Coming close doesn’t give you anything but more heartache in sports. Just ask the Buffalo Bills (and Scott Norwood), the Kentucky basketball players who lived through Laettner and Bobby Cox.
So while the U.S. team almost pulled off a thrilling, historic rally on the final day of the rain-sogged Ryder Cup, a 14½ to 13½ loss to Europe is still only fuel for Colin Montgomerie’s future merry benders.
Here’s a look at what went wrong for a U.S. team that featured four of the top-five ranked players in the world.
1. (Leader, Ryder Cup points) Phil Mickelson — Record 1-3. Grade: F
Set the all-time U.S. record for Ryder Cup losses (17), never seemed to
want to be in Wales, bonded with Rory McIlroy more than anyone in his
own team room.
2. Hunter Mahan — Record: 1-2. Grade: C-
Chunked that last, decisive easy chip, but shouldn’t live as one of
sports' ultimate goats. 2008 Ryder Cup standout is no choker.
3. Bubba Watson — Record: 1-3. Grade: D-
He doesn’t know Boo. Poor substitute for ’08 Ryder comic Weekley failed as much as Hunter when it mattered most.
4. Jim Furyk — Record: 0-2-1. Grade: D
Furyk’s Ryder Cup woes show how little the FedEx Cup still actually
means. Couldn’t transition from the playground to true pressure.
5. Steve Stricker – Record 3-1. Grade: A-
Took out Europe’s top gun Lee Westwood in singles, shouldered the pressure of playing with Tiger again.
6. Dustin Johnson — Record 1-3. Grade: D+
Brought the black cat to Europe. Whether it’s a crazy bunker or some
shaky partners, something also seems to get in this long bomber's way.
7. Jeff Overton — Record: 2-2. Grade: B
Showed more passion than any other American. He could play for Monty.
8. Matt Kuchar — Record 1-1-2. Grade: C
On Monday, Ian Poulter showed Kuchar the difference between winning a lot of money on Tour and being a star.
Captain's Pick. Tiger Woods — Record: 3-1. Grade: B
No one can blame Tiger. He absolutely obliterated Francesco Molinari in singles Monday, playing his best golf of ’10. Yet, his loss with Stricker set a tone.
CP. Rickie Fowler — Record: 1-2. Grade: C+
Looked like a moronic captain’s pick early, but turned out to be arguably Pavin’s best move of the week (not that there are many to chose from) with Monday W.
CP. Zach Johnson — Record: 2-1. Grade: B-
It’s not this boring winner’s fault that Pavin didn’t use him in the maximum four matches. Iowans don’t sweat.
CP. Stewart Cink — Record 0-1-3. Grade: C-
Here's your goat. So many chances to beat McIlroy in singles, so many missed putts. The half that haunts.
Captain. Corey Pavin — Record 0-1 as captain. Grade: D-
Captains are completely overrated in the Ryder Cup, unless they're as bad as Pavin. Should apply for a job as Monty’s coffee boy. Late rally more luck than looking ahead.