Hutton: No one can save American golfers from their own failure
September 30, 2012 11:49PM
USA's Jim Furyk reacts after missing a putt on the 18th hole and losing to Europe's Sergio Garcia during a singles match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
MEDINAH, Ill. — Save Jim Furyk please, from himself, from the epic collapse for the American team that just couldn’t happen on American soil, from the moniker as the guy who had the worst closing year ever in the recent history of golf.
Save him from that awful five-foot putt on 18 that he stepped away from twice and that he agonized over like he was performing surgery, before it failed to graze the hole. Furyk’s year-ending legacy is complete. He loses the final two holes to Sergio Garcia the same way he gave away leads down the stretch at the U.S. Open and the World Golf Championship.
Save Steve Stricker — someone please — from finishing this Ryder Cup as perhaps the worst captain’s pick ever.
Save him please from that clunky chip on No. 17 from above the hole that he ran seven feet past the hole.
Save Stricker — someone please — from that seven-foot comeback putt that he usually makes in his sleep.
Save Davis Love III — someone please — from going down as the most outwardly laid-back captain in perhaps the history of the Ryder Cup, who just didn’t seem like he cared all that much either way that his team just had a historic final day collapse — so amazing that it was worse than what happened to the Europeans in 1999 at Brookline.
That was a home match for the winning team. This was in Chicago, a city with mammoth shoulders and crazy loud fans on a sprawling, ostentatious golf course that is big and bold. American Ryder Cup teams should never lose here with a four-point lead on the final day. Never. Ever.
Save Phil Mickelson please from rifling that approach on No. 18 over the green, never really giving himself a chance to match the second improbable straight birdie for Justin Rose, who ripped that match away from him and ruined the good karma train that he and Keegan Bradley were riding all week with their impossibly good play.
Save Tiger Woods and Stricker — someone please. The Ryder Cup duo had a 3-3-1 record before the matches. The pair only scored a half point. Stricker was simply awful and Woods, at best, was inconsistent.
Save Woods from embarrassing himself by finishing out the 18th hole when it didn’t matter. He did it for the point — and then missed the point with an avalanche of European fans dancing around in joy.
Save Love — someone please — from the avalanche of second guessing and criticism that won’t go away — ever — for picking both Furyk and Stricker as captain’s picks or for sitting Mickelson and Bradley in the afternoon matches on Saturday. He really is a nice guy and he doesn’t deserve it.
Save someone please from turning Martin Kaymer, the one guy on both sides that was playing so badly that Jose Maria Olazabal only played him in one match before the singles, into Europe’s game-changer as the guy who hit the six-foot putt for the clinching point.
Know what? They couldn’t. They just didn’t have enough big plays on their side — not enough guys like Jason Dufner, who seems immune to the massive pressure and roaring crowds.
Not enough players like Rose, who made two huge birdies on the last two holes to deal Mickelson a devastating defeat.
Not enough players like Paul Lawrie, who looked remarkably average until Sunday when he made five birdies without a bogey.
Not enough players like Kaymer, who rifled a perfect shot out of the sand from 164-yards out on No. 18 to set up his two-putt par.
Not enough good karma or fate or whatever you want to call it to send the Europeans home without the trophy.
Isn’t that the way it usually seems to go for the Americans, who have now lost seven of the last nine cups? They find a way to lose. If they can’t win on their own course, with the rough cut to their preference and the greens rolling at their favorite speed, then the European advantage does seem insurmountable.
Then all the stuff they say about the Americans being selfish and less committed to the Cup might be true.
Personally, I don’t believe it, but how can you possibly explain what happened Sunday? You can’t and that’s the problem. It will be a long two years for the Americans before they get another chance to save themselves again from more Ryder Cup agony.