Task force re­vamps US Ry­der Cup team a er 2014 flop

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

AUS Ry­der Cup task force formed only days af­ter a hum­bling 2014 de­feat at Gle­nea­gles has re­vamped the Amer­i­cans’ mind­set and at­ti­tude en­ter­ing this year’s show­down against Europe.

And part of how they did it is by steal­ing some tricks from their trans-At­lantic ri­vals.

Echoes of Phil Mick­el­son’s 2014 post-Cup com­ments de­tail­ing a lack of player in­put on cap­tain Tom Wat­son’s team and how that dif­fered from a 2008 US home tri­umph will be felt at the 41st bi­en­nial com­pe­ti­tion from Septem­ber 30 to Oc­to­ber 2 at Hazel­tine.

“Def­i­nitely a fresh, pos­i­tive at­ti­tude from the start of 2015 build­ing for the fu­ture,” 2016 US cap­tain Davis Love said.

Love, who also guided the 2012 US squad that fell vic­tim to the great­est last-day come­back in Cup his­tory, was named to an 11-per­son US Ry­der Cup task force barely two weeks af­ter the third US loss in a row and eighth in the past 10 Ry­der Cups.

Love and fel­low cap­tains Tom Lehman and Ray Floyd were joined by three PGA of Amer­ica of­fi­cials and play­ers Mick­el­son, Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler, Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods.

“Play­ers hadn’t had any in­volve­ment or in­put into the process and that has changed,” Mick­el­son said. “Davis has been the leader of that change.

“There’s a lot more in­put from play­ers and as­sis­tant cap­tains and build­ing a plat­form for years to come. We’ll try to keep some con­ti­nu­ity from year to year, some­thing we re­ally haven’t had in the 20 years I’ve played.”

Plan­ning and strat­egy will de­cide every de­tail well in ad­vance for four­somes and four-ball pair­ings to al­low play­ers to fo­cus on prepa­ra­tion.

“The whole goal is to give the play­ers an op­por­tu­nity to suc­ceed as op­posed to giv­ing them chal­lenges to over­come,” Mick­el­son said. “The way you do that is elim­i­nate the vari­ables, the ob­sta­cles that cause pres­sure – who are you go­ing to play with, what matches are you go­ing to play, what holes do you tee off on, what ball are you go­ing to play.

Steal­ing a page from Europe, the idea is to keep the pro­gram go­ing from Cup to Cup and build team­work.

“When you look at the Euro­pean team, many of them play the best golf of their en­tire ca­reer the weeks of the Ry­der Cup,” Mick­el­son said.

“That’s not a fluke. When you have a real team, a part­ner­ship, you lift each other up to new highs and we haven’t had that type of con­ti­nu­ity, sup­port sys­tem, game plan, struc­ture, from year to year.”

Mick­el­son warnsed that US play­ers still need ex­e­cute, how­ever.

“We still have to play great golf to win,” he said. “The dif­fer­ence is we’re be­ing put in a po­si­tion to suc­ceed.”

Photo: AFP

US golfer Jor­dan Spi­eth hits out of a bunker on the 10th green dur­ing Round 4 of the 80th Mas­ters tour­na­ment in Au­gusta, Ge­or­gia on April 10. For­mer world num­ber one Jor­dan Spi­eth says he would swap a US$10 mil­lion FedEx Cup pay­day for vic­tory in the Ry­der Cup.

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