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Many theories about US Ryder Cup failure

The New York Times said the Americans lacked fire while The Boston Globe suggested that fat cat U.S. players were too sheltered and just not good enough.

Tiger Woods had his own theories about why the U.S. Ryder Cup team was thoroughly drubbed, 18-1/2 points to 9-1/2 for a second straight time by Europe's inspired dozen.

Woods blamed poor putting and a format he said worked against the Americans, who often fell behind early and were unable to make up ground in what he termed an 18-hole sprint compared to the 72-hole marathon of major championship golf.

"It's match play over 18 holes and anything can happen in an 18-hole sprint," Woods said on Monday in a teleconference call from England. "When you play a 72-hole stroke-play event, all you're looking for is one shot (lead) over 72 holes. It's more of a marathon.

"It about being consistent, it's about never making big numbers," the 12-times major winner said. "In stroke play you could be three down after the first nine holes but you've got 63 holes to go. In match play, it can turn pretty quickly."

Newspaper columnists made other observations.

"Our lads have got their private jets, their sumptuous homes, their seven and eight figures socked away in the bank, and, with this group anyway, their 17 majors. What they do not have, for the third straight time, is possession of the Ryder Cup," wrote Globe columnist Bob Ryan.

He suggested the Americans, losers of five of the last six Ryder Cups, were by now overshadowed by the youthful talent and worldly experience of the Europeans.

"The Euros are far more cosmopolitan. They bounce around the globe. They play and operate in all kinds of conditions." Ryan said.

Dave Anderson of The New York Times said U.S. golfers might benefit from tough love and raw emotion.

"The party line for United States golf's bunch of losers, alias the Ryder Cup team, is that they're too tight, too tentative, too conscious of trying not to lose rather than trying to win," wrote Anderson, who believed "American golfers didn't display anywhere near enough fire or energy."

The Times columnist said a fiery coach, like football's legendary Vince Lombardi, was needed to stoke their emotions.

"Golf is a gentleman's game and the matches must be conducted in the gentlemanly tradition but the United States captains have been too gentlemanly with their golfers."

Woods said for the first time in his four Ryder Cups a spirit of camaraderie led U.S. players to party with their European counterparts on Sunday night after the dueling was over.

"Both teams hung out with each other last night, which is, I think the way the spirit of the Ryder Cup is supposed to be. We're all having a great time and singing and dancing. It was a true celebration of golf," Woods said.

Woods said eight European Ryder Cuppers -- Darren Clarke, Luke Donald, Colin Montgomerie, Paul Casey, Padraig Harrington, David Howell, Henrik Stenson and Jose Maria Olazabal -- were among 16 players competing in the Target World Challenge event he hosts in December to benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation.

Anderson offered a way to fire up U.S. players.

"At the 2008 matches at Valhalla outside Louisville, Kentucky, maybe the American golfers will react better to a captain, like Paul Azinger, who will chew them out, who will make them angry."

Woods said an infusion of youth was needed to bolster U.S. Ryder prospects, noting Europe's youthful edge with Garcia, 26, Donald, 28 and Casey, 29.

"They have a younger crop of players who are playing well. When our youngest player is 30 years old, that's not a positive thing," said the world number one, the U.S. team's top scorer with three points at the K Club.

"Hopefully we'll have a new crop of guys that will come up here from college and start producing."

Ryan said the global aspect of the game has caught up with the Americans.

"Has it occurred to anyone that perhaps it is both an international fallacy and an American conceit to think the U.S. still should be competing against an entire continent?" he wrote. "European dominance is no longer a concept; it is a reality."

September 26, 2006


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