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By Donald Crawley, Golf Contributor - Archive - Email
2014 Ryder Cup and 'the rest of the story'
United States Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson
Boulders, AZ (Sports Network) -- Boy, the press is on fire with the result of the 2014 Ryder Cup. See my article written prior to the event, as most of what I said came true. I missed the final score 16.5- 11.5 which makes it look like a beating, as several reports have said. But if you had watched it all, it was much closer. One of the greatest golf events to watch is the final 9 at the Masters. If you'd watched the final nine of the Ryder Cup Sunday, you would see how close it could have been. The hole was dug too deep on the Friday and Saturday afternoon team matches called 'foursomes'. This is when two players play alternate shots. One drives the ball; the partner hits the second, and so on. In those eight matches; the Euro's 7 USA 1. That's what decided the Ryder Cup. The 'four ball', which we call better ball here in the States, was 5-3 favor of the USA. The singles was 6.5-5.5 in Euro favor but three of those matches were fought after the Cup had been won by the Europeans.

Most of the press is all but throwing captain Tom under the bus. However it maybe instigated by Phil Mickelson's comments or the fact Watson sat Mickelson all day on the bench on Saturday. Anyway, the Zinger captaincy proved a winning team, a system of 'pods' in 2008. Watson had a different philosophy as did Love and Pavin the other two recent losing captains. So the push is toward pods and bring back Paul Azinger? Maybe. Time will tell who the PGA of America will pick for the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, MN. Watson handled himself and represented the team well. Through his terrific career he has learned to win and lose graciously. Give him due credit and respect please ladies and gentlemen.

In the meantime don't miss on what a great spectator event the Ryder Cup was and is. I recorded every minute of it, and loved watching the foursomes and fourballs as much as the singles. The standard of golf was good, dramatic, exciting, nerve wracking. Saw a lot of little putts missed on slow but good greens. That was nerves more than anything. Overall the Euro's played better and deserved to win, but the USA did their best. I agree with the sentiments of ?play better' don't push the blame. Some stat came around that the Euro's played 94 under par compared to the USA 74 under.

It's time for a history lesson on the Ryder Cup and its format.

For many years it wasn't a contest. The USA whooped Britain. In the 50's maybe the 60's the format was 36 holes of ?foursomes and 36 hole single matches. A 1955 Ryder Cup player and 1979 and 1981 Euro captain told me himself, this morning! Of course my source is Mr. John Jacobs. I asked him if he felt playing 'foursomes' at local clubs and in past years would help the Europeans? Obviously it did this year. Country club golfers in Europe play that alternate shot format quite often. A foursome of golfers only play two balls and get around in under three hours, so sometimes play 36 holes on a Saturday. However, I am unsure if Rory McIllroy and crew grew up playing that way. Maybe. Somehow the Euro's excelled in the foursomes this year. Copy that philosophy!

The Ryder Cup format was changed somewhere along the way, late 60's perhaps, when fourball better ball was introduced. That is the common game on weekends around the States. Now the format is morning fourball best ball and afternoon foursomes, for two days. Last day is "mano y mano" and the 12 singles matches.

By 1979 it was no contest. So Mr. Jacobs suggested the idea that Britain (made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) be enlarged to include European players, notably the late and great Seve Ballesteros. Jack Nicklaus came back with US vs. 'the rest of the world'. That idea grew in to the Presidents Cup not the Ryder Cup. Mr. Jacobs went on to captain the first European team in 1979 and also in 1981. The US still dominated until 1983. Now the records show that the Europeans have won 8 out of the last 10. Maybe the US should propose enlarging its player's pool and include North America? That would include Canada and Mexico, and I coach two of the best Mexican players so I am politicking to get 'inside the ropes'! Just kidding... Or am I?

Recently voted Top-10 in Best Teachers in State of Arizona by Golf Digest. Also, contributing Golf Writer and Director of Instruction for The Boulders Club Voted as a TOP 100 Teacher in Golf Magazine, and Director of Instruction at the Boulders Golf Academy, Carefree, AZ.

When Scottsdale beckons and golf awaits, a call to Donald Crawley at The Boulders is a must.

Donald Crawley, Director of Instruction at the Boulders Golf Academy at the Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa in Carefree, Ariz. Crawley, a veteran of 35 years of teaching experience, is the newest contributor to The Sports Network with regular features that range from tips on improving your game to etiquette at the course. He has established 40 golf school sites in the United States since 1980,previously as vice president and director of instruction at John Jacobs' Golf Schools.

Crawley is recognized among the "Top 100 Teachers in America" by Golf Magazine and one of the "Best Teachers in Arizona" by Golf Digest. As both a Class A U.S. PGA member and a British PGA member, Crawley has been recognized for his outstanding teaching abilities. In 2002 & 2005, he won the Southwest Section PGA's Teacher of the Year Award. He also received the Horton Smith Award for education in 2000. In addition to teaching over 60,000 students, Crawley has co-authored video instruction tapes with John Jacobs and BBC/ABC golf telecaster Peter Alliss.

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