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Is it no longer a battle of captains? – Ryder Cup 2010

October 2, 2010

Thanks to the delightful Welsh weather, the sub-plot that always simmers below the golfing action is all but dead for this year of the Ryder Cup. The rivalry between the captains and the tactics that they employ can sometimes be just as interesting as how the players are getting on.

Just ask Sam Torrance. In 2002, he dominated Curtis Strange when it came down to the final day and the selections for the singles matches. The first two days had seen Europe strike out into a lead on Friday and then retain it on Saturday afternoon; but when the singles pairings were unveiled. As soon as the two lists of twelve names were put together, the whole thing was over. Sam sent out his big guns in the first six matches while Curtis elected to hold Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson back until the last two matches. It didn’t work. Colin Montgomerie, now the 2010 captain, sent Europe on their way in the first match out and Paul McGinley finished things off with that putt on the last at the Belfry.

But sadly for Montgomerie; a lot of that battle has been taken out of the Ryder Cup by the massive overhaul of the format. The captains can no longer hide any players with an afternoon off. A bad round of golf can’t be forgotten with a morning on the practice range. The eccentric players that are generally not relied on to share one ball with a partner will now be forced to play at least one match of foursomes and the players that are struggling for form will still have to play three rounds in a row.

While the captains will still pick the line-ups and the combinations of the team, everyone has to play. A certain level of the captain’s role has been removed and it’s a shame.

I blame the PGA Tour; but more on that later.

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