Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Ryder Cup Preview: Match-Play Tips

The U.S. team is a longshot to win the Ryder Cup this weekend as they are not at full strength and will face a European team loaded with talent and experience. To make the climb a bit steeper, Captain Tom Watson decided to go with veteran Webb Simpson instead of a guy who has actually played well lately (like Chris Kirk or Ryan Palmer) but hey, how much difference could one suspect captain's pick make right Lanny Wadkins?* That, combined with the absences of Jason Dufner (injured) and Dustin Johnson (leave of absence . . . nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more)** who combined for six points in 2012, is why the Euros are pretty heavy favorites in a competition that is generally considered a toss-up because of all of the inherent variables.

That's the bad news for fans of the U.S. team. The good news is that the Fantasy Golf Report is here to help with ten rarely used match-play tips that could make a one or two hole difference in a match and ultimately bring the Cup back to the states where it hasn't spent any considerable length of time since it boarded the plane for Wales back in 2010. Feel free to use these if you have an important match of your own this weekend and if you don't care about little things like etiquette, your reputation and maintaining friendships.

Match Play Tips

    USA . . . USA . . . USA!!!
  • Early in the match, ask your opponent to tend the flagstick on a 3 foot putt. Then smash it into his shin, say “your hole” and walk off the green.
  • When playing in a fourball match, stand behind your partner’s ball before every tee shot and plumb bob for about ten seconds. Then tell him it’s a cup-out on the left.
  • When playing on greens that are faster than you are accustomed to, put a booger on your ball to take off a little pace. When you make a long putt, ask your opponent to take the ball out of the hole and when he notes that there is a booger on the ball tell him not to take it off because it’s your last one.
  • Yell "FORE!!!!" on every shot your opponent hits no matter where it goes. When he looks at you sideways, shrug your shoulders and say, "safety first right?"
  • Ask your opponent if he likes Mexican food. Regardless of his answer, tell him just the two of you should go out sometime for some Mexican food because your wife hates it and then emphasize that "IT WILL JUST BE THE TWO OF US AND NO ONE ELSE CAN COME . . . UNDERSTAND?!?"
  • When walking down the first fairway, go as fast as you can until your opponent catches-up to you and then slow down, walk directly behind him and sing Mary Had a Little Lamb in Jack Nicklaus’ creepy high-pitched voice. When you get to the green, stop singing and declare, “man, I love that fucking song!"
  • Give your opponent a long putt for birdie on the first hole. After he picks it up, say “that was for bogey right?” When he corrects you, apologize and tell him that you've been a little distracted since the doctor told you it's probably Hepatitis.
  • Walk to the first tee with your jacket on backwards and then address the ball with your back to it while holding the club behind you. After attempting a couple of practice swings, comment that your grip doesn't feel right. Then take the jacket off, turn around and say, “ok, that feels better."
  • On the first tee, inform your opponent that you're terrible with names so you hope it's OK if you just call him "Ricky" all day. Then proceed to announce everything you're about to do and end it with "Ricky." I'm going to cut a five iron here Ricky." "I'm going to putt this instead of chip it because a bad putt is better than a bad chip . . . am I right or am I right Ricky?" "I'm going to lag this putt for bogey because you already made double (pause) . . . Ricky." Note: If your opponent's name is really "Ricky" then substitute "Donny."
  • Tell your opponent he looks just like your uncle who was eaten by a shark. Once per hole, stare at him and say, “it’s uncanny.” 

Oh man . . . I didn't
see that coming.
* In 1995, Captain Lanny Wadkins decided to pick his buddy Curtis Strange for the team despite the fact that Strange would finish 49th on the money list that season and hadn't won a tournament in six years. In Lanny's defense, it's not like he had a lot of other viable options unless you count Billy Mayfair (2nd on the money list with 2 wins in '95), Lee Janzen (3rd on the money list with 3 wins), Jim Gallagher, Jr. (8th on the money list with 2 wins) and Mark O'Meara (10th on the money list with 2 wins). Strange would go 0-3 including a bogey, bogey, bogey finish against Nick Faldo in the singles to lose on 18. The U.S. lost the Cup that year 14.5 to 13.5. So no pressure Webb.   

** The last time Johnson took a "leave of absence," it was because he injured himself while lifting a jet ski. In an unrelated story, I now refer to smoking marijuana as "lifting the jet ski."

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