The Ryder Cup is (regretfully) only every other year, so considering the relatively small number of actual Ryder Cups there’s been, you would think the memories would stick out a bit stronger than normal events. For me, the opposite occurs, so I love what I’m able to uncover just in going over the prior year Ryder Cup pages on wikipedia. Admittedly, my knowledge of European golf in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s is limited. Forgive me if you actually remember this stuff. I did not, and I found these random facts interesting:
Chris Riley and Jay Haas were Ryder Cup teammates.
To say that the 2004-2006 stretch was a “trying time” for the U.S. would be like calling a Webb Simpson shank a slightly off line shot. We haven’t seen this much American bloodshed at the hands of the Europeans on this continent since the Battle of Camden. The shocking part of the fact that Chris Riley and Jay Haas were Ryder Cup teammates was the fact they actually went a combined 2-1-2. Haas was a 50 year old captain’s pick, and Riley finished 10th in the standings thanks to Buick Invitational win and a T4 finish in the PGA Championship. The Europeans finished Saturday with 11 points. The U.S. team finished Sunday with 9.5 points. ‘Merica!
Vaughn Taylor, J.J. Henry, Brett Wetterich were Ryder Cup teammates.
Ok, this one I knew. I’ve worn out this wikipedia page whenever I start feeling bad about the 2014 Ryder Cup. The Euros demolished the U.S. team in 2006 (just like in ’04) to the tune of 18.5-9.5. How the U.S. was able to scrape together 9.5 points in 2006 is still a mystery to me.
Brett Wetterich: Won the Byron Nelson and that was enough to qualify him for the ’06 team. He had a strong 2007 season, then made a total of 27 cuts for the remainder of his career, and less than a million dollars.
Vaughn Taylor: Qualified on points despite his best finish being a T3 at the Verizon Heritage. He went on to miss 69 cuts the following eight years out of 186 events, and finished outside of the top 100 in the FedEx Cup standings every year except 2007 and 2010.
J.J. Henry: Won the 2006 Buick Championship. Landed 15 top-10’s in 225 events since.
There was so much suckitude on the ’06 U.S. Ryder Cup team that they somehow managed to throw cold water (pre Ice Bucket Challenge days) on perhaps the hottest golfer in the history of the game. The mere presence of the three mentioned above, combined with Scott Verplank, Stewart Cink, Chad Campbell, and Chris DiMarco* gave Tiger his only loss of the fall, as he entered the event coming off an unprecedented (in the modern game) six event winning streak.
* – A bit unfair to throw DiMarco in there, because up until this point, he was a stud. But it was immediately after ’06 that began his incredibly fast demise.
Add up the U.S. Point totals from both 2004 and 2006 and they still would have lost to both the 2004 and 2006 Euro teams.
Pierre Fulke – Familiar Face
Ladies and gentlemen, the United States of America!
Pierre Fulke and Phillip Price have been on as many winning Ryder Cup teams as Tiger Woods over the last 15 years.
Pierre Fulke! Phillip Price! Heavyweights! They both somehow made the 2002 European Ryder Cup team that beat the U.S. 15.5-12.5 at The Belfry. Within two years, Fulke would fall outside the top 100 of the Order of Merit, and within five years he would retire from the game forever to focus on golf course design. By 2006, Price had fallen outside of the top 400 in the world, and now ranks outside the top 1000.
Ignacio Garrido was on the 1997 European team
Garrido has since played the weekend in three major championships. Three.
Phil Mickelson played on a Ryder Cup team with Curtis Strange, and will play on one with Jordan Spieth
Spieth and Strange are 38 years apart, yet Phil played with Strange on the ’95 team, and will play with Spieth in ’14. Phil went 3-0 as a 25 year old rookie in the ’95 Cup, and was one of only four U.S. players to win his singles match as the U.S. team blew a 9-7 lead on Sunday.
Oliver Wilson and Soren Hansen were on a Ryder Cup team more recently than Tiger has won a major.
Seriously, these two were on the 2008 Euro team.
Wilson and Hansen share a laugh about the fact they played in the Ryder Cup.
They’ve taken almost the exact same dive off the cliff:
Maybe Paul Azinger shouldn’t be bragging as much about that ’08 U.S. victory?
Jack Nicklaus captained the 1983 Ryder Cup team, then won the Masters 2.5 years later.
This was a little different era in captaincy. Jack was essentially Phil’s current age when he captained the team. I can’t picture Phil captaining the team until 2024 at Bethpage (although I bet Phil has already started crunching the numbers).
Paul Way played on the Euro team as a 20 and 22 year old, and never again.
The original Anthony Kim.
Bernard Gallacher played in 8 Ryder Cups, captained 3 Ryder Cup teams, yet never played the U.S. Open or the PGA Championship.
You mad, bro?