Has American Golf Hit a New Low?

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | When the final putt dropped Sunday at the 2013 Solheim Cup, the European team erupted into celebration as it finally defeated the United States team on American soil.

The truth of the matter, however, is that the victor had already been decided late Saturday afternoon as the Europeans opened a massive lead heading into Sunday.

If the 2012 Ryder Cup taught us anything, of course, it is that no lead is safe when it comes to team competition. In that event, the Americans once again got the short end of the proverbial stick, relinquishing what was believed to be an insurmountable lead to Jose Maria Olazabal's Euro squad. For Davis Love III's US team, it will always be remembered as the "Meltdown at Medinah."

Two team events, two massive defeats for the United States. What the heck is going on with Team America?

There may not be one specific reason why the last two team events have ended poorly for Old Glory, which only compounds the issue. There were multiple shortcomings on both the men's and women's teams, starting with two respective captain picks.

For the men, Tiger Woods -- undoubtedly the best golfer of this generation -- was a controversial captain choice for Love's Ryder Cup team. At the time, Woods was struggling substantially with his game and was nowhere close to qualifying for the team by way of point earnings. While Woods' individual career is that of legend, his Ryder Cup record flat out stinks. Woods went winless at the 2012 matches, appearing to be a mere mortal in the wake of Europe's torrid run to victory.

United States captain Meg Mallon's decision to include Gerina Piller on her Solheim Cup team is equally confusing. While Piller did manage a half-point for her team (0-2-1 overall), the inclusion of a rookie Cupper beside Mallon's second pick -- the unpredictable Michelle Wie -- did not seem like a strong option heading into the event. Hindsight is always 20-20, but Piller's inexperience showed throughout the weekend.

A similar story unfolds when you look at individual performances in this year's major championships. On the LPGA side, South Korean Inbee Park has dominated the major scene by winning the first three of the season. American Stacy Lewis managed to win the Women's British Open earlier this month -- her second career major -- but not without a sense of it being a consolation prize to history's missed opportunity. Park still has a chance to win four (!) majors in a year should she capitalize at the Evian Masters Championship in September.

For the men, Phil Mickelson's victory at the British Open gave the United States its first major of the year after Australia's Adam Scott and England's Justin Rose won the Masters and US Open, respectively. Jason Dufner's memorable performance at the PGA Championship this month tied the major scorecard to 2-2.

As the 2014 Ryder Cup is set to take place on European soil next year in Scotland, captain Paul McGinley will lead a confident team of players against the underdog American squad lead by Tom Watson. The 2015 Solheim Cup will also take place on foreign soil in Germany, where that Euro team will once again defend the cup.

For the American teams, now might be a good time to start working on a game plan for both events -- if it even matters.

Adam Fonseca has covered professional golf since 2005. His work can also be found on the Back9Network. Follow Adam on Twitter at @chicagoduffer.

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