The Norman Transcript

National Sports

October 3, 2012

Final observations from the Ryder Cup

MEDINAH, Ill. — The PGA Tour supplied the best tonic possible Tuesday to cure the Americans of a Ryder Cup hangover.

It staged a press conference to mark the official one-year countdown to the Presidents Cup, the one team event that Americans still seem capable of winning. Then again, it was held at Muirfield Village, where in 1987 they lost the Ryder Cup on home soil for the first time.

It hasn’t been the same since.

These days, the closest the Americans ever get to that 17-inch trophy is the emblem of it stitched on their team uniforms.

Europe now has won seven of the last nine times in the Ryder Cup, and the only reason the dominance isn’t even greater is because Justin Leonard knocked in a 45-foot putt on the 17th hole at The Country Club. The other win was in 2008 at Valhalla, even though the Americans didn’t have Tiger Woods. Or maybe they won because he didn’t play.

The immediate question is who the PGA of America will select as the next captain, but that’s assuming the decision will have a bearing on the outcome. In some corners, the captain’s role is overrated — until a team loses, and the fans and media need someone to blame.

The next Ryder Cup will be in 2014 in Scotland, which officials referred to as the home of golf. That’s true, although the bagpipes surely will sound a little different on a golf course at Gleneagles designed by Jack Nicklaus.

Before looking ahead, it’s worth looking back with a few observations about one of the best Ryder Cup competitions ever:

— Was this really the “Miracle at Medinah?”

The best slogans are built around alliteration, and this could be called the “Meltdown at Medinah,” depending on your colors. It was remarkable, no doubt, because six of the 12 singles matches could have gone either way. By the numbers, Europe matched a Ryder Cup record by rallying from a 10-6 deficit on the final day, same as the Americans at Brookline in 1999. The difference is that Europe did this on the road. And the American comeback was easier because Europe had three Ryder Cup rookies who did not hit a shot until Sunday singles.

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