But he had to say that, didn't he? His players had become biennial doormats, and their most recent loss to the European pros -- an 18½ to 9½ pasting in Ireland -- had golf pundits wondering if the trans-Atlantic series was crapping out. Throw in the fact that five-time Ryder Cupper
But come Sunday, Sept. 21, those six American rookies had pumped more fists and trotted off more greens than any U.S. players in memory. They were the stars of a 16½ to 11½ rout that
Then go to
Then you had the bomb-and-gouger,
The other two American rookies earned just two points between them -- but what points!
I won't go that far, but the six rookies finished 9-4-8, and that was the difference. "They brought a lot of enthusiasm, they fired up the crowd," said
But here's something you can bank on: Two years from now, in Wales, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain will tell reporters that his team is strong because it is led by players "who have been there" -- guys like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Anthony Kim, Boo Weekley, J. B. Holmes and Hunter Mahan.
Because, he'll say, you can't beat experience.
A Sportsman of the Year nod to the Valhalla Six would remind him -- and us -- that you most certainly can.