Ryder Cup 2008: Azinger Sets Up Valhalla to Help Americans

September 9, 2008 – 3:26 pm by admin

We’ll bet you haven’t been thinking about golf much since Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open on one leg, have you? Well, we are one week away from the beginning of Ryder Cup practice. And we love us some Ryder Cup, so it’s time to start priming everybody up for one of golf’s premier events.

There are a few things you need to know:

The Americans (click here for the roster) will be a heavy underdog. And they probably would have been even if Tiger Woods was healthy enough to participate. The Europeans have won five of the last six Ryder Cups. The U.S. last won at Brookline in 1995.

The European team is stacked. Forget about Phil Mickelson. One could argue he’s not even the best golfer on his own team right now. He’s certainly not better right now than Padraig Harrington (two majors this year) or Sergio Garcia. Throw in a supporting cast that includes Robert Karlsson, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Paul Casey and the Americans are up against it.

Colin Montgomerie is nowhere to be found. We all know Tiger won’t be there. Monty has been the stalwart of the European side for a long time, making eight Ryder Cup appearances and has never lost a singles match. He was left off this year’s squad by captain Nick Faldo, who selected. Paul Casey and Ian Poulter.

OK, that’ll get you started. Another thing you need to know is this year’s event is being held at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville.

Though we’re close in proximity, Rumors and Rants will not be able to attend the event. ‘Tis shame.

Anyway, the news coming out of Louisville leading up to practice next week is that U.S. captain Paul Azinger has been working closely with the course superintendent to set things up in favor of the Americans. Valhalla will be light on rough (so longer hitters aren’t punished like they were at the K Club in Ireland in 2006) and the greens will roll pretty fast.

Ian Woosnam did the same thing at the K Club, setting up long rough and slow greens, and his Europeans trounced the Americans. Hopefully, for the sake of the Stars and Stripes, Azinger’s tweaking will give an advantage, however slight, to the U.S.

Lord knows they need it.

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