American Golf Needs a Bit of Scotland to be Saved and Win the Cup
To win back the cup U.S. golfers need to embrace match play. It could even save the game.
Golf in America is dying. Truly, the game is down 10 to 20 percent based on recent studies.
It is dying because Americans play a different game than the Scots and we are losing the Ryder Cup because of it.
Golf in the United States is more about soft greens and stroke play. Golf in Scotland is about hard courses without any houses, hard greens, and match play battles.
The Euros love the battle of match play. They have the eye of the Tiger.
Sadly, American golf has gotten lost in housing developments and the wrong kind of game. It is soft. Literally competitively. Soft courses, slow play and not many people that like to battle on the course make it a different game than what is being played across the pond. A few super elite courses like Bandon Dunes are trying to bring real golf to the U.S. but they are charging $300 a round for the zeitgeist experience.
My distaste turned into my first opinion column in years after watching Hunter Mahan calmly react to halving his match with Justin Rose. He said he was happy with the quality of golf he played on Sunday at the Ryder Cup. Words spoken after he bogeyed the last whole of his match. One of many matches the US let slip through their fingers. In almost 40 matches the US has taken to the 18th hole in Ryder Cups we have won less than five (I couldn’t fact check this, but Johnny Miller said it on the broadcast so it must be true.) The US needs to realize that the Ryder Cup isn’t about quality of golf, it is about winning and more specifically winning the last four holes.
Mahan and the US golfers are paid millions of dollars to try and win the cup. They should get docked a million for not winning. Maybe they would be a bit more bummed about a loss.
Overall, I shouldn’t expect anything less from golf in the states. American golf creates players like Furyk and Hunter Mahan who judge themselves on everything but winning and losing. They get paid millions of dollars for overall quality and not really for winning. The new FedEx cup is a perfect example of overall quality versus a head to head battle.
Furyk, the poor guy, has choked every pressure moment of his life for the past few years.
Sadly, American golf doesn’t give our pros too many pressure packed situations. The beauty of match play golf is that you don’t have to wait till the 72nd hole for a winning put. Every hole there is a putt that can win or lose a point.
The bottom line is that golf is meant to be played hard and fast with players battling in matches. If the United States general public figures this out it could save the game and could even create a new generation of golfers to bring home the Ryder Cup.