Tuesday October 2, 2012
US rising stars ready to grab Ryder Cup reins as veterans face exit
CHICAGO (Sept 28-30)
A strong contingent of US young guns appear ready to take the torch from a group of American veterans whose Ryder Cup careers could be coming to a close.
A trio of recent major championship winners Bubba Watson (2012 Masters), Webb Simpson (2012 US Open) and Keegan Bradley (2011 PGA Championship) all had solid Ryder Cups at the Medinah Country Club.
Bradley looked unbeatable in the team events and flamboyant Watson gladly took on the lead-hitter role which helped set the tone off the first tee for the US team in the first two days of competition.
“I can’t be more proud of this team,” said US skipper Davis Love. “They conducted themselves with class all week. They inspired the fans to get behind them. This is one of the most powerful teams ever put together but it’s also one of the classiest teams.”
Watson and Bradley provided the youthful energy that inspired veterans like Phil Mickelson, who was appearing in his ninth Ryder Cup. Mickelson went 3-0 in team events while being paired with Bradley but failed to win his Sunday singles match, losing 1-up to Justin Rose.
Even though the Americans self-destructed on a bloody Sunday, losing 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 to the hard-charging Europeans, Bradley was finding it hard to come down off the high of playing in the Ryder Cup.
“I never felt more on a team in my life,” Bradley said. “I am going to be disappointed that we are not going to get together tomorrow to all get ready to play.”
While the 26-year-old Bradley and 27-year-old Simpson could be mainstays on Team USA for several more Ryder Cups, veterans like 45-year-old Steve Stricker and 42-year-old Jim Furyk could be winding down their Ryder Cup careers.
Asked if he was looking forward to trying out for the 2014 Ryder Cup in Gleneagles, Scotland, Stricker replied, “I don’t know. I’ll be 47 then. It would always be fun to be part of but we will see. It is too early to tell right now.”
Like Stricker, Furyk finished with a losing record in the 39th Ryder Cup.
Furyk missed an eight-footer to save par at the 18th hole allowing Sergio Garcia to win the match, giving Europe a 13-12 lead and needing just one more point to retain the cup. Furyk was in contention at this year’s US Open but faded at the end. He thought he should have won the match against Garcia.
“I’m pretty sure Sergio would tell you that I out-played him today but I didn’t win and I lost the match,” Furyk said. “I’ve had a lot of that happen this year.
“Losing the US Open this year, losing Bridgestone, I’ll be honest, it’s been a very difficult year.
“It’s been a low year. I’ve played very well this year but haven’t closed the door. As are as team versus individual, it’s the lowest point of my year.” — AFP