NAPLES — Well, that might have been one of the all-time great meltdowns in recent golf history by the U.S. Team at the Ryder Cup on Sunday. We had Jean Van de Velde at Carnoustie and Greg Norman at Augusta, but this one was a collective team effort.
Now let me say this: when play ended Saturday after the afternoon matches, I would have bet my house on the Stars and Stripes. I'd be homeless! Going into the matches, we had heard the U.S. was outmatched on paper. I never bought into that, and still don't.
However, I will never associate the word "choke" with this event. I rather choose to use the word freakish. Justin Rose makes three bombs in a row to nip Phil Mickelson. Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker were out of body on No. 17 in each of their respective matches.
In so many matches, everyone it seems could have turned either way at so many different junctures.
I'm a big Davis Love lll fan. Frankly, I feel worse for Davis than any American player that got nipped. The Ryder Cup — for those of you who don't know — is owned by the PGA of America (not the PGA Tour). Davis' late dad was a PGA professional. I'm sure Davis had special hopes for personal reasons.
On the other side, however, another ghost lurked. I'm sure Seve was there with his close friend and Ryder Cup partner Jose Maria Olazabal, the European captain.
It came down to a battle of will, and last week the will of Europe was just a point stronger over three days. Congrats to the European Team. That being said, Go USA! I can't help myself.
Did they really lose?
TP's Tip: Next time you have a chip shot to hit from the fringe from a less-than-average lie, you might want to try a hybrid if you carry one, instead of a 7-iron. The design of the hybrid leading edge will help you get down and through with little resistance. The length of the shaft may take some getting used to in terms of distance control, but it shouldn't take long. Choke the club down basically to where the shaft begins.
Make a very level motion back and through with the hybrid. Place the ball in the center of your stance, and let the club swing symmetrically back and through. You'll learn to love the hybrid greenside.
Tom Patri gives lessons at the Quarry on Immokalee Road, and is at Friar's Head in New York from May-December. Patri is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher. Visit Patri's website at www.tompatri.com, www.facebook.com/TomPatri or email him at email@example.com.