Total Consciousness — 28 September 2014 by GW staff and news services
Total Consciousness: Ryder Cup

9/28 9 p.m.

Scroll down this thread and you’ll see I predicted last week that the U.S. would pull off the upset of the year and beat the heavily favored Europeans to win the Ryder Cup.  OK, so I missed it by that much.

I figured U.S. captain Tom Watson would rally his guys the same way he lifted his game over the years on Scottish soil. I not only missed on that, too, but never ever saw what ultimately developed — an apparent schism between Watson and his players.  Watson laid blame on his guys and not his strategy, saying they simply needed to perform better.  Once the shellacking was complete, the players — well, Phil Mickelson, namely — dumped it back onto Watson by essentially saying his old-school way of leading the team was the wrong way. Mickelson cited Paul Azinger’s approach four years ago when he included the players in much of the decision-making before the U.S. pulled off a miracle comeback.

How uninspiring was this Ryder Cup from a U.S. standpoint?  It got off to a lousy start Friday when the first shot of the entire competition was a 200-yard popup off the tee by Webb Simpson. And it ended like the “pfft” of the remaining air escaping a nearly deflated balloon.

Look at it this way: The Seattle Mariners were eliminated from contention today long after the Americans were. You know times have changed when that happens.

Kirby Arnold



9/27 8:30 a.m.

Game over with Donaldson’s shot on No. 15!!! Kudos to the Europeans. — Jim Street

9/28 8:10 am

Europe’s Ryder Cup victory goes through Keegan Bradley. And who is Jamie Donaldson? – Bob Sherwin

9/28 8:01 a.m.

Woke up this morning, turned on the TV and expected to see the USA kicking butt in Scotland. Not really. The European team not only was better on paper coming in, it is better on grass. — Jim Street

9/28 7:30 am

Hunter Mahan chokes on the final hole, costly the USA a precious half point. He must have thought he’s Mickelson. It’s a wedge that he’s long remember. Johnny Miller – “It’s was a flop that turned out to be a flop.”  Mahan then missed his putt to half his match with Rose. Europe is a half point away after the American provided a whole point within five minutes. – Bob Sherwin

9/28 7:50 am

Bubba loses, badly. He’s the Manny Ramirez of the Ryder Cup. He just doesn’t get it. He’s disengaged, aloof, disinterested, individualistic. He shouldn’t be on the team again until he gets it. – Bob Sherwin

9/28 7:40 am

Patrick Reed is an emerging star. For his game and his edge. – Bob Sherwin

9/28 6:50 am

Fowler and Bubba will lose. Jordon Spieth, 2 down with three left, needs to win. If not, USA is on a narrow, narrow path for a comeback. – Bob Sherwin

9/28 6:45 am

Shot of the day. Justin Rose, behind a gorse bush and 170 yards away, puts it within three feet on 13. Could take edge over Mahan.. – Bob Sherwin

9/28 6:42 am

Who is Stephen Gallacher? – Bob Sherwin

9/28 6:40 am

Beginning of the end? Mickelson and Bradley both miss short putts – on a day in which the entire American team couldn’t miss. They can’t afford to miss anything. – Bob Sherwin

9/28 625 am

Is Mahan blowing it or is Justin Rose playing like a champion? –  Bob Sherwin

9/28 6:22 am

Patrick Reed has won me over – Bob Sherwin

9/28 6:15 am

Justin Rose – five straight birdies to nearly wipe out a huge deficit, four down to Hunter Mahan. He’s not down one through 10 – Bob Sherwin

9/28 5:53 am

That woman dancing in the Vegas’ Cosmopolitan Hotel commercial is Bridgit Bardot reinvented. What a beauty. Now back to golf, not so beautiful – Bob Sherwin 

9/28 5:50 am

All of a sudden, five matches have turned to all square. Americans need to turn just about all of them back. That’s how desperate they are. – Bob Sherwin

