Leftover Ryder Cup thoughts:
- You can second-guess Davis Love all you want about his captain's picks, about who he played and when, and about the order he put out on Sunday, but none of his moves mean a thing if his players don't perform. It's really as simple as that.
- If I was Jose Maria Olazabal, I would have told Francesco Molinari to give Tiger Woods his final putt. It didn't really make a difference to the outcome and with the celebrations already taking place beside the green, it would have been the right thing to do. Whether the score was 14-14 or 14.5 to 13.5 made no difference; a tie is a win for whichever side has the Cup.
- Up until Sunday, the crowds in Chicago were excellent. They cheered their side and rarely booed the opposition. There were some funny chants too, with the fans on the opening hole coming up with some good ones such as, "Cen-tral Time Zone" for the late-arriving Rory McIlroy and "We've Got Majors" when Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley were taking on Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald. However on Sunday when the U.S. started to lose, there were too many ugly catcalls, too many off-side, rude and even horrible comments that tainted things. Ugly Americans, indeed.
- If Justin Leonard's putt was the touchstone for the Americans in the big comeback in 1999, another Justin – this time Rose – will be given credit for the biggest putt of the competition in 2012. The bomb he holed on 17 may have been the moment the Euros took over. Anyone who has seen that green close up knows just how crazy it was for Rose to make it. It was one tough putt. Of course the one on 16 and the one after on 18 weren't bad either.
- There are lots of second-guessers saying Love should have put out Mickelson and Bradley for the second time on Saturday despite the plea from Mickelson to the captain to do no such thing. What many forget is that if he was to put them in, another team would have to come out. Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar only played once before the Saturday afternoon session, Woods and Stricker sat in the morning and that came after Woods made seven birdies on his own ball in a losing cause the previous session. Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner were 2-0 and had already sat once, while Bubba Watson (the team's emotional leader) and Webb Simpson were 1-1 and had sat once. It would be a hard choice to make. If it was me, I might have put Stricker and Mickelson on the bench, and paired Woods with Bradley for the afternoon, sitting Watson and Simpson.
- If the Euros had lost, do you think Olazabal would have been criticized for sitting a red-hot Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald for the same session? And for not ensuring his players knew what time their matches were? Winning changes everything, doesn't it?
- Love may have been the best captain in terms of signifying what the Ryder Cup was all about. The guy downplayed all the military-war-type comments, saying this was just a friendly golf match. He never seemed to get too amped up about anything that was going on and he always had a smile on his face wherever he was, including in the press room after the crushing loss. It would be nice for the PGA of America to give him another turn at the helm, if he wants it of course.
- One of the strangest stats of the week was that the Molinari-Woods match was the only one to be halved. Every other match was decided in full. In two Ryder Cups, Molinari has never earned a full point in a match. He has just two half-points to show for his play.