I'd love to play in another Ryder Cup so that, for once, I night enjoy the experience. I'll never forget my last one, the 1991 War by the Shore at Kiawah Island, S.C. It was a great event but not a friendly competition. I was mad at everybody on the European team, and that's not right. I was bad-mouthing their guys all week. Things got completely out of hand. I didn't even care for David Feherty, and who doesn't like him? He came up to me near the 18th green while Hale Irwin and Bernhard Langer played the last hole of the last final and said, "It's not supposed to be like this, is it?" Meaning, the Ryder Cup isn't supposed to be so acrimonious. I replied, "I don't think so."
But then, few of my Ryder Cup memories are pleasant. I was on the 1987 team that was beaten 15-13 at Muirfield Village. Andy Bean and I lost one down to Langer and Sandy Lyle on the first day. The following afternoon, less than 15 minutes before Andy and I were supposed to tee off in a four-ball match against Gordon Brand Jr. and Eamonn Darcy, our captain, Jack Nicklaus, benched me. I was crushed. I had been playing really well that week and wanted to get back out there. (On the other hand, 14 months earlier I hadn't even been on the Tour, and here I was, in the Ryder Cup.) I beat Nick Faldo one up in singles on Sunday, but later in the day I had to watch a shirtless Ian Woosnam ride around on Sam Torrance's shoulders as the Europeans celebrated their victory. That was no fun.
Our tie at the Belfry in 1989, which allowed Europe to retain the Cup, wasn't much fun, either. We never should've been tied in that match, but four of our guys—including me—hit it in the water on the last hole on the last day. We did win back the Cup in '91, our first victory since 1983, but to be honest, I didn't feel much like a winner. I was still in shock over my singles match with Colin Montgomerie, which we halved after I lost the last four holes. Even though there were still several matches to go that afternoon, I told my wife, Sheryl, "We're going to lose the Ryder Cup because of me. That half point is going to do us in, you just watch." It almost did. It came down to the last putt, which Langer missed. Payne Stewart hugged me and started hopping up and down. Guys on our team were shouting, "We won! We won!" But I was like, Yeah, whatever. I didn't feel like celebrating.
That said, the Ryder Cup remains a terrific event. Although it's still an intense rivalry, we're more friendly with the European guys these days. I only wish it had been more fun for me when I was playing.