Take a mulligan: final thoughts on Ryder Cup 2008

mulligan, 23 September 2008, Comments Off on Take a mulligan: final thoughts on Ryder Cup 2008
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1. Best player: Ian Poulter was absolutely sick, like a man possessed, playing all 5 matches and going 4-1, the best record of any player. He putted lights out. He played with passion. And to think, the nimwits in Europe questioned his selection by Faldo.

2. Worst player: Padraig Harrington went 0-3-1. As Johnny Miller said, Paddy was “wiping” at the ball with his clubface completely open. Paddy won 2 majors this year, but he played like a minor figure all week.

3. MVP: Really tough call. Justin Leonard would’ve been a shoe-in had he won his singles match on Sunday. The loss opened the door to Kenny Perry, Boo Weekley, Anthony Kim, Jim Furyk, Hunter Mahan, and JB Holmes being in the conversation. Hunter did pick up the most points (3.5), but Justin Leonard did a lot of the heavy lifting while paired with Hunter, who also let the singles match victory slip away against Paul Casey on the final hole. Anthony Kim came up huge against Sergio Garcia in the 1st singles match, but AK’s play with Phil Mickelson was both good and just average. AK is a stud, but my vote for MVP would go to Kenny Perry and Boo Weekley, who both played so consistently all week and who inspired the crowds — though in different ways.

4. Biggest disappointment: For the Euros, it has to be Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, and Padraig Harrington going without a single victory. For the U.S., Phil Mickelson going 1-2-2 is disappointing, but not that surprising given his past record. What will Phil do next?

5. Biggest bonehead: Nick Faldo. You did pick Ian Poulter, but to stick him in Match 10 on Sunday made no sense. The hottest player on your team was made irrelevant, with the match decided before Poulter’s victory could be posted. “Back loading” your big guns to Matches 9, 10, 11, and 12 completely backfired! (Sitting Sergio and Westwood on Saturday morning wasn’t a bad idea, though, because they were not playing all that well.) Faldo, it was as if you didn’t even know that Sam Torrance won the 2002 Ryder Cup by “front loading” the best European players, while Tiger Woods was relegated to the final match.

6. Biggest surprise: Graeme McDowell. Nobody’s heard of you in the U.S., but you played brilliantly, going 2-1-1.

7. Best coaching: Paul Azinger. You had a 2-year strategy. It worked on Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3. Bravo! You finally stuck it to Faldo, your nemesis!

8. Biggest crybaby: Lee Westwood. Yes, the shabby Americans called you really disgusting names and Boo Weekley may have crossed the line by inciting the U.S. crowds while you and your partner still had to putt. But this is the Ryder Cup and you are in Kentucky, not Nottinghamshire. Man up, Westwood.

9. Most missed player: Tie. Colin Montgomerie and Tiger Woods. Hard to watch a Ryder Cup without them!


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