The PGA changes Ryder Cup selection process for the better
As a personal witness to the collapse of the U.S. team at the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills Country Club in Michigan in September, at least I can take solice in one thing – the embarassing loss helped changed the U.S. Ryder Cup selection process for the better. The PGA of America announced the changes on Dec. 2.
One thing became sorely evident during the 2004 matches – none of the U.S. players were playing to their world ranking, or their potential. In other words, none of them were on a hot streak. The new selection format will have a greater emphasis on wins and performances in a Ryder Cup year and in the major championships.
Two players were great examples of the holes in the old system. Both Kenny Perry and Fred Funk earned their way on the 2004 team with career years the season before. Unfortunately, both were playing poorly heading into the tournament and didn’t contribute a single point that week.
Will this new selection format help the Americans win in 2006? I doubt it, but it will make it more competitive. Why am I so negative when it comes to the Americans’ chances in 2006?
One fact that few pointed out in the last loss – the Americans have lost two of their superstar players from the 1999 team that last captured the Cup. Payne Stewart passed away and David Duval’s game went in the dumper. Until another American stud steps up – maybe Charles Howell? – the big three of Woods, Mickelson and Love will continue to fall at the Ryder Cup until some lesser-knowns elevate their games to the likes of Paul Casey, Luke Donald and the other European role players.
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