It pains me to no end to see the United States’ performance in the Ryder Cup. We have won only three of the past 12 in the biennial matches. Embarrassing, that.
So, what should we do? I solve complicated problems for a living. Thus, here would be a real-world, private-sector approach to fixing the problem, which I define as consistent failure to win Ryder Cups.
1. End crony captain-ism. Let’s stop the parade of old PGA Tour players as captains. No more, Whose turn is it? Or, Which of my buddies do I want to hang around with in Paris? I hate to pick on U.S. captain Jim Furyk – he seems like a nice-enough fellow – but he is the most recent glaring example of what needs to change.
Kaufman’s plan makes sense, if PGA would listen
I found Peter Kaufman’s comments to be very much on point (“Business-like plan could regain Ryder Cup,” Oct. 9). However, I am skeptical about the PGA of America’s desire and fortitude to pursue the two most important components of his plan: leadership selection and player selection (i.e., no automatic entries).
Despite the PGA’s selection of a business person, Seth Waugh, as its new chief executive, I am doubtful that the U.S. Ryder Cup team organizers will cede control to a non-golfer. History, the influence of players and TV and other sponsors’ desire for a recognizable figurehead (read popular star golfer) argue against this.
However, I do not believe this is the most important element. Having the courage to select the best team as opposed to popular choices such as Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods is key. Obviously, an outsider is better positioned to follow this strategy. Mickelson’s comments consistently reflect an entitlement that virtually all aspects of professional golf have fostered.
In his comments about Tom Watson, Kaufman makes an extremely insightful point about the skills needed by any leader. Kaufman acknowledges Watson’s ability to make tough decisions, but he also highlights Watson’s challenges connecting with and motivating players and generally solving problems inherent in managing a team of star players with attendant fragilities, egos, etc. However, the selection of players who put team first will be of great assistance to the team leader in executing his decisions and managing any fallout.
I am extremely interested in the outcome of the upcoming Ryder Cup debrief on the heels of the Americans’ humbling (hopefully) defeat and to the extent to which Kaufman’s comments and even involvement will be considered.
Oak Bluff, Manitoba