Tuesday, January 24

European Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke on Agony of Defeat

Darren Clarke had excellent Ryder Cup credentials.

WHAT IS THE KEY TO A Ryder Cup victory? (Or the keys.) On the American side of the pond, many have noticed in one way or another the hand wringing after a loss, most recently in 2014 when Phil Mickelson not so subtly pointed an incriminating finger at Captain Tom Watson, after which a task force and new approach were born.

Certainly, all factors matter to some extent and help create the opportunity to win matches and, ultimately, the Cup. But once selections are made (captain, vice captains, players) and pairings are announced, it comes down to performance. That's on the players, no?

Losing European Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke is still hurting from the 2016 defeat at Hazetline. According to a Global Golf Post story by John Hopkins, Clarke has been trying to come to terms with his side's loss.

"If we had won I'd be wondering what I could have done better," Clarke said. "The fact that we lost hurts a lot and I keep thinking, 'What could we have done better?'"

Eventually, Clarke states what some might consider to be obvious.

"Call it stupidity or arrogance," Clarke said, "I still can't come up with anything.

"The bottom line is that we simply got outplayed. When you have 24 of the best players in the world, whoever putts best that week is going to win. The Americans putted the way the Europeans usually putt, unfortunately. They played slightly better but they putted massively better.

"Each game on Friday morning and afternoon the Americans were plus two in strokes gained so that's two putts fewer per match. You can't complain because Europe have done that in the last three Ryder Cups."

Is Clarke making excuses? Did he fail to prepare and inspire his players and not send them out with the competitive edge and winning attitude they needed? Or did his players, as he said, simply get outplayed?


Carl said...

I think Captain Darren Clarke deserves credit for doing his job in preparing and motivating his players. Sometimes, you win. Sometimes, you lose. The important thing is they learn from what caused their defeat and move forward.

The Armchair Golfer said...

Thanks, Carl.