THE US IS THE WEAKER TEAM
Admittedly, I have no idea how to account for any advantage the European crowds may give Europe, but there is not possible way that in a neutral environment the US Team is weaker. They have Stricker, Furyk, Mickelson, Kuchar and Woods.
If you factor in how AK has played coming off injury (and apply that to Westwood if he plays), and how Tiger has turned it around in his last 4 events, the US will almost assuredly have the best FIVE players going into this event. After that, Fowler and Cink and Watson are probably the weakest in Wales, but not by so much that it should be a huge factor especially if Pavin is wise and doesn’t play them a lot.
Home crowds might inspire the Euros, but short of the US playing holes that are 30 yards longer, they should be favorites to win the Ryder Cup.
PLAYING 5 MATCHES IS TOO MUCH
Paul Azinger tweeted today that he thought it was right of Pavin not to play Woods in 5 matches because, players in there “fifth match historically lose 80% of the time.”
I’m not sure where he got that number and I only went back to 2002, but that number seems off. Since 2002, players playing in their 5th match are 10-7-6 in singles play. That seems pretty standard to me since players that play 5 matches are generally the best players. (Every American Captain has figured out that they need to play Tiger 5 times).
Does fatigue have an effect? Maybe, but walking 18 holes of golf isn’t exactly going 15 rounds in a boxing ring. I would guess that players in their fifth match are slightly worse than being “fresh,” but thats easily offset by the fact that most of their opponents have played more golf than they are accustomed to and the advantage of course knowledge that comes from playing more competitive rounds on a course.
CAPTAINS PICKS REALLY MATTER
To be clear, Rickie Fowler and Edoardo Molinari were terrible choices for the Ryder Cup team. They in no way match the pedigree of better players on either side of the Atlantic who could have been selected. Will it really make a difference come Ryder Cup week? Not that you will probably notice.
The biggest factors in earning points in Wales will not be overall skill, but things like luck and good variance. I can predict reasonably well who will be better over the next 1000 rounds. No one can predict who will have good round very accurately.
PAUL AZINGER WAS A GREAT CAPTAIN
Every time I criticize Paul Azinger a few idiots seem to find the site and make the “but Azinger won” argument. Great.
He still made poor captain’s picks. Used his team inefficiently, created a horrendous point system and got a lot of credit for his players having a good week. Congratulations to the US team for winning last time out, but I’d rather have O’Hair, Watney and Woods qualify on automatic points like they should have.
Obviously, I’ll have much more Ryder Cup stuff up in the next few weeks.