19th Hole

Greg Ellis
Great Golf Academy
Goodyear, AZ

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The Meltdown at Medinah

Every two years we get to witness the only golf event that ranks as much desire to watch as the Masters and that is the Ryder Cup. This year’s event was conducted in a great Midwest golf town, Chicago. The fans came out in droves. The weather cooperated. Both teams were quite cordial toward each other and this looked like it was going to be a nice exhibition.

But then, there was loud cheering and a lot of noise when Bubba Watson teed off and the tone was set. It was no longer cordial; it was “game on.” The U.S. came out strong on Friday and took the early lead. Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley were the stars for the U.S. and Ian Poulter and Nicholas Colsarts were the stars for the Europeans on Friday. The morning matches were split and then in the afternoon the U.S. turned it on, winning three of four matches. It was Nicholas Colsarts that slay the Tiger/Stricker team with his 8 birdies and an eagle. But, the U.S. led after day one 5 to 3.

Day two was all U.S.A. in the morning winning 3 of 4 matches and then the tide began to turn. Even though the U.S. split the Saturday afternoon session with team Europe, it was the comeback by Ian Poulter that switched the momentum. Many said DLIII made a huge mistake by sitting Keegan and Phil; I beg to differ. The USA had a game plan and there was no reason to deviate from that plan.  Everything was aligned. After Day 2, the USA led 10-6 and the coronation had begun. There was no way the USA could lose. They only needed 4 and 1/2 points to regain the much coveted Ryder Cup.  However, the Ryder Cup is a 3-Day event not a 2-Day. Don’t award the trophy yet.

Day 3 had the makings of a USA massacre of the Europeans; but then something happened. The Euros’ believed they could still win. After all, the USA came back at Brookline to win down by a large deficit. I watched as the USA guys teed off, one after another, and each one looked like they were deer staring into headlights. They had the blank stare and the ‘Meltdown’ began.

You know the rest of the story. Many “armchair Ryder Cup captains” started pointing fingers at Davis Love for some of his decisions. Some pointed at the Captains picks. Some pointed at the Tiger/Stricker matchup. Many questioned why Phil and Keegan sat out Saturday afternoon. Davis did a great job as captain, and I am willing to bet the team tried as hard as possible to win the Cup. Maybe, too hard. The ending was unforeseen (at least by anyone rooting for the USA) but true.   

Isn’t it amazing, the USA lost by 1 point to the Europeans’ and no one is giving the Europeans credit for pulling off the greatest comeback ever in the Ryder Cup? Certainly they deserve some of the credit for the ‘Meltdown’ at Medinah. They did kick Team USA’s butt.  Disappointing as that might have been, it will be back to the drawing board for Team USA, and hopefully they won’t be Euro Prey at Glen Eagles in two years. Maybe Team USA should have no picks and take the top 12 point getters. It can’t hurt. We will just have to wait and see.

Be sure to tune in to the Bunker to Bunker Golf Show every Saturday from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. or on Arizona Sports 620 or on the internet at arizonasports.com for more tips and updates on all of the week’s golfing news in the Valley and around the world. Join Greg, Jim Hill, and Marty Monaghan for a comprehensive look at the golf world for the week.