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Uneasy Ryder
Rick Reilly
October 07, 2002
In a perfect Ryder Cup, a) Sergio Garc�a would drink decaf, b) the home team wouldn't make the rules and c) Curtis Strange would be given the wrong dates.
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October 07, 2002

Uneasy Ryder

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In a perfect Ryder Cup, a) Sergio Garc�a would drink decaf, b) the home team wouldn't make the rules and c) Curtis Strange would be given the wrong dates.

But last week's Ryder Cup at the Belfry in The Place Charm Forgot—Birmingham, England—was anything but perfect.

Start with Captain Strange, who has given more gifts to Europe than the Marshall Plan. As a player in 1995 he bogeyed the last three holes when a par on any of them would've kept the Cup in the U.S. This time he drew up the dumbest starting lineup since the 1962 Mets, sabotaging an American team that was as heavily favored as a hurricane over a ladybug.

Strange placed his three guns—Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Davis Love (Nos. 1, 2 and 7 in the world)—at the end of his Sunday singles order.

Meanwhile, Europe captain Sam Torrance brained him by loading his six best players at the top. Those six won 4� points, roused the crowd and inspired the six mediocre Euro golfers playing behind them to greatness. Woods and Love played matches that didn't mean anything. They could've been jetting home Sunday morning.

"We couldn't have handpicked a draw better for us today," said Euro Jesper Parnevik. "When we saw the draw, everyone knew we were going to win."

Strange was dumbfounded. "I've never seen somebody front-load like this," he said.

Uh, hello? Curtis? Loading the front is exactly how Ben Crenshaw pulled off the Miracle at Brookline in 1999. Trailing by four points, Crenshaw put his six best players at the top, painted the leader board red early and shocked the world. Where was Strange living then, Iceland?

The 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills could also do without Garc�a, the Little Engine that Wouldn't Stop Jumping Up and Down Annoyingly Until You Wanted to Beat Him Senseless with a Two-Iron. His 10-meter dives into people's arms got old about two years ago. Three-foot par putt? Garc�a acted as if he'd just cured cancer. But when he lost a team match on Saturday night, he was no longer so cute, kicking his bag and his driver over and over.

"He doesn't win with class," Love's caddie, John Burke, fumed, "and he doesn't lose with class."

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