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Golf Australia Express : Issue 11
By Damian Shutie Editor-in-Chief VIEW THE TEAMEVENTS. Players love being a part of them. Fans love watching them. And whenever they’re on people wonder why there’s not more in golf. In the men’s team events, it seems the US has an advantage over competitors whenever it tees it up. While the Europeans get a chance to experience playing as a team at the Ryder Cup every two years—and the Internationals the same in Presidents Cup years— the US can strengthen its team experience annually by playing both those big-ticket events. It allows members of the US to practise pars and stripes, all the while getting used to each others’ games, strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately creating a formidable unit. Their opponents? No so much. To see the advantages of consistent pairings, we need look no further than the combination of Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods. The American duo was paired for all seven matches during the 2010 Ryder and 2009 Presidents cups. They won six of them. And make no mistake, Stricker and Woods will be paired again when they head to Royal Melbourne in November. (Stricker will no doubt thank Freddie Couples for generously handing Tiger a captain’s pick despite his worst year on Tour.) And of course Woods and Stricker should be paired. Their record speaks for itself and Freddie would be daft not to line them up side by side. The past dominance of the US in world golf has no doubt led to the current situation. But the tide is changing. And Americans might ask is it still fair that Europe can draw its players from across a whole continent, while any other good ones are allowed to line up for the Internationals? The more poignant question would be, can Europe and the Internationals find a way to keep up with the US team schedule and subsequent experience? Well, Europe’s having a crack at it. Has been for a decade now. A tournament played between Great Britain and Ireland and Continental Europe in non-Ryder Cup years is finally getting noticed, and its continued success can only help Team Europe’s tactics, pairings and passion at the Ryder Cup—just as Seve would have intended. The seventh Vivendi Seve Trophy—to be played in France this week—will feature half the 2010 Ryder Cup winning team. With the Presidents Cup ledger firmly slanted in favour of the Yanks—six wins to one—perhaps it’s time we, too, had our own team event. The Norman Player Cup held on Ryder Cup years between Australasia and Asia versus South America and Africa would certainly spice things up. And that can only be a good thing for world golf. EMAIL YOUR THOUGHTS TO: email@example.com TEAMING UP Do US pairings have an advantage over rivals?