9/28 5:35 am

Been watching for about 45 minutes and have not seen the Americans – or McIIroy – miss one putt – until Fowler finally miss a 20-footer. But that match is done – Bob Sherwin

9/28 5:30 am

Maybe Bubba Watson should have stayed home. He’s not helping his team or his reputation in Gleneagles. He seems disengaged, like he’s here for himself and doesn’t understand the team concept. – Bob Sherwin

9/28 5:20

Love Patrick Reed’s attitude. After sinking a putt on No. 7 to halve – not win – the hole with Henrik Stenson, he puts his finger to his lips to quiet the partisan crowd. The crowd booed. Bold gesture that needs to be backed up. But maybe that pumps him and his team up. – Bob Sherwin

9/28 5 am

Where is the desperate USA team on ‘It’ll Take a Miracle’ final day of the Ryder Cup? Well, they’re starting off well but have such a mountain to climb. It doesn’t help that world No. 1 Rory McIIroy is acting like it. He’s 5 up over Rickie Fowler after just six holes. But other than Fowler, the Americans seemingly are making every putt. Rookie Jordan Spieth is 3 up over Graham McDowell. Hunter Mahan is 4 up over thus far unbeaten Justin Rose. But Europe leads in three matches on the course. It only needs 3 1/2 points. – Bob Sherwin

 9/27 6:45 a.m.

Fowler and Walker combine for a three-putt bogey and fall into an early deficit in the afternoon session. It’s not looking good for the U.S., which trails in two of the four matches and all square in other two. – Jim Street

9/27 6:30 am

Mahan, which I think was the weak link on the USA team coming in, is blowing up in his afternoon match against McIIroy/Garcia. He’s a guy I would sit Sunday. – Bob Sherwin

9/27 6:24 am

USA team captain Tom Watson has to be pleased that the Americans didn’t lose a morning match and, in fact, are now within one point of the Europeans heading into the afternoon matches. Rookie Jimmy Walker has been steady and he and Rickie Fowler halved their match with McIIroy/Poulter. – Bob Sherwin

9/27 6:12 am

From the Captain Obvious desk. The McIIroy/Garcia will not be contained today. I expect them to close out Mahan/Furyk with a handful of hole remaining. – Bob Sherwin

9/27 4:45 a.m.

Big news of the day so far is U.S. Captain Tom Watson to sit Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in this afternoon’s matches, giving them the entire day off. Meanwhile, you gotta love Ian Poulter, whose emotional outbursts following important shots during the Ryder Cup are fun to watch. He had another of those moments on the 16th hole of this morning’s Four-Ball match against the U.S., pumping his right fist several times after his putt found the bottom of the hole, lifting he and his teammate Rory McIlroy into a tie against Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler. Shot of the day: Fowler chunking a routine chip shot on No. 16. – Jim Street

9/26 10:30 a.m.

Just when it looked like the dynamic European team of Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia would lose both of their matches on Day One of the Ryder Cup, they won the final two holes to escape with half a point against the U.S. duo of Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler. Cup captain Tom Watson said it all: “We started off poorly in the morning and came back. We started off poorly in the afternoon and didn’t come back.” When the day ended, Europe led 5-3. Amazing stuff. – Jim Street

9/26 9:05 am

So many times the matches come down to one shot, most a putt. In the case of the Furyk/Kuchar, it was Kuchar’s botched chip on 18 that allowed Donaldson/Westwood to win the match. Europe ties USA at this point. — Bob Sherwin

9/26 8:50 am

Can McIIroy and Garcia, No. 1 and No. 3 in the world, lose twice on the opening day? They’re down two with six to play. – Bob Sherwin

9/26 8:22 am

Something so disingenuous about Colin Montgomerie. — Bob Sherwin

9/26 8:21

Biggest putt of the day? Could be Jamie Donaldson’s 25-foot birdie on 14 to maintain a 2 up edge over Furyk/Kuchar. Europeans are playing tough. – Bob Sherwin

