Who's to blame for Team USA's loss?
By mustang6560 on 10/1/12
It's Ryder Cup tradition, much like the captain giving his player gifts, for the media to question the losing captain's picks and strategy following the conclusion of play. Davis Love III captained the losing side, which means his decisions to play and not to play some of his players and his leadership style will be questioned for years to come.

But, at the end of the day, how much control does the captain actually have?

To some, the captain makes or breaks the team. To others (like me), the skipper is a glorified golf cart driver. Regardless of your opinion, the captain does influence the outcome of the Ryder Cup to some degree. So how do you properly grade the "performance" of each captain? In my opinion, the only way to judge each captain fairly is to look at the only thing he controls — his picks. And if you look at DL3's captain's picks versus Jose Maria Olazabal's, then it's clear to see that Jose was a better captain.

Team USA Captain's Picks

Player Record Points
Dustin Johnson 3-0-0 3
Brandt Snedeker 1-2-1 1.5
Jim Furyk 1-2-0 1
Steve Stricker 0-4-0 0
Total 5-8-1 5.5

Team Europe Captain's Picks

Player Record Points
Ian Poulter 4-0-0 4
Nicolas Colsaerts 1-3-0 1
Total 5-3-0 5

Since DL3 got four captain's picks (compared to Jose's two), it's fair to say he had the opportunity to have more of an influence on his team's success, just like his predecessors. With that in mind, it's pathetic that DL3's four picks only won half of a point more than Jose's two. There is no "I" in team, so it's important to remember that Team USA lost as a team. However, in the part of the Ryder Cup DL3 had the most control over, he didn't pull his weight.

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Image via Flickr, Keith Allison

[ comments ]
Phil1068 says:
It's a little harsh to say Love's picks faired worse so he wasn't as good a captain. Only one pick faired worse than Europe's second pick and he was selected to partner your world number 2 golfer.
Paulie Lama says:
DL3 was a poor captain plain and simple. His picks were poor, his handling of team players was poor and allowing Phil and Keegan sit out the afternoon Saturday was a huge mistake. There was no way Stricker and Furyk should have been there. Young rookie players with better records should have been the first call in picks.
It's a team, but a captain is the leader, weak leader, weak team.
SteveS1964 says:
Well Jim had several opportunities to nail down the USA victory. He failed, and Stricker was just plain off. I question Stricker being paired w/ woods for the 3rd time. Why? It should have been Phil and Keegan again. BUT, phil knew ahead of time he was sitting out, he said as much in a post match interview.
Phil1068 says:
How weak was the captain when he brought you a 4 point lead going into the singles? How many stronger captains have done that in recent years?
Mickelson did say in the post match interview that he and Bradley knew they were sitting out the afternoon and so were able to give it their all for the morning. He admitted that had they known they were out in the afternoon they wouldnt have been able to do that.
Dont forget that Ollie did similar in leaving out Poults on the afternoon of the first day. Was Olazabel a weak captain too?
Tiger Woods' record in Ryder Cup is very poor considering his standing in world golf. Davis Love, I believe, is the first captain to leave him out of a session. Is that strong or weak leadership?
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