Former United States Ryder Cup captain Hal Sutton had some interesting things to say recently about Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson – two of the best and most popular golfers in the game. “We’ve created some real superstars in the U.S. who have failed us when it comes to [the Ryder Cup],” Sutton said. “They don’t fail because they don’t have enough talent; they fail because there’s too much for them to do.”
When asked to clarify if he was talking about Woods and Mickelson, Sutton – the 2004 Ryder Cup captain – was happy to respond. “Yeah. I mean Tiger’s Ryder Cup record [13-14-2] is not very good at all, but everyone expects him to carry the team. He can’t get but five points. That ain’t gonna win it,” Sutton espoused. “So everyone else has got to perform. One of the reasons I think Europe is better than we are is they know more of the game. They have all the shots instead of half the shots. We’ve been playing the game in the air constantly. It’s easier to learn how to play the game in the air than it is on the ground, so it’s easier for them to learn to adapt to our style than it is for us to adapt to their style. “
Not only did Sutton essentially say that Woods, Mickelson and the rest of the American stars have failed to perform up to their ability or expectations, Sutton also issued was is basically a scathing indictment of American golf. In his opinion, there is no chance to compete with the European side simply because they’re better and more prepared. I think Tom Watson might argue that fact.
I don’t know whether Sutton is still harboring some resentment over the fact that he captained an American team that suffered one of the worst losses in recent Ryder Cup memory when they fell 18.5 to 9.5. He does make some valid points about the superstars in America being given too much to do and having too much pressure placed on their shoulders. I find it difficult to believe that many of those same responsibilities are not placed on the stars of the European side.