If you look at the most recent results of the Ryder Cup, the prospects are bleak for the U.S. to win at Medinah, but there are no clear explanations. The records of Tiger, Phil and Jim Furyk (below) are the most obvious; the three are repeatedly upset by "lesser" players, and with every defeat comes the cry that the U.S. is lacking in leadership. But why does the team struggle so mightily?
The reasons proffered are that U.S. teams lack camaraderie, that they play tight, that the players compete as individuals whereas Europe comes together as a team. The Americans dismiss such talk. O.K., then what is it? Perhaps it's just in assuming that the U.S. should win and that each defeat is an upset, we are missing the obvious: Europe is better, much better.
If one uses the World Ranking as a guide, it becomes clearer that these so-called upsets are anything but. After all, the vast majority of No. 1 players in the world over the years have come from somewhere other than this continent, and if one looks at the top four or five spots in the World Ranking since its inception in 1986, most of the spots have been occupied by Europeans. Coincidentally, that's about the time that Europe started dominating the Cup.
So, although the Americans have managed a more respectable record at home and they seem to have found their form during the FedEx Cup, I'm not falling for it. That only lures me to a drunken state of false logic and inevitably leads to my surprise when the U.S. loses again.
September 24, 2012
Brandel Chamblee is a 15-year Tour vet and Golf Channel analyst.