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And the U.S. solved a long-standing riddle, when it found two successful two-man teams for the foursomes and four-ball competitions, a part of both Ryder and Presidents Cups where Americans had traditionally done very badly. Add to the team legends in the making Chris DiMarco paired with Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk paired with Tiger Woods. Each team won three matches.
(An aside: Perhaps Americans have paid too much attention to the requirement that foursomes partners play with the same ball, same brand, markings, and type. Big-time players have big-time endorsement contracts with ball manufacturers. Captains have tended to play Titleist players with Titleist players, Bridgestone players with Bridgestone players, and so forth. Not this time. Tiger and Furyk, DiMarco and Mickelson, asked to play with one another. Woods endorses Nike, Furyk Top Flite. DiMarco plays Titleist, Mickelson signed two years ago with Callaway. Didn’t matter.)
IN TEAM COMPETITION, AS IN many other things, the tournament benefited from tweaking of the format. The Presidents Cup, for the past three meets, has adopted an extra half day of team play, giving coaches a chance to mix and match players better than in the two-day team format it formerly shared with the Ryder Cup. Last-day singles matches, it was decided this year, would have to be won outright, even if going to extra holes. It had formerly been possible to earn half a point with a tie on the last day. No more.
The Ryder Cup ought to adopt both changes, but probably won’t.
As usual, some down-list players had a tough time, and some played brilliantly. Some did both. The Internationals’ Tim Clark and Nick O’Hern (who?) putted the heart of the holes and their U.S. opponents in team play. Then on Sunday they both looked like they were putting with oars. Kenny Perry and, to a lesser extent, Davis Love, putted feebly during the week, than sank everything on Sunday on their way to decisive wins.
So the stories have begun. Tiger Woods suffered a muscle spasm in the middle of the left trapezius complex (the three big muscles that connect the spine to the left shoulder). Johnny Miller spotted it when it happened, and re-ran it in slo-mo for the TV audience. As Tiger took his backswing, that big triangular muscle complex bunched up in a flex. As he took his through swing, the muscle flattened out in release — but it did not stay flat. Halfway through the motion, it flexed again in a spasm, in a great heaping, almost pointed clump, sharply outlined against Tiger’s sweaty shirt on a 90-degree day in Virginia.
It was clinical and horrible and it was never shown again.
Tiger’s partner Jim Furyk, injured himself with a rib separation, carried the world’s number one to three team wins while a trainer followed Woods, pressing ice against his jumping, throbbing muscle.
And an unlikely hero came through in team play and in the match for the deciding point. Chris DiMarco, who throughout the tournament, won four and a half of five possible points, and who carried superstar Phil Mickelson, sank a 15-footer for birdie on the eighteenth hole in the next-to-last match to beat Stuart Appleby. Appleby, for the Internationals, had also emerged from similar status (few wins, no majors) to display consistent brilliance for his team.
Can’t make jokes about the Presidents Cup anymore. It has arrived, and the players and the fans care.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?