In some other sports when two rivals meet, commentators often say that you must throw out the records. What they mean is the rivalry is so intense that, in say football for instance, if one team is 10-1 and the other team is 1-10 the passion and intensity of the rivalry is such that the team that is 1-10 could beat the team that is 10-1.
By now you're probably asking yourself what in the world this has to do with the Ryder Cup matches. Well, the Ryder Cup is an intense rivalry between Europe and the United States. Since the British and Irish side was expanded in 1979 to include players from the continent, the Europeans hold a slight edge, 8-7-1, over the United States in subsequent Ryder Cup matches. As of late, the Europeans hold a substantial edge over the Americans in the competition winning six of the last eight competitions.
In examining the Ryder Cup matches, can one really throw out the records? If you are pulling for the American side then the likely answer would be, I hope so. If you look at the individual records of the European and the American players you will see a startling discrepancy. Of those players that have competed in at least one Ryder Cup, no one on the American side has a winning record. Not Tiger Woods, not Phil Mickelson, not Jim Furyk, no one. I don't know about you but that surprised me. The next logical step is to look in depth at the European team and begin to examine their record in Ryder Cup matches.
I know the Europeans have dominated the Ryder Cup of late. Consequently, individual players should have better records than their American counterparts. However, players come and go on Ryder Cup teams so it is surprising to find how many members of the 2012 European team have outstanding Ryder Cup records. Let's just take the men from England as an example. Collectively, the four Englishmen, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter have a combined record in Ryder Cup matches of 35-17-7. That record is quite impressive and is something that the American side cannot match. The winning records are not confined only to the English. Sergio Garcia and Graeme McDowell, just to name two, also have admirable Ryder Cup records. In view of this, perhaps the records do mean something and should not be thrown out. Of course, there's also the notion that on any given Sunday, or any given Friday or Saturday, anything could happen. That is what the Americans should remember as the arrive at Medinah.
Dwight is an avid golfer. While still relatively new to the game, he plays as often as the weather and his schedule will allow.
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