Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Seve snorts about Ryder Cup competition .. or lack there of

He comes around every two years and makes his bi-annual attempt to draw attention to himself. Even in retirement Seve Ballesteros just can’t avoid putting his two Euro cents in when it comes to the Ryder Cup. It seems Seve finds the competition (or lack of same) boring.

“They need to win badly,” Seve said of the American team. “I hope the Americans win this year in all seriousness.”

I think Seve has been into the sangria a little too much lately. Here’s the guy who traded cheating accusations with this year’s U.S. captain Paul Azinger wanting the U.S. to win. Huh?

“I see the Ryder Cup getting very boring because we are beating them so badly,” said Seve. “Everybody is losing interest. I think it will be good if they win the next one. It would give the Ryder Cup a lift.”

The irony of this kills me. The same things were being said 25 years ago … in the other direction. Those were the days when this competition was between the U.S. and Great Britain & Ireland. Then a pain-in-the-butt Spaniard whined and whined about he being one of the greatest players in the world and he couldn’t play. He couldn’t get it through his skull or massive ego, or both that he was neither a Brit nor a Harp. Finally, to shut him up more than appease him, the rules were changed to all the GB & I boys to recruit throughout all of Europe. Today, he’s complaining about something that was his fault. Way to go Seve!

In all fairness, he has made some valid points. Since 1985, the U.S. has shown up once and won the Ryder Cup. The last three have been record setting defeats. The golf fans seem to be more interested than the players. I guess the old “it’s not important until we get beat” theory is out the window.

To his credit, Azinger pushed for some changes in the team selection process and received them. The principal change is the U.S. captain now has four picks instead of two. This has to help unless he drafts his team worse than the Miami Dolphins of the past few years.

I think it’s incumbent upon us to suggest more changes that might put the U.S. over the top, or at least rekindle some interest.
1. Give the Americans strokes. The amount will be negotiated on the first tee by the players. I will offer up the services of Doc O’Keefe an old golf buddy to teach the Americans the fine art of first tee gamesmanship. He’s the best I’ve ever seen at negotiating a match only he could win.

2. Two-down automatic presses. This gives the Americans a chance to add points, or save some during the match. It may throw the point totals out of whack, but it will retain interest as the “magic number” has been eliminated.

3. The U.S. team plays from the front markers, the Euros from the tips. The edge is obvious—particularly is Azinger has any say in the course set up crossing hazards? No problem. Front markers are placed on the other side while the tips are 150-yards behind.

4. Make one day medal match play. The Americans beat these guys like a drum in individual stroke play events. What’s home course advantage if you can’t make your own rules.

5. Enlist some help. Make it Europe against North America. I know, you don’t think Stephen Ames and Mike Weir will add much to the American effort—but think about Lorena Ochoa!

Bartender pour Seve a cup of your strongest espresso, I think he really needs to sober up.

See you on the first tee,


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