Who's to blame for Team USA's loss?
By mustang6560 on 10/1/12
It's Ryder Cup tradition, much like the captain giving his player gifts, for the media to question the losing captain's picks and strategy following the conclusion of play. Davis Love III captained the losing side, which means his decisions to play and not to play some of his players and his leadership style will be questioned for years to come.

But, at the end of the day, how much control does the captain actually have?

To some, the captain makes or breaks the team. To others (like me), the skipper is a glorified golf cart driver. Regardless of your opinion, the captain does influence the outcome of the Ryder Cup to some degree. So how do you properly grade the "performance" of each captain? In my opinion, the only way to judge each captain fairly is to look at the only thing he controls — his picks. And if you look at DL3's captain's picks versus Jose Maria Olazabal's, then it's clear to see that Jose was a better captain.

Team USA Captain's Picks

Player Record Points
Dustin Johnson 3-0-0 3
Brandt Snedeker 1-2-1 1.5
Jim Furyk 1-2-0 1
Steve Stricker 0-4-0 0
Total 5-8-1 5.5

Team Europe Captain's Picks

Player Record Points
Ian Poulter 4-0-0 4
Nicolas Colsaerts 1-3-0 1
Total 5-3-0 5

Since DL3 got four captain's picks (compared to Jose's two), it's fair to say he had the opportunity to have more of an influence on his team's success, just like his predecessors. With that in mind, it's pathetic that DL3's four picks only won half of a point more than Jose's two. There is no "I" in team, so it's important to remember that Team USA lost as a team. However, in the part of the Ryder Cup DL3 had the most control over, he didn't pull his weight.

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Image via Flickr, Keith Allison

[ comments ]
Torleif Sorenson says:
I'm wired in such a way that I'm reluctant to criticize DL3, but in hindsight, choosing Furyk could be called into question. Snedeker played well going into Medinah, though.

OTOH, José María Olazábal looks brilliant. Ian Poulter was a no-brainer choice, but to take a chance on a relatively unproven Belgian turned out well. As I wrote in "The Shocker in Chicago," Poulter and the memory of Seve Ballesteros were the fuel for Team Europe, but Colsaerts played well on Friday when Europe desperately needed him. He also played relatively well in a loss on Saturday and squared his singles match against Dustin Johnson three times.
legitimatebeef says:
Kind of like Tom Lehman, DL3 is a dud of a personality. I doubt he did much to light a fire under the players. Plus I think the Americans might've conceded the Cup to themselves after Saturday. They probably could've brought more intensity to the Sunday session.
bkuehn1952 says:
I think the poll is faulty. There should be three choices:
1.Would like Corey Pavin to be captain again?
2. Would you live DL3 to be captain again?
3. Would you like to stick your head into a bucket of acid?
wrhall02 says:
Europe won fair and square. I hate the post loss finger pointing. Blame the European team for great putting on Sunday and never giving up.

9 Europeans players sank several important putts, and the US players didn't.

It was a great Ryder Cup, the European team rose to the occasion.
DoubleDingo says:
Simply put, the European Team showed-up and out-played the USA Team. Was disappointing to see the USA Team implode the way they did. I will say that Duffner, D. Johnson, Z. Johnson, brought their game Sunday(Not just Sunday, but in the singles is where the points go one way or the other). A few others brought their game too but failed to finish their matches. I think the Ryder Cup means more to the Europeans than it does to the USA.
GBogey says:
There is plenty of blame to go around. Certainly the order of the roster was an issue and probably helped the Euros get back in it. But you also have to really fault the players - the U.S. lost all the close matches but Dufner's when they were either up or had the advantage (see Stricker on 17) late in the match and either didn't perform or watched the Euros perform. You certainly can question the captain's picks - Furyk and Stricker have not been steady in the clutch lately and yesterday was no different, but quite honestly, who would you have picked instead given how Fowler and Mahan were playing.
clevelandstever says:
I agree with GBogey- I think the order of play was a mistake. Put the biggest guns at the top of the lineup, all you need to do is win or halve one of the early rounds and you ratchet up the pressure on the Europeans, and if you halve or better two or three early rounds and this thing is pretty much over. Still, you have to tip your cap to the Euro's the played incredibly clutch and everything fell in place.
Matt F says:
Play as a team, lose as a team...even with some iffy picks.
legitimatebeef says:
But he gave everyone those sweet paddleboards. Remember it's not about winning or losing, it's about having fun, and getting cool schwag is fun. And DL3 definitely dished out the cool schwag. Commemorative fine china. What a bro. And I'm sure the players received lots of other cool tchotchkes that weren't reported on in the press.
CeeBee says:
DL3 spent a lot of thought on how to keep Rory out of the picture and forgot about Ian Poulter who thrives on match play and is the ultimate Ryder Cup player.
mjaber says:
There is not a single person on the US team that doesn't get some blame. DL3 for not sending Phil & Keegan back out on Saturday. Phil & Keegan for not demanding to go back out together on Saturday. Every player who lost a match.

The Team lost. There is no single person to blame.
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