Monday, September 20, 2004

Not Fun Sports Weekend - Herd, Packers & Ryder Cup Woes

Yikes - what a weekend.

  • Marshall's defense played well, for the third consecutive weekend, and kept the team in the game until the end before losing 13-3 to the Georgia Bulldogs.

    Marshall had an opportunity to score a touchdown or kick a fg, having a fourth and less than a yard at the Georgia three. Marshall gambled and missed on a rollout. The momentum seemed to switch to Georgia for the rest of the game.

    All in all, I'm disappointed Marshall is 0-3, but the OOC games should make much of the MAC schedule much easier to contend with. Marshall is relatively healthy, which probably is as much as a surprise as anything.

    On to the MAC schedule.

  • Green Bay looked fairly impressive on offense, but failed to push the ball into the endzone and take advantage of a couple of drives. The Mike Brown 95 yard TD return of an Ahmed Green fumble was a back breaker, but I have to question whether that return should have stood - Favre was clearly pushed in the back when he was pursuing Brown on the return. Regardless, Green Bay lost to the Bears for only the fourth time in twenty-four games.

  • Ryder Cup - Team USA continued its mediocre play on Saturday and into Sunday. Down 61/2 to 11/2 entering Saturday, Team USA managed to tally only 31/2 points on Saturday. Team Europe had a commanding 11 to 5 lead going into Sunday's twelve singles matches, forcing the US squad to capture 91/2 points out of 12 available. A Sunday comback would have to surpass the drama and excitement of Brookline in 1999, which culminated in Justin Leonard's 40 foot bomb on the 17th hole against Jose Maria Olzabal. Unfortunately, this US team was not up to the task. After put a lot of American flags on the scoreboard early, and giving US fans hope, Mickelson played poorly and Sergio Garcia eventually won the match, which took a lot of air out of the US balloon. The back end of the line up played about the same, with little cause of concern to Team Europe.

As to the Ryder Cup, I would like to see the US change the selection process. This is certainly not unprecedented. After Wayne Levi made the 1991 team based on his 1990 alone (Levi played poorly in 1991), the decision makers decided to weight the current Ryder Cup year with more points so that the "hot" players were more likely to make the squad.

I would suggest:

  1. The current Ryder Cup year should be divided into quarters, with the nearest quarter having the most points available, with each previous quarter having progressively less points.
  2. The previous year should be divided into similar quarters and progressive reduction in points.
  3. A minimum number of points must be accumulated within the last four quarters - if Player A accumulates enough points from the previous year, but fails to accumulate a minimum number of points in the Ryder Cup year, then the player may be excluded and replaced by a Captain's selection.
  4. The Captain should receive four selections, instead of two. Thus, only the top eight in points are automatic qualifiers.

The Ryder Cup committee needs to also seriously address the assinine course selection process that seems to penalize the US team. The US team is composed primarily of long hitters. Yet, the Ryder Cup has been played on three consecutive US courses that are as unfriendly to the long ball as could be chosen. The Cup has been played at Oak Hill ('95), Brookline ('99) and Oakland Hills ('04) - these are US Open courses, with narrow fairways, thick rough and small, undulating greens. The US committee has done a poor job of choosing courses that play to the US strength. Long courses with open fairways and non-major rough would be more ideal and fitting of a home course advantage. The European's choose courses favorable to their style of play, generally.

Also, the recent US captains have done a less than stellar job of pairing selections for team competition. The US members rarely play in four-ball or foursomes. Either get these guys together for informal sessions during the year, or do not play them at all. Any time Davis Love is on a Ryder Cup team, the Captain should select Fred Couples as a Captain's Choice - Love and Couples play well together and would probably manage at least one point per day, if not more. That is better than the recent pairing combos thrown out.

I'm ranting, so I will stop. 2006 feels a long way away.


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