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Nice guys finish last … again
I recognize the Ryder Cup for what it is: a contrived competition in which the Americans have bent over backwards over the years to make the event more equitable. The effort was magnanimous at the time, but the Americans are now suffering the unintended consequences of losing often.

The U.S. has allowed more and more countries to be included for Europe. The Americans dominated for decades against Great Britain and Ireland. In 1979, the format was changed to allow a European team. (The Presidents Cup is going through similar format changes after repeated American dominance.) Since 1979, Europe has held an advantage.

Is it really a surprise that if the U.S. allows more countries to gang up on it that the Americans might not win all of the time anymore? It’s not a lack of leadership, need for a pod system, better pairings, task force or more player input – the same suggestions each time the U.S. loses the Ryder Cup. If winning truly is the priority, get closer to the original design of the Ryder Cup.

Limit participation on the European team to strictly Europeans. For example: the European must not have attended an American college (Jon Rahm); the European must have a primary residence in Europe and not in the U.S. (Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia); the European must have a primary base of operations on the European Tour, not the PGA Tour (most of the European team).

Essentially, we have a lot of Americans posing as Europeans and competing against Americans. It’s a contrived competition which people still take seriously, for some reason, not really realizing how manipulated it is.

If the Americans are serious about winning, then stop allowing themselves to be taken advantage of by acquiescing to a bunch of factors which have enabled the Europeans to win more often. It’s well documented that the Europeans tend to take this event more personally, but the very generous rules allow them to field a formidable team.

I am quick to tip my hat to other countries. There are many countries in the world who are better at soccer than the U.S. But those are their own players, representing their own countries, and still living in those countries, beating the U.S. head-to-head, and fair and square. Well done by them. That’s not what is happening in the Ryder Cup. Take it seriously or else continue to treat it as the meaningless exhibition that it is – in Jack Nicklaus’ words “…a friendly competition for international goodwill.”

Either way is fine by me, but make a choice, America, as to which way you want to go.

Jon Lucas
Little Rock, Ark.

Schedule an off week before Ryder Cup
It looked as if the Americans were tired and had trouble focusing in the Ryder Cup. Most of them had just come off the PGA Tour playoffs and Tour Championship, then boarded a plane that Sunday night and flew to France.

There should be a week off to rest the players. Poor Tiger Woods. He was on fumes because he had played so much, especially coming back from a long injury layoff, and the victory in the Tour Championship had to take something out of him.

Bill Gladden
Richburg, S.C.

3 reasons why U.S. lost Ryder Cup
Three reasons stand out for me as to why the Americans were soundly thumped in the Ryder Cup.

Player personalities: Successful European teams are populated with players such as Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Jon Rahm who demonstrate competitive fire, emotion and charisma. Golf is as much about controlling emotions as letting them free, but the Ryder Cup format favors an emotional player. The existence of a partner, captain, assistants, etc., to help prevent meltdowns also helps. I do not question the competitive drive of the U.S. team, but few players – with the exception of Patrick Reed – are as demonstrative as the Europeans.

Course setup: The Americans consistently were hitting from out of trouble. Statistically, the composition of the U.S. team – especially in terms of driver accuracy – was not aligned with the setup at Le Golf National.

Fatigue and preparation: Tiger Woods looked done-in after an emotionally and physically draining comeback season. The majority of the Europeans benefitted from not playing in the Tour Championship a week earlier in the U.S. and had consistently played Le Golf National many more times than their American counterparts.

The U.S. should reduce the number of automatic qualifiers and increase the number of captain’s discretionary picks. Now, if only someone had the courage to tell Phil Mickelson to be quiet, and more importantly, that he is not on the team.

I also hope that someone, such as Jack Nicklaus, reminds the players and selectors that it is a privilege to play in the Ryder Cup (and other events, such as the Olympics). The American selection process appears to be overly respectful of the time and feelings of today’s multimillionaire PGA Tour players.

Michael Kukelko
Oak Bluff, Manitoba

Why attack Woods? He didn’t lose on his own
Is there a particular reason why John Hawkins – like some of his contemporaries such as Johnny Miller and Brandel Chamblee, who are Tiger Woods haters – decided to attack Woods in his article? (“Ryder Cup tames toothless Tiger again,” Oct. 2). Woods was not the only reason the U.S. lost to the Europeans in the Ryder Cup. That’s a point on which you only slightly touched.

You are doing the world no service by trying to tear down the best golfer in our lifetime – including the days of Snead, Nicklaus, Palmer, Hogan, Watson and Sarazen. Phil Mickelson and today's young guard of Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and others will never come close to what Woods has accomplished.

So no matter what you publish about Woods, history already has been written. Your attempt to rewrite it has failed.

Malcolm Little

Nicklaus can’t be too happy about loss, either
Gary Van Sickle was right on (“U.S. should have seen this one coming,” Oct. 4).

My main criticism of U.S. captain Jim Furyk is that he did not recognize who was playing well. Certainly, Tony Finau and Webb Simpson should have played in four matches. But I agree that it’s the players and not the captain who determined this outcome.

The U.S. team came off looking like selfish, classless little children, and to this I can say that I am ashamed.

What would Jack Nicklaus think of this behavior?

Gary Cohen
Great Neck, N.Y.

Rough lesson for Americans
The Ryder Cup discussion is way too complicated. It’s not about chemistry or wanting to win. It’s course setup.

When we had the event at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., in 2008, U.S. captain Paul Azinger said, “No rough at 300 yards” (thus what we call the Azinger Cut, which survives today).

Interestingly, there was one (and only one) spot where he left the rough long – down the hill on No. 12 – because he said, “I don’t want Phil Mickelson even thinking about trying to hit it down the hill. And there was the “redneck pod” (Kenny Perry, J.B. Holmes, Jim Furyk and Boo Weekley), which scored a bundle of points.

Little rough – U.S. has a good chance. Long rough – forget it.

There was one local (to us) player who was able to adjust at Le Golf National: Justin Thomas. Good for him.

Larry Woods
Louisville, Ky.

Schaudenfreude defeats U.S. fans, 10 and 8
It is about time that we – the media, politicians, show-business folks, business leaders and everyone who complains about supposed villains – stop acting like asses. Every last one of is obsessed with placing the blame on every action we dislike. We revel in others’ pain or public shaming. We love when he or she "gets theirs.” We have become a nasty society, and we are too self-absorbed even to see it.

The Ryder Cup runneth over with venomous volumes of blame against someone else. The famous quote about a caddie’s duties should be rewritten for all of us: Stand up, own up and shut up.

If each of us would be involved, take responsibility and move on, the results going forward would begin to take care of themselves.

None of our Ryder Cup participants went to Paris and tried to hit bad shots or lose his matches. If you think so, or that by placing blame on someone or something, then you are delusional.

The Ryder Cup is over. Europe played very well and won. Congratulations. The next Ryder Cup is in 2020 at Whistling Straits.

Dave Sanguinetti
Livermore, Calif.

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