Woods has some ideas on how to fare better in the future
Curing America's Ryder Cup ills won't be easy, Tiger Woods. The team needs an infusion of good young players, he believes, to get off to better starts in the matches, a true home-course advantage and to make timely putts.
September 26, 2006
STRAFFAN, Ireland (AP) -- Tiger Woods believes curing America's Ryder Cup ills requires an infusion of good young players, getting off to better starts in the matches, a true home-course advantage -- and making timely putts.
After he and his teammates joined the triumphant European players in their celebration party the previous evening, Woods dissected the latest lopsided loss by the Americans.
"They have a younger crop of players that are playing well. When our youngest player is 30 years old, that's not a positive thing," the 30-year-old Woods said Monday in a conference call from London. "They have Luke [Donald] and Sergio [Garcia], Paul Casey, all in their 20s. We don't have anybody in their 20s on the team.
"And all three guys I just mentioned have won numerous tournaments around the world; most of our guys in our 20s haven't won tournaments yet."
Former British Open champion Ben Curtis, 29, is the only American player currently under 30 to have won a tournament on the PGA Tour.
"Hopefully we'll have a new crop of guys that will come up from college and start producing, and the guys right now in their 20s will start winning tournaments and get on these teams," Woods said. "Dealing with pressure-packed situations in regular tour events, that's one of the reasons why I think they [the young Europeans] are able to win tournaments around the world as well."
The Europeans kept the Cup with an 18 1/2-9 1/2 victory, identical to their one-sided margin in 2004.
The Americans got off to a bad start, and it didn't get any better. At the end, the Europeans had won 8 1/2 points from the 12 singles matches to become the first team to win all five sessions since that format began in 1979.
"We were in two record Ryder Cups, and unfortunately, we were on the losing side," said Woods, the world's No. 1 player who went 3-2-0 in his matches. "I've always felt that it's important to get off to quick starts in matches.
"We were down one or two in the first six or seven holes and always had to fight to get up. When you see that blue on the board and you're European, it sends a positive feeling through the entire team. Their guys were up in every match, so we were never able to get that feeling."
Then there was the putting.
"We hit about the same, but they holed so many more putts," Woods said. "Time and again we were in position to make momentum-building putts and we didn't. If you can't change momentum, it fuels the other side.
"Those greens weren't really that hard to learn. They actually were very simple. They just outputted us. I had numerous opportunities to make putts and I didn't. Unfortunately, the rest of the team didn't as well."
He noted that when the matches are in Europe, they are generally held on courses the players there play each year, and that when the United States hosts the event, it's often on a course the Americans aren't familiar with.
"We have chosen venues that are fantastic venues, difficult golf courses, but courses we don't play," Woods said.
The 2008 Ryder Cup will be at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky., and although Woods won the PGA Championship title there in 2000, he said the site essentially will be neutral because it will have been eight years "since any of us have seen the golf course."
After Sunday's final matches, the players spent some time together that evening.
"Both teams hung out with each other last night, which is the way the spirit of the Ryder Cup is supposed to be," Woods said. "We were all having a great time and singing and dancing, so I think it was a true celebration of golf.
"Unfortunately, we got beat pretty bad."
Eleven players from the Ryder Cup, including Ireland's Darren Clarke, will join Woods in December's Target World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Woods stages the annual event, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation for youth.
Clarke, whose wife died of breast cancer six weeks ago, inspired his European teammates simply by playing, and he won all three of his matches.
"From what he's had to endure, his family, his immediate family and his kids, we can all sympathize for him," Woods said. "I personally invited him. I just wanted him to understand that he always has a home with us.
"He's always been a wonderful supporter of our event. It's our turn to reach out a helping hand [in] any way possible."
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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