US Ry­der Cup Team Re­claims Tro­phy

Ry­der Cup win only the start for re­vamped US Team


Phil Mick­el­son knows the ex­act mo­ment the pres­sure be­gan to re­vamp the US Ry­der Cup team from a long-term loser into the one that re­claimed the tro­phy by beat­ing Europe 17-11. "The pres­sure started when some dumb ass opened his mouth two years ago in the me­dia cen­tre," Mick­el­son said. Mick­el­son was the one who crit­i­cized 2014 cap­tain Tom Wat­son's han­dling of the team at Gle­nea­gles in the mo­ments af­ter a sting­ing loss to Europe, the Amer­i­cans' third in a row, sixth of seven and eighth in 10 meet­ings.

US team­mate Matt Kuchar squirmed as if try­ing to be any­where but seated next to Mick­el­son as he out­lined how there was no plan­ning and lit­tle player say in de­ci­sions. So when Mick­el­son was asked a mir­ror im­age of the same ques­tion that re­vealed the 2014 dys­func­tion be­tween cap­tain and play­ers, it was no shock that the en­tire tri­umphant US team turned to stare at him.

"We had a great week this week," Mick­el­son said. "We had a lot of fun to­gether as a team, and we played some great golf and we are re­ally ex­cited to have won." Mick­el­son's team­mates gave him an ova­tion for his ora­tion, which left no cap­tains tossed un­der buses but did bring full cir­cle the two years' work by Mick­el­son and many oth­ers on the Ry­der Cup task force that sorted out de­tails and strat­egy for this week's ef­fort.

It was the most lop­sided US vic­tory since an 18 1/2 - 9 1/2 romp at Eng­land's Wal­ton Heath in 1981, the sixth in a run of seven con­sec­u­tive Amer­i­can tri­umphs. And that is the sort of stan­dard Mick­el­son sees for the fu­ture of the US Ry­der Cup pro­gram. Be­cause in the 46-year-old left-han­der's eyes, one win is where the work be­gins, not where it ends.

"The thing about this is that we need to build on this, oth­er­wise, it's all for naught," Mick­el­son said. "We cre­ated a very solid foun­da­tion this year." US cap­tain Love and this year's five vice-cap­tains are vi­tal to the mix of tal­ent needed go­ing for­ward, Mick­el­son said. "Davis is go­ing to be a very in­stru­men­tal part of that go­ing for­ward in two years, be­cause for us to go to Europe and try to win the Cup is a whole dif­fer­ent feat," Mick­el­son said. "That's go­ing to re­quire a whole dif­fer­ent level of play, of sol­i­dar­ity, of for­ti­tude and we are go­ing to have to build on this in two years if we want to try to re­tain the Cup." The Amer­i­cans have not won in Europe since 1993 at the Bel­fry when Wat­son had been the cap­tain. The time be­fore that was 1981. It's great that we had suc­cess this week, but it's not about one year or one Ry­der Cup," Mick­el­son said. "It's about a mul­ti­tude, for decades to come."

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