DOES THE RYDER CUP NEED AN AMERICAN VICTORY?
To maximise interest and excitement on both sides of the pond, does the great biennial team event need the USA to triumph at Hazeltine?
urope have won the last three Ryder Cups and eight of the last ten. A suggestion heard in golfing circles on this side of the pond in recent years has been that the Ryder Cup needs an American victory, to keep the excitement levels at fever pitch plus interest and expectation high on both sides. Is this the case? Is such a view a little superficial and patronising, or would The Ryder Cup be in a better place if the USA wins at Hazeltine?
If Davis Love III’s men triumph in Minnesota it will be only the second US victory of the 21st century. The USA prevailed comfortably at Valhalla in 2008 when the European captain, Nick Faldo, was thoroughly out-thought by his opposite number Paul Azinger. But, in the other six contests this millennium, Europe have come out on top.
European golf fans have become used to winning the great biennial event, and US players and supporters are hungry to silence their increasingly vocal supporters – think Patrick Reed’s shushing at Gleneagles!
When the USA dominated the contest in the mid-to-late 20th century, European fans held more hope than expectation, and most of the cheering was left to those waving the stars and stripes. How good it was for Europe to stun those expectant American fans at The Belfry in 1985 and to prove that the event was no longer a mere procession. Perhaps it is indeed time for the European devotees to receive a gentle reminder of the same sort?
EThe American public is spoilt for choice when it comes to top-level competition. They have a plethora of options of what, and who, to support, from baseball and basketball to NFL and NHL, track and field and tennis to NASCAR. There are those who think that if the USA continue to lose in The Ryder Cup, the fickle fans will switch off and move their allegiance to something else. This seems a rather malicious generalisation. The American golf fans love their sport and their players, and they will continue to support and believe in them in The Ryder Cup.
The US may have lost at the last three attempts, but these have been close contests. In 2010 at Celtic Manor, the event came right down to the wire. Graeme McDowell edged out Hunter Mahan in the final singles to leave the American so overcome with disappointment that he was unable to speak in the post-tournament press conference. In 2012, Europe pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in cup