Weeks: U.S. simply better than Europeans at Ryder Cup

Bob Weeks
9/30/2012 10:14:41 AM
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So Davis Love finally 'fessed up, finally admitted that really, when it comes to the Ryder Cup, there is no big plan, no secret strategy.

"It's easy to have a plan when you've got great players," said a smiling Love on Saturday night. "I could have mixed it all up, and if they would have played like they did this week, any plan would have worked."

That's really it. The Americans have played better. The have a four-point lead and will very likely win old Sam Ryder's mug sometime on Sunday afternoon.

All this is not to say that Love hasn't had to do some deep thinking over the past two years, but you don't need a room full of PhDs to figure out that, for example, Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley would be good partners. They share an agent and have been playing practice rounds together for as long as the latter has been on the PGA Tour.

Those two have put up three points for the Americans, and it's the first time that Mickelson, a perennial flop at the cup, has been 3-0.

You can say the same thing for Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson or Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner. In fact, Love's biggest problem has been that he's had too many good players.

"It makes it easy on the captain when your big decision is do you put Keegan and Phil back out or do you give them a break like they're asking for,' Love said. "What has Dustin Johnson done when he's on the golf course this week?  He's played great, and I sat him out twice.  So it's hard to make decisions like that.

"But we had an idea of what would work, and other than a couple hot streaks getting us, it's worked pretty well."

If there has been a key to the play of the Americans it's been on the greens. They've putted well right almost through the lineup. Even Tiger Woods, who hasn't recorded a point yet, has been solid after his opening round stumble. He's made 12 birdies in the last two matches and just happened to run into buzz saws both times.

Just as Davis Love's plan didn't really play that big a role in the US performance so far, Jose Maria Olazabal's hasn't really caused the European side to collapse.

Unlike Love, though, he's just been trying to find players who have some game. It wasn't Martin Kaymer, who only played once in the first four matches. And it wasn't Peter Hanson, who will tee it up for the second time in the singles.

Lee Westwood hasn't been strong, with his short game a glaring weakness. And poor Francesco Molinari – he's yet to earn a point in two Ryder Cup appearances, and today he gets Tiger Woods in the singles.

If only Olazabal could clone Ian Poulter 11 times, he'd be fine. That's the game and the attitude that needs to be felt through the European lineup and one that's been missing up to this point.

"I think the Ryder Cup should build a statue for him, you know?" Olazabal said. "You know, that's Poulter. That's why we say that he has such a special character for this event. He thrives at this event. He loves to be in the spotlight. He loves to be in that kind of situations."

Poulter is special, for sure, and Nicolas Colsaerts was magnificent for a match. But there just haven't been enough big performances for the Spanish captain and as a result, he'll need a Brookline miracle on Sunday.

The captains do play a big role in the Ryder Cup, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to one simple factor: who is playing better.

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