Friday, September 28, 2012

The Ryder Cup Preview

On September 26, 1999 at about 2:00 p.m. I was sitting in PSINet Stadium in Baltimore watching an 0-2 Ravens team play a typically brutal game against the 0-2 Cleveland Browns (and by "brutal" I don't mean the defensive effort).* At some point I looked over to whomever was sitting next to me and said "screw this, I'm going home to watch the final round of the Ryder Cup." That was back in the days when my seat for Ravens games was three quarters of a mile from my front door. It would take me fifteen minutes to walk to the game and about six hours to walk home via something called the "Purple Patio" which was the parking lot of one of the twenty bars between my house and the stadium that the owners brilliantly painted purple. Those were the freakin' Caesar Salad days (drifting off into a trance).

I wouldn't wear that
shirt to a shit fight.
OK, I'm back. As I was saying, in 1999 I made the shrewd decision to forgo an utterly forgettable fan experience to watch one of the most epic events in the history of golf. Yes, the uniforms looked like something from the Rodney Dangerfield collection in Easy Money, the Americans acted like total jackasses** when Justin Leonard rolled in what would be the Cup clinching putt and David Duval's double fist pumping display with his shirt untucked may have been one of the most awkward things ever seen on a golf course that didn't involve a player trying unsuccessfully to high five his caddie but those circumstances only mildly diminished what for me was a sporting event that fits into that tier right below the U.S.A. v. Russia 1980 Olympic hockey game.*** (Hey, that's how I feel. If you don't like it, go read the Fantasy Bowling Report).

I had planned to write a full-blown preview breaking down every player on each team and explaining why I thought Europe was going to win (best player in the world, more experience, better putters, etc.). I actually started it but then found myself writing things like "Luke Donald is 6-0 in foursomes and is one of the best putters in the world." (Really?!? Please tell me more things I can read on PGATour.com). So I bagged it and figured I would just post my prediction of a European win and be done with it. Then I forgot to do that at some point last night when Brandon "Freakin" Weedan was driving the Browns for the game tying score against the Ravens and Paul "Did I Ever Tell You the Story About How I Got Stabbed in College" Krueger gave them an extra play to get it done by somehow toppling 300+ pound Joe Thomas by gently placing his hand on his shoulder. (Who knew Thomas was such a big Vlade Divac fan?).

So in true FGR fashion, I found myself this morning writing the preview of an event that had already started and I saw two things when I turned-on the coverage that made me change my pick (always the sign of an astute gambler): (a) Graeme McDowell pulled the opening tee shot of the event and the home crowd not only erupted with cheers but started chanting "U.S.A. . . .U.S.A. . . . U.S.A."; and (b) Keegan Bradley stepped-up in the second match and absolutely annihilated a driver down the middle and then shot a look off to the side as if to say, "I got this." Has there ever been a player better suited for this event than Bradley who absolutely thrives on emotion? Let's go ahead and pencil him in for the next eight and a captainship in 2032.

Not to mention, the Euro flag
makes for a lame bikini.
The other issue is that I have my own match today playing in my club's season long two man match-play tournament that my partner and I won in 2009 (we got knocked-out in the first round the next two years). From a field of sixty-four teams we are now down to the semifinals and I am jacked-up to the point that my fingers are spazzing all over the keyboard**** so we're going to cut this short and end it with a prediction and a promise for a fuller Ryder Cup Update edition next week.

USA - 15.0 . . . Europe - 13.0 and the Cup stays home. U.S.A. . .U.S.A. . . U.S.A.!!!!

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Endnotes

* The quarterback match-up that afternoon was Tim Couch v. Stoney Case. They combined to go 25 for 57 for 288 yards, 1 touchdown, 4 interceptions and 8 sacks. The two teams combined for 18 punts. The next time I criticize Joe Flacco, feel free to bring this up.

** I watched the '99 Ryder Cup on the Golf Channel the other night and cringed at the way the Americans rushed the green after that putt when Jose Maria Olazabol still had a putt to halve the hole and keep the Cup in the balance, however, I remember when I watched it live I didn't see anything wrong with it. That may have something to do with me being thirteen years older and watching it sober.

*** I feel sorry for sports fans who are too young to have seen and remember that game because, as the greatest moment in American sports history, it is in that undebatable category with things like "who is the greatest hockey player of all time?" (Wayne Gretzky); "who is the greatest wide receiver in NFL history?" (Jerry Rice); and "who was the biggest asshole in sports history?" (Tie: Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods . . . I was wrestling with a way to end this thing and right on cue they appeared on the first tee at Medinah like it was meant to be).

**** And I don't have time to proofread this either. Just give me the damn C- and let's move on.