Hard Ryder: USA Just Doesn’t Get It

By Richard Kent
Updated: September 24, 2006

CONNETICUT—The Ryder Cup just went down the drain. We have the best player in the world in Tiger Woods but too many individualistic players who can’t adjust to the team game and would rather win majors. Phil Mickelson is a prime example and Sergio Garcia is on the other side. He simply does not lose in team play but can’t win a major. It looks as if he is happy winning the way he does. Do our players take it seriously enough? Do they practice as a team? Did the dinner that Tiger had with the rookies work? It appears as if the answer to all three questions is no. We have now lost three in a row for the first time in Ryder Cup history and there is no reason to believe that the tide will change.

The women just lost for the first time in years in the World Championship in women’s basketball. They fell to Russia. No one on Russia could start for our team. We have the best player in the world in Diana Taurasi and the best defender in Tamika Catchings and the best point guard in Sue Bird. Was it a lack of practice together? Probably. They should win the Olympics under Anne Donovan in 2008 after having more opportunities to practice as a team together but this was a bad loss. But we need to learn to stop the outside shot as it absolutely burned us in that game.

How about tennis? We have now lost the Davis Cup for yet another year. Andy Roddick just fell and Russia has an insurmountable 3-1 lead. James Blake played valiantly but we simply don’t have enough experience here on red clay. Maybe we should build more courts at a training facility in Florida. Perhaps the players on our team were more content with their US Open performances than play a few weeks later in the Davis Cup. At least the Bryan brothers take it seriously and continue to win the doubles.

The men’s basketball team even with the best coach in the country could not win the World Championships. Maybe once again a lack of practice and they should be ready for the Olympics as well. It was a brilliantly chosen team.

Is it possible that we should just stick to pro football? No one will beat us in that. At least not yet.