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My Five: Best Ryder Cup Captains

January 19, 2011
Though the newly-selected Jose Maria Olazabal and Davis Love III are well suited to lead their teams, I still hold to the view that Ryder Cup captain is an overrated position in terms of the final outcome. But certain leaders have a bearing and a way with words and people that both relaxes and inspires players. It's projected most importantly not in press conferences or on camera, but in the team room or well chosen one-on-one moments. Here are my top five:
Dave Marr

1. Dave Marr (1981)

The urbane Marr happened to have the best team ever put together, with eight eventual Hall of Famers including Nicklaus, Watson, and Trevino. But it was his personal style that makes him the model of a Ryder Cup captain. The Texan was dignified but witty, competitive but sporting, in charge but one of the guys. At Walton Heath, the first match to include Continental players, the Americans fell behind 4 1/2 to 3 1/2 after the first day. Marr stayed cool -- "They're embarrassed enough," he said -- and let his players perform, especially "my little killer," Larry Nelson, who would win all four of his matches. After the 18 1/2 to 9 1/2 victory, Marr was asked if he had a message for his cousin Jack Burke, who had been the last U.S. captain to lose, in 1957. "Yeah," he said. "Tell him I've cleared up the mess he left twenty four years ago."
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