PGA of America

1985 European Ryder Cup team

Building a World Class Team: 1985

Team USA Ryder Cup Update, July 21, 2014:

Mike Benzie,

The third major of the year created some key movement in the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup points as the team begins to take a more definite shape.

Rickie Fowler's tie for second in the Open Championship earned him more than 1,500 points as he vaulted to the No. 3 spot behind Bubba Watson and Jimmy Walker.

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Jim Furyk also moved up two spots with nearly 1,000 points. Both eclipsed PGA President Ted Bishop's "magic number" of 4,637, a number he estimates as a lock for the Ryder Cup Team automatic qualification. There are nine automatic spots going to the top points leaders.

U.S. Captain Tom Watson will fill out the team with three Captain's Picks.

Meanwhile, questions remain on whether Tiger Woods can make the team - either automatically or by a Captain's Pick. He earned just 46 points after making the cut this weekend and moved two spots to No. 70. Despite his struggles after his return from back surgery, Woods is confident about his play and said Sunday he'd pick himself for the team. Captain Watson has said all along if Woods is healthy and playing well, he'd make the team.

Phil Mickelson moved one spot with about 150 points and now sits at No. 11 ahead of Brendon Todd.

Here's a look at the current top 12 (remember, the top nine after the PGA Championship in August automatically qualify, while U.S. Captain Tom Watson will fill out the team with three captain's picks):

1. Bubba Watson
2. Jimmy Walker
3. Rickie Fowler
Jim Furyk
5. Dustin Johnson
6. Jordan Spieth
7. Matt Kuchar
8. Jason Dufner
9. Zach Johnson

10. Patrick Reed
11. Phil Mickelson
12. Brendon Todd

With Woods and Mickelson on the outside looking in, these 2014 Captain's Picks will be interesting and much discussed. Like 1985 European Captain Tony Jacklin, Watson will have to use his picks wisely and built a team capable of handling a partisan crowd, as Jacklin's counterpart Lee Trevino was faced with as they crafted their world-class teams.

Watson will also hope for a more positive result.

1985 - The Empire Strikes Back

Bob Denney, PGA of America

Coming within a point of victory on U.S. soil two years earlier, the cards were tipping into Europe’s favor as it prepared to host the first of what would be four visits by the Ryder Cup to The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England.

Captain Tony Jacklin, who guided Europe in 1983 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, persuaded the European PGA to change its selection procedure, allowing himself three wild card selections: Nick Faldo, Ken Brown and Jose Rivero.

Building a World Class Team

Jacklin also set up The Belfry’s Brabazon Course to his specifications, including requiring that the greenskeeper not trim the greens too close. According to Sports Illustrated’s Barry McDermott, “The Belfry’s Brabazon Course, with its manicured smooth fairways and man-made lakes, could have been lifted from a San Diego suburb, so American did it seem.”

Europe kept things close the opening day, trailing 4½ to 3½, before Jacklin’s pairings began to click on Day.

Europe won five of the day’s matches and halved another, for a 9-7 lead heading into the Sunday singles. It was the first time since 1949 that the USA did not have the lead heading into the singles.

U.S. Captain Lee Trevino did the expected and packed the top of the singles draw with Lanny Wadkins, Craig Stadler and Raymond Floyd – a trio he anticipated would grab points to get the Americans momentum. The plan fizzled as eight members of the U.S. Team carded a bogey before they could muster a birdie.

Manuel Pinero downed Wadkins, 3 and 1, handing the American his fourth defeat in 17 matches. Said Trevino, “That loss put us behind the eight ball.”

Stadler pulled out a 2 and 1 win over Ian Woosnam, but any momentum ended when Paul Way upset Floyd, 2-up. Floyd had a nightmarish 41 on the front side and never recovered. Way also struggled, but his 76 was enough to dispatch Floyd.

European star Seve Ballesteros was three holes down to Tom Kite with five to play, but pulled out a halve. “He hit shots I never even dream about,” said Kite following the match. From there, Sandy Lyle, Bernhard Langer, Sam Torrance and Howard Clark each won their singles matches to claim the Ryder Cup.

Trevino had prepared his team for the partisan European crowd, but it was a difficult task to overcome when his team could not execute where it counted most – on the green.

Trevino shared his declaration to his team:  “You are going to have a tough match. Also remember one thing: when you make a bogey, the crowd will scream like you’ve made eagle. These are things you have to deal with. The only way you can quiet a crowd down is with birdies,’ said Trevino. And what happened was that my team just didn’t make enough birdies. They were outplayed this week.”

Torrance got the honor of securing the vital points, despite a 76. He hit a 9-iron approach to within 20 feet of the 18th hole while his opponent, Andy North, deposited his tee shot into the water hazard.

Torrance hit his 9-iron approach and then marched to the green with tears in his eyes. After North failed to make his bogey putt, Torrance stepped up and drilled his birdie putt home. He held his arms aloft, putter pointed skyward. Torrance had done what no other European golfer has done for more than a quarter of a century- he had won the Ryder Cup.

With Jose Maria Canizares’ 2-up win over Fuzzy Zoeller, Europe claimed the singles session, 7½ to 4½, and a 16 ½ to 11½ final triumph. It was the most overall points for any European (or previous Great Britain & Ireland) Team since the Ryder Cup began.

“It’s history, isn’t it? I’m so proud of this team,” said Jacklin. “And the way Torrance played the 18th hole. You just dream of winning the Ryder Cup that way. I’ve been fortunate to have won the U.S. and British Open Championships, and this goes right alongside those as my greatest moments in golf. I didn’t play this week, but I certainly felt I was a part of it.”