One of the big knocks on today's players is that they use their "independent contractor" status like a cudgel, ducking in and out of tournaments on a whim. And while it may or may not be accurate (it is), it's a perception that will make golf's annual team-up exercises that much tougher to pull off. Or so says Hal Sutton, the 2004 Ryder Cup captain.
Speaking to Golf Channel's "Morning Drive," Sutton noted "I don't know that guys are following anyone but their own selves today. We live in a pretty selfish world. It's not a criticism. In my mind that's a fact."
In terms of advice for current Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, Sutton said an understanding of that me-first mindset is essential. "These guys don't want to follow anybody," Sutton said. "The hard part about being a captain is you're the greatest guy in the world if you win, and did the worst job in the world if you lose, and you never hit a shot. And with golf I think there's more to it than that."
Sutton, of course, is best known as a Ryder Cup captain for pairing Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. They lost both matches, a fourball to Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie 2 and 1, and a foursome to Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood 1-up. Overall, the United States got waxed by Bernhard Langer and the Euros, 18 1/2 to 9 1/2.
Love will have his hands full enough with the European squad, but with any luck, he'll be able to wrangle all the many egos into a U.S. victory.