that game didn’t feature my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs winning in a shootout so this is what you get):
Pretty cool, eh?
And Davis, since I know you’re reading this, we need to have another chat. Have a seat. Bourbon, no ice?
As I understand it, you like to watch hockey from time to time, which is a good thing. I know you’re busy, but did you watch Team USA at the World Cup of Hockey on Tuesday night? A team purpose-built (allegedly) to beat Canada got destroyed (the score was 4-2 but it wasn’t that close). Today, you’ve got smart people (like me) saying that USA Hockey was pretty ignorant in setting up the team with a bunch of plugs and grinders rather than elite high-end talent. But their mouth-breathing coach is all about standing for the anthem, and that’s what’s important here, right? Not really.
There’s a lesson here. Think talent, and think birdies. A blow-up hole isn’t a big deal here…carding an X on a hole isn’t a death knell (especially if their opponent birdies it). Statistical analysis would show you who makes a lot of birdies and has the occasional Tin Cup moment. I’m sure you have this researched…or not.
Match play, as you know, is NOT 72-hole stroke play. You don’t need pluggers and grinders. You need guys who can make birdies and you need to think beyond the norm. Hopefully you’ve got binders of analytical data on players in addition to your own observations. If you’re honestly waiting to see who shows up at East Lake with a hot hand, you’re screwed. “If” the Ryder Cup were being held at East Lake I’d say you might have a point, but it isn’t. Different course, layout, climate, turf, greens, and so on. Even better is if you already know your lineup and who’s playing with whom (yes, injuries can throw a wrench in but if you don’t know who your Friday morning groups are by now it’s going to end poorly).
For some reason, Azinger’s system in 2008 worked. Maybe it was because of Anthony Kim. Who knows. You know who wasn’t on that team? The same guy that people are foaming at the mouth for you to pick with that last selection.And since we’re on the subject, I know this has become A Thing, but put the crack pipe down about selecting somebody who hasn’t played competitive golf in 13 months (especially someone who doesn’t exactly have a great record in the event). You had this person on your team 4 years ago in Medinah, and their record was bad then (when they were ranked #1 in the world). The question you have to answer is this- how has this person improved in 4 years to make them a better Ryder Cup player? Answer- they haven’t. If the 2018 captain wants to observe them, that would make sense.
Seriously, Jim Furyk has been on more winning teams than this guy, and you already know what level of stupid that idea is.
Spare me the canard of “but Ian Poulter isn’t on the team and he got them off the mat during the Saturday afternoon session.” Bullshit. You were up 10-6 going into the singles. And lost. Which was supposedly the strength of the US team. How’d your anchor do on Sunday? Oh, right.
In the end, if this collection of humanity gets to 14 1/2 points you’ll be a genius and that will be that. But from here, I’m not sure you know how to get to that number. Hope I’m wrong for your sake.