It Is All How You Figure

With the deluge of Golf Channel pre-game coverage for the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah this weekend our heads are bursting from pundit past analysis versus future predictions…..Brandel Chamblee alone has compiled an encyclopedia of data to justify any outcome you could possibly imagine.

Bottom line is that based on history alone the European Team has the advantage no matter what soil the matches are played on.  It is going to take some very stellar team play, something the Americans have not proven to have an high aptitude for, by both veterans and rookies to bring this trophy by the American soil.

The secret weapon may be the putting of rookies like Sneds, Keegan, Webb, and Dufner.  Making putts wins Ryder Cups.

Here is the skinny on the basic stats in the last 13 Ryder Cup Competitions between 1985 and 2010.

…………………….United States     Europe…………………………..

Wins                              4                     8

Ties                                1                    1

Matches Won              142               175

Points Won                  171               193

Foursomes Points       48.5              55.5

Four Ball Points           41.5              62.5

Singles Points              81                  75

Besides the obvious that Europe in the Seve and After Era has dominated the results with a 66% winning percentage they have also won this thing three times on foreign soil.  They can handle the partisan crowds.  The Europeans have also won 56% of the matches outright which goes a long way to explaining the 22 points spread overall in the 13 appearances.

Maybe the most startling and unexpected difference is that the Euros have outscored the Americans by 21 points in Four Ball matches.  It is not obvious why the Europeans would have an advantage in Best Ball matches, the likes of which they have played their entire competitive lives back to the cradle.  Frank Nobilo’s theory is that the Americans do not communicate well with their partners and are not willing to defer their tactics to protect their partners in these matches.

The American’s 7 point edge in the Alternate Shot Foursomes is pretty hard to figure as well.  I guess there is no deference required there, you just have to hit it where your partner put it.

The slight edge of 6 points in Singles makes sense because this is the least team oriented format and, if as so many of these pundits have posited, the Americans are more lone wolves than team players they would fare best in the format where they rely solely themselves only.

Brandel had one very interesting stat he shared the other night.  According to him during this same period the team that won the first match in the first session won the Ryder Cup over 60% of the time.  He said no other first match in any session had such a distinct correlation to overall outcome.  I guess if I am Olazabal I am putting Rory and Graeme out in the first foursomes match on Friday morning.  Not sure who the best duo for DL III would be under this theory.

One last thought.  If the Americans fail once again to take back this piece of hardware home I think they should suggest changing the Ryder Cup format to a Golf-Ping Pong Biathlon.  According to this article, Matt Kuchar could be the Roger Federer of table tennis and Mickelson and Tiger are plus fours and would be a formidable combination in the Ping Pong Foursomes.

September, 2012

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