Friday, September 19, 2008

Ryding High at the Cup

Day One of the 2008 Ryder Cup is in the books, and I must admit how surprised I am about the United States' 5.5 to 2.5 lead. A while ago, I spoke with Paul Azinger immediately after he was selected as team captain, and I asked him if he had any new strategies to motivate the troops.

"These guys don't need a bunch of rah, rah, rah," he told me. "If they aren't excited about winning, there's nothing I can say that will change that. Trust me, they all want to win as badly as the Europeans. I'm just going to stay out of their way and encourage an atmosphere of fun. Oh yeah, and making a few putts is going to help."

So far, mission accomplished. The Americans are high-fiving like crazy, doing dances on the greens, revving up the crowd, staying loose and enjoying the moment...and they are definitely making some putts. Keep it up, boys!

On another note, last week I returned from caddying for my friend Lee Palms at the USGA Mid-Amateur in Milwaukee. Lee played fantastic, but unfortunately our stay in the Badger State was shorter than anticipated. He had a rough three-hole stretch that absolutely demolished his score. Lee hit a couple of poor shots (as everyone does), but also got some horrendous bounces, and the next thing we knew, he had missed the match play cut by one stroke. He was obviously disappointed, but true to his new mindset, he was able to dismiss his bad breaks and focus on the positive: He had played 33 holes at just 2-over par. Lee said he learned a lot from the week, and he's fired up to return to this championship next year at Kiawah. Next on his "to do" list...Win the South Carolina Mid-Am next month.

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