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US lacked teamwork
Steve Keating | September 20, 2004 17:38 IST
A lack of chemistry and charisma doomed the US to Ryder Cup failure, captain Hal Sutton said after his team absorbed the worst American beating in the event's 77-year history.
With more top-10 players and more major winners, the US were expected to reclaim the trophy they surrendered to the Europeans at the Belfry two years ago.
But like many of their putts, the Americans came up woefully short, humbled 18 1/2 to 9 1/2 on Sunday by a tightly knit group of Europeans who gave the US a lesson in teamwork and camaraderie as well as golf.
The team concept never seemed to click with the Americans, who went about their business at the Oakland Hills Country Club as if it were a regular stop on the PGA tour while their European opponents worked in seamless cohesion to lift the Cup for the fourth time in five attempts.
In a high-risk move to capture the early momentum, Sutton laid his two trump cards on the table sending his "dream team" of Tiger Woods with Phil Mickelson out first on Friday to lead the charge.
Woods and Mickelson mixed as well as oil and water leaving the galleries cold as they slumped to an opening defeat.
"I made mistakes, I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made," Sutton said on Sunday. "I thought there was no bad way to pair the guys we had.
"Obviously the pairings we sent out didn't create any charisma. So I'm going to live with it, I'm going to move on.
"I'm going to hug my kid tomorrow and everything will be great."
For almost the entire three days of the biennial event, the Americans failed to create any chemistry or connect with the home crowd, who were eager at every opportunity to provide a lift.
At moments, the 12 Americans were able to spark a reaction from the huge galleries but let it slip away just as quickly.
"We just never got the charisma going that we needed," said Sutton, a tough talking southerner who oozes plain-speaking charm. "We caught glimpses of it yesterday morning.
"We started out spectacular the first two hours of today.
"People were wondering, were the Americans going to do it again. And then all of a sudden we lost it."
Stepping down as US captain, Sutton will hand over the Ryder Cup reins to someone else for 2006 at the K Club near Dublin and had no answers either for what went wrong or advice to his successor.
Sutton bristled at suggestions that the US had less team spirit than the Europeans but suggested that perhaps Americans patterned their games around the one shot that makes the money and feeds their kids.
"I'm not buying into that," Sutton said.
"I don't think any team could be more together than our team was. But one thing you have to learn when you play golf, you have to learn how to lose as well as win.
"Some of us have to get a little more used to that than others.
"You know, we're bleeding but we're not dead," he added.
"We'll get back up, we'll fight again."