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Fantasy Favorite

Sept. 27, 2004
Sept. 27, 2004

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Sept. 27, 2004

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Fantasy Favorite

If anyone still had doubts, the U.S. showed who's the real underdog

How did the underdogs win? They didn't. The Europeans were the favorites, even in singles. Like a by-the-book baseball manager, Hal Sutton's lineup went straight down the qualifying list, highlighting the weakness of the American team: four major talents on top--and then what?

This is an article from the Sept. 27, 2004 issue Original Layout

View this article in the original magazine

 

You Gotta Have Heart

In SI's Special Ryder Cup Preview (Sept. 14), we rated the competitive fortitude, or heart, of the U.S. and European team members. Here's how we rate them now.

U.S.

W-L-T

Before

After

Analysis

Woods

2-3-0

♥♥♥♥♥          

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

He was trying, but the team thing eludes him

Mickelson

1-3-0

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

His confidence shot, he played some dumb shots

Love

1-3-1

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

He played hard but missed a lot of putts

Furyk

1-3-0

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

Still undefeated in Prez and Ryder singles

Perry

0-2-0

‚ô•‚ô• 1/2

‚ô•‚ô•

Moped about sitting on Saturday, lost on Sunday

Toms

1-2-0

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

‚ô•‚ô•

Low-key, he's the Larry Nelson of his generation

Campbell

1-2-0

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

Only nerves can explain his poor play on Friday

DiMarco

2-1-1

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô• 1/2

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

Screw the standings, you want his fire

Funk

0-3-0

‚ô•

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

Lost because his game, not his heart, wasn't good

Riley

1-1-1

‚ô•‚ô•

‚ô•

A rookie may never, ever take himself out

Haas

1-2-1

‚ô• 1/2

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô• 1/2

Played four matches, gaining some redemption

Cink

1-2-1

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

‚ô•‚ô• 1/2

Cautious on the course and with his teammates

EUR.

W-L-T

Before

After

Analysis

Harrington

4-1-0

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

Should absolutely win a major in 2005

García

4-0-1

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

The best of Seve and Ollie rolled into one

Clarke

3-1-1

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

He's so likable that it's hard to beat him

Jimenez

1-3-0

‚ô•‚ô•

‚ô•‚ô• 1/2

Outclassed by DiMarco, he made a match of it

Westwood

4-0-1

‚ô•‚ô• 1/2

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

Not for the wins, but for the comebacks

Levet

1-2-0

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

Extrovert warmed to role of support player

Casey

1-1-0

‚ô•‚ô•

‚ô•‚ô•

Hasn't he heard? You don't have to fear Tiger

Howell

1-1-0

‚ô• 1/2

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

After big point, should start winning more

McGinley

2-0-1

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

Always looked as if he was having a great time

Poulter

1-1-0

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

‚ô•‚ô•

A little more selflessness would help

Montgomerie

3-1-0

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

If his Cup days are over, his reputation is secure

Donald

2-1-1

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô• 1/2

‚ô•‚ô• 1/2

Lacks hint of cockiness found in great Cup pros

 

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•--Thank God he's on our side

 

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•--Wants to take last shot

 

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•--I think I can, I think I can

 

‚ô•‚ô•--Would rather be at Texas Open

 

‚ô•--Tin Man

Monday Morning Quarterback

LANGER'S UNCHARACTERISTIC TRASH TALK PROVED FATEFUL

TO THE VERY END, Bernhard Langer had his finger on his team's pulse. Handicapping the first three matches, Langer said, "I'd be surprised if we didn't get two points." Cheeky and freakishly accurate: The Euros went 1-1-1 for 11/2 points. Afterward Langer insisted that his words were not an attempt at gamesmanship, but rather a reflection of his gut feeling. "I didn't mean to be brash," he said.

"Overheard"

" I assure you, none of us wanted to see Sergio out there being Sergio. We wanted to kick his butt." --CHRIS DImarco

" That was a totally nuts shot." --JOHNNY MILLER, on Mickelson's approach shot into the water at 16

" He's going to lose. I can feel it." --MILLER, on Colin Montgomerie, who went on to beat Toms

Final Thoughts

THE PLAYING'S DONE, HERE'S WHAT REMAINS

• Phil Mickelson has hit crooked drives all his life, with clubs made by Ping, Yonex, Titleist and now Callaway. They were not the problem.

• The better team won, and--even worse--the younger, deeper Europeans are already favorites for 2006.

• Make Tiger Woods the playing captain for the '06 Cup and you'll see him and the entire country more into the match than ever before.

• Hal Sutton wasn't helped by the Steinbrenner-esque mandate from PGA honcho Jim Awtrey: Win. The trickle-down tension was obvious.

Golf Plus will next appear in the Oct. 11 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

COLOR PHOTODAVE MARTIN/AP (MONTGOMERIE)SHOE-IN Monty, playing in perhaps his last Cup, was the sentimental favorite. THREE COLOR PHOTOSCOLOR PHOTOANDREW REDINGTON/GETTY IMAGES (LANGER)GERMAN SHEPHERD Langer had all the answers, as well as some eerily accurate singles predictions. COLOR PHOTO AL TIELEMANS (MILLER)