Thursday, October 13

Peter Kessler on Ryder Cup: 'The Tide Has Turned'

Peter Kessler shared the following commentary on Facebook and granted permission to publish it here.

By Peter Kessler

THE EUROPEAN RYDER CUP TEAM is in a state of deep transition. Players like Luke Donald, who is out of form, and Ian Poulter, who saves his best golf for the Cup, is injured.

How can a guy like Ian, who has never like Colin Montgomerie won a stroke-play event on the PGA TOUR, be so deadly in international competition? He was missed.

Peter Kessler
The pick of Lee Westwood, which seems so horrible in hindsight,  was understandable. The Euro side was top heavy with players new to the competition and Lee has been there many times. There is no such thing as a rookie. These are 24 of the best 35 players in the world. But Lee is a horrible putter by pro standards and his closing record on the PGA TOUR is gruesome. All of the pins were set in the middle of the greens on flat spots and that's why it seemed every putt was holed by both sides except for Lee, who missed critical putts all week.

Phil Mickelson made ten birdies in the singles against Sergio Garcia and not one of the putts had any break in it. If Sergio putted in majors like he does in the Ryder Cup, he would have a few of them.

I don't understand the whole business about the way the U.S. team was going to be picked to set the tone for the future. The reality was that the U.S. team was picked like it always has been. Davis Love III said he wanted to save his four picks and set the template accordingly. Not only was he predictable in his picks, but Phil let on the decisions, except for Ryan Moore, were made weeks before the playoffs and that Moore was only picked when he made the last putt against Rory the week before.

The rumor was that he wanted to pick Furyk and Davis said he was considering picking a final player who wasn't even playing the last two weeks of the playoffs. Furyk. Seriously? With the worst Cup record ever? With a number of good picks to choose from at the Tour Championship? 

The U.S. side won because they had better players at numbers seven through twelve. Look for this to continue next time they play. The U.S. squad is set for years with a load of great young players now and up and coming.

The Euro side doesn't have a group of fine young players to take the place of Donald and Poulter and Westwood and Paul Casey, who gave up European Tour membership. But Thomas Pieters was great and Russell Knox was missing and Danny Willett was disappointing, as was his brother.

The next U.S. captain could be picked out of a hat and find it impossible to screw up. The tide has turned, but not because of the silly task force and all the hand wringing and attempt at doing things a different way. It was business as usual. And this time business was good.

Peter Kessler is a longtime sports broadcaster and host who has worked for HBO Sports, Golf Channel and Sirius XM.

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