When a team loses the Ryder Cup, the blame falls on the shoulders of the captain. That's the way it is, fair or not. And U.S. captain Corey Pavin is in the gunsight right now. Let's take a look at some of the areas in which Pavin will face criticism:
The raingear. Pavin's selection of faulty rain gear put him on the defensive from the word go, and had him answering questions and focusing on off-course issues at a time when his attention needed to be inside the ropes.
The selections. The captain's picks, particularly Rickie Fowler, drew heat, which cranked up once Fowler made a rookie mistake in dropping the wrong ball. But as Fowler showed on Monday, he can come through in the clutch. Similarly, Stewart Cink, Zach Johnson and Tiger Woods all validated Pavin's selection of them. Each had his problems, either early or late, but each produced as well.
The lineup. Session 1 and 2 played out exactly like Pavin would have liked it, but the team completely fell apart in Session 3. Again, it's tough to blame Pavin for, say, the Woods-Stricker meltdown, the failures by Matt Kuchar or (at least until Monday) Dustin Johnson, the misfires by Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson. And while you could quibble with the selection of Hunter Mahan as an anchor, he's played well enough in the past to earn the spot. And he almost made it pay off.
The motivation. Here's where Pavin will take the most heat. He's not the screaming, in-your-face, rah-rah kind of captain; he tends to assume the players know what they need to do. And yes, they probably should know what they need to do, but would it hurt to give an inspiring pregame speech now and then? Pavin's not that style of guy, and his more restrained style could be a key black mark against him.
Still, history will likely be kind to Pavin, primarily because of Monday. Basically, were it not for the last-minute charge by Fowler and the other Americans, all the blame would be ladled atop Pavin. But Pavin wasn't out there putting for Cink against McIlroy, Pavin wasn't out there keeping Mahan from notching oh-so-critical birdies in his singles battle against Graeme McDowell. Pavin ran out a hell of a lineup, and they failed to deliver consistently in the clutch.
But still, Pavin will get -- indeed, already is getting -- truckloads of grief. Does he deserve it? Did Pavin lose this for the United States? Have your say below ... but be sure to tell the world what you would have done differently.