9/26 7:45 am

The Mickelson/Bradley magic is fading in the afternoon. Down 2 after just four holes to Dubuisson/McDowell. – Bob Sherwin

9/26 7:40 am

Lee Westwood, who had one of his worse seasons on the Tour this summer, is an afternoon star for the Europeans. He just rolled in a 18-footer on No. 11 to help him and his partner Jamie Donaldson for 2-up lead over Furyk/Kuchar. The Europeans are looking good as the afternoon matches reach the turns. They are up two matches at 2 up, one at 1 up and one all square. USA needs to cut into the leads to salvage a decent start. – Bob Sherwin

9/26 6:47 am

When the Man Cave TV came to life for the first time early this morning, the stocking caps worn by several of the Ryder Cup participants provided an instant hint as to the weather conditions being faced during the first day of the three-day event in Scotland. It looks like Phil Mickelson is wearing three layers of red, white and blue during his afternoon (over there) Foursome Alternate Shot match. As of this moment, the U.S. leads 2 1/2 to 1 1/2, but none of the American teams are winning the afternoon matches. First impression: The Scottish golf fans are out in force, along the fairways and stands. – Jim Street

9/26 5:45 am

World No. 1 Rory McIIroy messes up No. 18 with a bogey and the U.S., behind Mickelson and Bradley, win the match. Huge psychological boost. Bradley’s eagle on 16 was the key. You just know from the start of play that the Ryder Cup is so much different from a regular tournament or a major. It’s all about team, pulling together, momentum and carrying your country on your back. That’s what makes this special and worth getting up at 5 am to watch. – Bob Sherwin


So U.S. Captain Tom Watson raises eyebrows and ruffles a few bums with his Friday morning four-ball pairings, sending out three Ryder  Cup rookies. Some say Tom is trying to lose this competition on the first day. I say it’s brilliant.

The Cup isn’t going to be won or lost on the first morning, so why not send those kids — Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Walker — out from the get-go and let them get over whatever may overwhelm them? I’m not so sure any of them will be overwhelmed because they’ve all shown to have nerves of steel on Tour. And even if they do find their eyes wide and their jaws dragging, anything they experience on the first day will do nothing but help them when the matches become so much more important on Saturday and Sunday.

And finally, are we really going to doubt Tom Watson? In Scotland, no less?  For all Watson has accomplished in his lifetime over there, this could be his greatest triumph.  His U.S. squad is the underdog, but I just think the Americans can pull it off. – Kirby Arnold


In the Ryder Cup’s 87-year history, the U.S. has been the underdogs only a handful of times, but never as big of ‘dogs as this year to the Europeans. Let’s face it, on paper the Americans have virtually zero chance to wrestle the ‘Cup away from their talented opponents. Heck, the Europeans have four of the top five-ranked players in the world. Almost half (five) of the U.S. team is composed of players with lower world-rankings in 2014 than they did  in 2013. That certainly is not a good omen, but this group of can’t-win players might just pull off the biggest surprise in Ryder Cup history. It will be interesting to see just how the Europeans handle all of the pressure that is being placed on their collective shoulders. Can you say, ‘Gulp!’ – Jim Street


Quite a bold move for U.S. Captain Tom Watson to put three rookies out on the course in the first four morning matches to start off the competition. Jimmy Walker, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed are mixed in with the other RC veterans. Not sure what to expect, and neither are they. I suspect that Walker will be fine, will do well. I think he will handle the pressure. I think Reed is a temperamental guy and may not adjust well to the environment right from the start. Spieth is just so young. Could be overwhelmed. There’s also the school of thought that maybe it’s good to get them out there and not have them thinking and waiting too long. For me, I think maybe throw one in at the start, Walker, and mix in the other two when appropriate. But Watson sees these guys every day and has a good idea how well everyone is playing. – Bob Sherwin


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