David Moulton: Could this be it for Phil, Furyk, and Tiger in the Ryder Cup?

DAVID MOULTON
David Moulton

David Moulton

Here we go again.

Who is going to win the Ryder Cup?

Europe.

They are the defending champs, and have won four of the last five competitions. But the United States whooped the Euros the last time the event was held in the States, and the last time I checked, this year’s site — Chicago — is in the U.S.

Europe will win because it has four of the top five players in the world rankings on its team (Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, and Justin Rose).

Of course, based on those same rankings, the United States team is far superior to the Euros (146 to 227) with the worst player on the U.S. (Jim Furyk, ranked 23rd) better than half of Europe’s 12-man lineup (Peter Hanson, Ian Poulter, Paul Lawrie, Francesco Molinari, Martin Kaymer and Nicolas Colsaerts all ranked between 25 and 35).

The Europeans will win because they are better in team play and have but one rookie on the squad (Colsaerts).

The U.S. team will win this time because it’s younger, more motivated and its four rookies (Brandt Snedeker, Jason Dufner, Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley) are ready to begin a new era of Stars and Stripes golf.

Regardless of who wins, what this clearly looks to be is the last go-round for the three veterans of U.S. international golf in a Ryder Cup.

Phil Mickelson is 42 now and instead of being second to only Tiger Woods on the U.S. squad, he barely made the team. Lefty grabbed the final automatic qualifying spot and his ranking makes him the team’s third-worst golfer. He’s got arthritis and has complained of fatigue throughout the season. Phil has played in every single Ryder Cup since 1995, but his time may be coming to an end.

Many thought Jim Furyk’s time should have come to an end. The most controversial of the four captain’s picks, Furyk is also 42 and the only U.S. player without a win this year. He is best known this season for collapsing down the stretch of both the U.S. Open and Bridgestone Invitational. Selected for his experience and quite possibly for his 5-0 showing in last year’s Presidents Cup, this is Furyk’s eighth straight Ryder Cup (every time since 1997).

Then, of course, there is Tiger. His Ryder Cup record (13-14-2) is far better than how the U.S. has fared in recent years. In fact, Tiger is 4-1-1 in Sunday singles, with his only loss coming in his first Ryder Cup (1997). But Tiger is the face of golf. So how does it look when the U.S. has lost four of the last five Ryder Cups, and the only one they won (2008), Tiger missed with an injury?

On top of that, the U.S. didn’t just win four years ago, they routed the Euros with everyone commenting how great team “chemistry” was. Hmmm! Wonder why that was?

That is why, even though it’s a team competition, in many ways it all comes down on Tiger. Thirteen years ago at Medinah (site of the Ryder Cup), he held off Sergio Garcia by one to win his second career major and become the No. 1 player in the world for essentially the next decade.

Now he’s back as No. 2, and in this matchup, so is the United States.

So do you think it would be too much to ask of the golfing gods if the Ryder Cup could come down to the last singles match of Tiger vs. Rory?

If for nothing else, to see if anyone gets intimidated?

It takes a lot to watch something else besides the NFL on a fall Sunday. But this Ryder Cup could be special.

We already know Bubba Watson is going to be crying come Sunday.

We may just have to find out what for.

David Moulton is a freelance writer and co-host of “Miller and Moulton in the Afternoonm” which airs weekdays from 2 to 7 p.m. on WWCN/AM 770 ESPN. His column appears Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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