It took nine years, but the Americans have finally won back the Ryder Cup, a feat that, frankly, not many people were expecting a week ago. But Paul Azinger, the U.S. captain, is a wily sort, or, at the very least, had the great fortune of going up against one of the worst captains in recent Cup history.
Nick Faldo, a six-time major winner quite possibly known more for really loving himself, made several curious decisions during the three-day event (and several prior -- like leaving Darren Clarke and Colin Montgomerie at home), and that had a lot to do with the outcome.
But Azinger, and perhaps, more importantly, the fans who flocked to Valhalla to support the American side, also played a huge role.
The "home-field advantage" played a giant role this weekend...
On the eve of the event, Azinger told a rally crowd in Louisville not to be afraid to cheer if the Europeans missed a putt, as long as the missed putt secured an American victory at that particular hole. Garcia was witness to the obedient response. After Garcia rinsed a pair of shots into the water and conceded the seventh hole, he walked 200 yards to the green listening to bedlam with Kim pleading for the crowds to cheer louder.
"We created the 13th man, and I'm real proud of these people," Azinger said. "They made a big difference and kept our guys energized."
Too big a difference if you ask Lee Westwood, who, in addition to whinging about Boo Weekley's bush-league tactics, also called some fans "shameful" for their antics. Apparently, there was a "foul reference about his mother before he his a tee shot, and a nuisance telephone call to his room in the wee hours before the final round," writes the Sun-Sentinel.
Look, I'm not condoning "your mama" jokes -- not so much because they're rude, but because they quit being funny somewhere around the third grade -- but does it even make sense to bellyache about it at this point in the proceedings?
If Westwood had the jerk thrown off the property at the time, I would've been fine with it, but now, given how things played out on the course, Westwood looks like a big, whiny baby. Let it go, dude. Or else head-butt the guy in the chest. One or the other, though.