The fallout from the U.S. Ryder Cup Team’s defeat has settled, but theories of defeat are still abound as new details come out regarding behind the scenes team dynamics. Let’s give Tom Watson a break, forget all the crap, and simplify: When a team loses in golf or in any sport, the reason is usually that they have inferior players. When losing is systemic in an organization, always look to the highest reaches of the organization for the answer. In this case, the highest levels are the PGA Tour and the process it uses to select players.
All things being equal, the U.S. Team should have an inherent advantage year after year, being able to stock their roster with the largest pool of talented golfers in the world. Yet they continually go down to defeat. I propose that it’s time to remove the earning of qualifying points, over a two year period, and jettison captain’s picks. Put the selection in the hands of the players. Every U.S. professional with current year’s PGA Tour exempt status be allowed to vote on their Ryder Cup team representation, with the stipulation that they cannot vote for themselves. The vote would take place one month in advance of the competition and would ensure the best and hottest players at tournament time would complete the team. Imagine if we elected our political leaders on the polling results they accumulated over their last two years in office. That’s crazy, and is why we have Election Day.
And someone please explain why being elected and serving as a Ryder Cup team captain is so important and is considered a full time job for two years? If the player’s elect their own representation, you take the onus off the captain and let him focus on more important things like selecting the best and most colorful rain suits and focusing on how many gluten free options will be on the menu at the team meal. All these guys should really be doing is working the line-up cards during the competition and keeping their players on an even emotional keel. Seriously, how much preparation can you do over two years for a three day golf tournament?
The Ryder Cup will be at Hazeltine in 2016. I’ll be watching and hopefully we’ll get it figured out by then.