Sunday, September 21, 2008

Build 'em up.... knock 'em down...

It's a sad fact that we like to build up our heroes as much as we can in Britain just so we can knock them down hard later on. The tabloid press, in particular, is guilty of this.

Whilst captain of the Ryder Cup team is not exactly as high profile as the England football manager, you could predict the sort of reception Nick Faldo was going to get if he didn't bring the cup home from Kentucky. He has come in for a lot of stick, but how wrong did he get it? The points system picks the team for him - he only gets two "captain's picks". He picked Ian Poulter and Paul Casey, both of whom acquitted themselves magnificently. It was the so called "stars" who let us down in the end.

Sergio Garcia simply imploded against Anthony Kim in the singles on Sunday. Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington and Miguel Angel Jimenez were simply ordinary. Robert Karlsson started off on the Friday playing like a donkey but became magnificent on Sunday. Rose, Poulter, McDowell, Casey, Stenson, Hansen, Wilson - all played out of their skins.

What, then, is Faldo supposed to have done wrong? Captain's picks? No way. Now if we could have substituted Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood for Colin Montgomery and Rory McIlroy then I think we would have brought the cup home - but he did not have that luxury. Order of play on Sunday? Maybe he was a little at fault there - it would have been better for morale if we could have seen more blue on the scoreboard early on. But if this had come down to the last hole in the last match, as many of us were expecting it to, then wouldn't YOU have wanted the guy making the final winning putt to be Padraig Harrington?

At the end of the day, the Americans just wanted it more than we did. And on the day, they were better. Not by a lot - but by just enough. Their incredible putts dropped, as did their chips from the "rough" around the greens - ours stayed on the lip of the hole. We lost by millimetres at times.

The course was set up in the American's favour, as you would expect, but I think they made it a little TOO easy for the big hitters (of which they had a couple!) to just whack it and hope from the tee. The crowd were fantastic too, but, unfortunately, appeared to cross the line on occasion. We don't REALLY want golf crowds to go the way of football do we?

Whatever - time to put it behind us now and look forward to 2010 in Wales. But PLEASE, before we get there, can the powers that be impose an all out ban on morons shouting "Get in the hole!" after every single shot! Maybe it was funny the first time we all heard it... many many years ago. But it just ain't big and it just ain't clever anymore. OK?

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