SOMEWHERE U.S. RYDER CUP CAPTAIN Paul Azinger must have a checklist. Four captain’s picks. Check. Favorable Valhalla setup. Check. Lucky coin (or some other good luck charm). Check.
And at least one more thing: order of play. Zinger has changed it. Instead of opening with fourball matches, the 2008 Ryder Cup will open with foursomes.
Definitions may be in order.
Fourball is a match in which each member of the two-man teams plays his own ball. The team whose player has the lowest score on the hole wins the hole. In the case of a tie, the hole is halved.
Foursomes, also known as alternate shot, is a match in which two two-man teams play against each other. Each team plays just one ball. The players hit alternate shots with their teammates until the ball is holed. Lowest score wins the hole. In the case of a tie, the hole is halved.
This year will mark the first time the Ryder Cup matches will open with foursomes since 1999, the last U.S. victory. Foursomes will be played on Friday and Saturday morning, followed by afternoon fourball matches.
As about anyone who can spell golf knows, the Americans got thumped in the last two Ryder Cups. Both opened with fourball. Azinger hopes the change in order of play will give his team an advantage.
Will it? Maybe. But if I were Azinger, I would make sure to hang on to my good luck charm. I think he will need that as much as anything.
−The Armchair Golfer
More Ryder Cup coverage:
2008 Ryder Cup TV Schedule
2008 Ryder Cup: Valhalla Golf Club Preview
2008 Ryder Cup: Valhalla Is Ready
2008 Ryder Cup Report
Q&A: Daniel Wexler on 2008 Ryder Cup
2008 U.S. Ryder Cup Team Takes Shape
2008 Ryder Cup Tickets Arrive