The U.S. Ryder Cup team, outside of Stewart Cink, has so far performed like exactly what it is: a collection of good but not-yet superby accomplished players along with a very good grinder (jim Furyk) with an awful four-ball record and two all-time greats in a serious, serious phunk. This team is so far away from Ben Hogan’s legendary “12 best players in the world” as to be a sign of societal decline.
What’s most baffling is the body language of Phil Mickelson. He has been walking around all week with a hangdog look, like he’s wearing a “Kick me” sign. He has now won only something like two of his last 18 Ryder Cup matches. That’s pitiful. And his 0-3 record this week so far is really strange. Twice his team has battled back from deep early holes to pull either even or just about even, only to then throw it away. And it was Phil doing some of the most devastating throw-aways, especially by three-putting a green down the stretch today and then failing to get up and down on 16 while Ian Poulter of Great Britain did get up and down from a worse spot.
Overall, the U.S. condition going into Monday’s finale is pitiphul. And they do not have nearly the firepower of the great 1999 comeback team of Brookline, nor the mystical leadership of Ben Crenshaw. Down 9 1/2 to 6 1/2, I see no way on Earth they can win. Tiger is still doing experiments on his swing, Dustin Johnson looks lost, Steve Stricker is putting great but looks exhausted, and nobody seems to be looking like somebody to rally around. This is awful.