June 25, 2007

Ryder writers

Their Cup was either half full or half empty

Excerpts you might have missed from Ryder Cup personalities writing diaries for their newspapers back home:

By Captain Tom Lehman, with Chili Dip Hudgins

DUBLIN, Ireland — First I want to say that the game of golf was the real winner here. I can't tell you how proud I am of the way my players conducted themselves. Sure, we could have played a little better, but that doesn't make us any different from a lot of our Ryder Cup teams in the past. What is it, five out of six now for the Europeans? And three in a row? I certainly hope the press doesn't make a big thing out of that.

I can't stress how delighted I am to join the impressive group of U.S. captains ahead of me who lost the Cup because of things that were, well, beyond our control. I speak of men since 1985 who've been more concerned with sportsmanship than winning. I'm greatly pleased to join this list that includes Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, Ray Floyd, Lanny Wadkins, Tom Kite, Curtis Strange, Hal Sutton.

I believe friendship is the most important thing in Ryder Cups. OK, there'll probably be those who'll say I missed the meeting or didn't get the memo about the team uniforms for Saturday morning. But it was on purpose that I dressed us in the same color scheme as the Euros—in the royal blue and black—because I wanted to show that we're all one people on this earth.

A lot of things could have gone differently for us. Phil could have found a clubface now and then. Stevie Williams, Tiger's caddie, could have accidentally dropped Tiger's 9-iron in the water two days earlier. That would have saved us some points. And all those times our guys hugged Darren Clarke out of sympathy from Friday on? What if Darren had squeezed them back a little harder? Somebody like Phil, for example. Could have injured him and put him out of our lineup. That alone . . . oh, well.

What if Tiger hadn't rather have been in the gallery smoking cigars with Michael Jordan? What if Phil hadn't kept duplicating his tee shot on the 72nd hole at Winged Foot? What if Johnny Miller had stopped calling us cur dogs and the worst team in history, not realizing that some of his highly critical off-mike comments were being piped back to our team locker room? What if Brett Wetterich and Vaughn Taylor hadn't made the team?

I could go on. But don't get me wrong, I have no apologies. Win or lose the Ryder Cup, we're still the richest golfers in the world.

By Captain Ian Woosnam, with Trever Roper-Hybrid

DUBLIN, Ireland — What a great day for humanity, and people, too. It's funny how the golf writers in America don't get it. It's simple. We win the Ryder Cup because we're better players, we like each other—we even know each other—and we can drink more. You might want to just hand me that bottle over there again.

We had a lot of things going for us. Take them fake photos in The Dubliner magazine of Tiger's wife and all the other stuff. The publishers claim it was a parody, whatever that is. Parody is a dessert where I come from, I think. Anyhow, The Dubliner didn't hurt our chances. It might have angered America's team, particularly the wives who the magazine said like to do things like dance around the house in bikinis, but they did wonders for us. Bought up all the copies, we did. A bunch of my blokes are single, after all, and that doesn't count Monty.

Some might want to make a big deal out of Tiger leading his team by winning three matches and losing only two—the best he's ever done—but the way we count in Wales, that's just an advantage of one pint.

Point? OK, point.

Let me drink now to the fact that I've joined a great list of European captains who've won this thing ... Tony Jacklin, who really started it all, and Seve Ballesteros, Good Sam Torrance, the Bernies—Gallacher and Langer.

Which brings up something Americans don't like to hear. That we've been dominating this event for 20 years. Twenty years they've been saying they're the greatest golfers in the world, but we keep winning. We've won seven of the last 11 Ryder Cups, and tied one in '89, which was a win for us, really, because we retained the Cup. Meanwhile, they've won only three times out of 11—and two of those were miracles.

So who's Ryder Cup is it, anyway? And you want to hand me that bottle again? There's a good chap.

By Sergio Garcia, with Luis Miguel Dominguin

DUBLIN, Ireland — Why am I so happy and grinning? Because I beat all of their major champions. I win with Ollie, I win with Luke. I beat Tiger, Mickelson, Toms, Furyk. All their major winners. So I have a right to laugh a lot and jump around. Also because I am still 12 years old!

Maybe I am also happy because I am dating Greg Norman's daughter. She is blond and exquisite and her name is Morgan-Leigh. I like that. Morgan as in Morgan Chase, sounds like bank. Another reason to smile, yes? She was my inspiration today, yesterday, tonight. I am so happy to beat America's best for Morgan-Leigh—and especially for me. Yes, I lose the singles to Stewart Cink, who is nobody, but so what? He made seven birdies when it didn't matter. I made mine when it mattered. When I beat the American majors: Tiger, Mickelson, Toms, Furyk.

Me, I, Sergio, the matador, doing this! It was such fun!

By Henrik Stenson, with Sven Umlautenstam

DUBLIN, Ireland — Eichen scorik dar vinnik point und play goodink golf, nottin like stinkande fisk of Ooo Esse Aye. Eichen makin Vaughn Taylor golfin like vomit vit outten puttink stroken. Das iss goot for Sveeden. Ve be sendin Ooo Esse Aye to der toalett vit our birdie stroken. Eichen like spik ingli ven readin Dubliner magazinken vitch vas smorgasbord meatball fun, like vinnin Ryder Cuppen. I veel like kung of Sveeden!

By Johnny Miller, with Joe Smith

DUBLIN, Ireland — I want to apologize for something I said before the Ryder Cup got underway. I said this was probably the worst team on paper that the U.S. had ever fielded. That was dead wrong. It turned out to be the worst team ever fielded by either side in the whole history of the competition. Man, the way most of our team performed all three days, I'd go back to '29 and let Aubrey Boomer and Archie Compston use hickory and play their low ball.

What our guys need to do is stop worrying so much about what I say and watch a little more Dr. Phil. Maybe he's got a cure.

By Dan Thomas-Hyphen-Jenkins, with Jim Tom Pinch

With the American forces somewhere outside of Dublin, Ireland—Actually I haven't fully recovered from the opening ceremony. Start with my disappointment that there were so few nations represented on the European team this time. Only England, Sweden, Spain, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland. No Germany, France, Italy or Denmark. Thus, less of a chance for one of the flags to fly upside-down, as is a customary accident at your normal Ryder Cup opening ceremony.

Next came the shock that there's an anthem for the European Union. And how about those production numbers, huh? A bunch of monks dancing around with bare-chested waiters. What was that all about? I did enjoy the chick showing some leg and flying around in the air before she landed on the horse.

Then there was the music. I gather it was supposed to be celebrating the culture of the country. But it sounded like a convention of squeaky toys doing battle with radio static. At least I learned the real reason why so many Irish immigrated to the United States: They wanted to get away from that music.

As for the competition, the Americans were remindful of gold-favored Olympic figure skaters who kept falling down on their triple jumps. What does it say that within our powerhouse lineup the only two undefeated Yanks were J.J. Henry, a rookie, and Scott Verplank, a captain's choice?

Where was the payoff for Captain Lehman spending a year flying around the country to have coaching sessions with John Wooden and Mike Krzyzewski and Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and assorted psychological shrinks, soothsayers, seers and romanticists? None of that seemed to make an eight-foot putt for us.

I look at the future for them, and I see the youthful likes of Sergio, Stenson, Luke Donald, Paul Casey, David Howell. But when I look at the future for the USA all I see is Tiger yawning and Phil's tee shot in a hospitality tent.