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Where to place blame?

October 1, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

There has been and will be a lot of second guessing, Monday morning quarterbacking, if you will, on why the Europeans staged their historic comeback Sunday at Medinah country Club to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against the Americans in the bi-annual Ryder Cup gathering.

There is nothing to second guess here because it's rather clear - the winners played far better golf than the losers.

It's that simple.

Sometimes you just get beat.

No blame here.

The Europeans scored 10 of the final 14 points to win.

Ian Poulter birdied the last five holes on Saturday to garner a 1-up win with teammate Rory McIlroy over Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson.

That was preceeded by a a 1-up win by Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.

Those wins were followed by an 8-3 victory in the Sunday's single matches, blitzing the Americans, like they had the Europeans through the first 14 matches, garnering a 10-4 cushion.

The Europeans won the first five matches on Sunday, two of them not even close, as captain Jose Maria Olazabal, seemingly finding the spirit of Seve Ballesteros along the way, watched his troops continue to make putts, and, eventually, saw Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Garcia win the 17th and 18th holes to win.

That kind of play, folks, has nothing to do with why American captain Davis Love III put Tiger last and Steve Stricker in the penultimate group.

Those two, by the way, combined to win half a point.

I believe 12 matches went to the 18th hole during the three-day contest and the Americans one once.

Once.

Matt Kuchar was 1-over in a 3&2 loss to Lee Westwood.

Tiger was 1-over as he halved with Francesco Molinari.

Stricker was 1-over in his 1-down loss to Martin Kaymer, the clinching win for the visitors.

"It's been a tough week," Olazabal said. "The first two days, nothing went our way and we struggled on the greens. This morning, I felt a little change in that regard. We started to make a few putts and the Americans started to miss them."

I believe the turning match was Rose beating Mickelson 1-up and Lefty could do nothing about it.

Rose holed a putt from 12-feet to halve 16, dunked a 35-footer on 17 for birdie to tie the match and his 12-footer on 18 beat Mickelson.

On the other hand, Jim Furyk, who didn't close the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club or the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, missed putts of shorter length on 16, 17 and 18 to lose to Garcia.

Six of Sunday's 12 matches went to 18 and the U.S. won once.

Once.

Europe has won seven of the last nine Ryder Cups.

If I were a soccer coach, I would do everything in my power to always have my team on the sideline opposite the stands where the parents are sitting.

While the coach is talking to your child about going left, you are screaming at the top of your lungs for your child to go right.

While you are yelling at the goalie to stay back, the coach has asked them repeatedly to come out on certain situations.

Which voice does the athlete listen to?

If the parent gets the ear, the athlete gets in trouble from the coach for not following directions.

If the coach gets the ear, the athlete gets in trouble at home for not following directions.

Anybody else see a problem there?

A friend of mine heard a soccer referee tell a player after a match, "You are lucky I didn't give you a red."

That should never be said. If it's a red, give the player a red.

I saw a local pastor recently and it reminded me of a story he told me about three years ago.

Here it is.

He told me of a story years ago when, around the age of 23, he was asked to coach a junior high boys basketball team not in the area. He had more kids than uniforms so a rotation schedule was set up when kids would be in uniform.

The pastor told me the best kid on the team also had one of the worst attitudes on the team and just would not hustle.

The young man did not play the first game and, subsequently, quit the team.

Not long after, the pastor received a phone call from the young man's father. He said his son was sorry for his attitude, would accept the punishment to be dished out and was wondering if he could be back on the team.

No, dad did not rip the coach for not allowing his kid to dress.

The pastor said yes and then told me the young man was always first in every suicide or line drill from then on.

Years later the young man was featured in a newspaper article in the business section for being a leader in his field.

Wonder if that would have happened without a little attitude adjustment?

I have said it before and will again - until the day she died, my mom was never so mad at me than that night.

She sat in the stands watching her 17-year-old be a complete idiot, showing the nearest basketball official that he was No. 1.

Two men, sitting behind my mother, not knowing who she was, simply said something about how I was raised.

Mom let me have it when I got home - and then some.

When we had a meeting with the principal and the basketball coach to determine my future in the basketball program (I had already turned in my uniform so I knew my destiny), my mom was never my lawyer in that meeting.

She never defended what I did or plead my case (as if there was one).

She was not there to get me out of trouble.

She was there to make sure I accepted my punishment and learned my lesson.

At 17, I obviously did not fully comprehend the consequences of my actions.

Now, I do, and I appreciate what my mom did for me.

One year earlier, as a junior, I chose to not play football.

My mother asked me over and over again if that is really what I wanted to do. It was.

My mistake, and I still regret not playing to this day.

Since approximately 97 percent of high school graduates do not play collegiate athletics, a kid has 12 chances to be an athlete in high school - three sports for four years.

I don't understand, under normal circumstance, not playing.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at mmathison@heraldstaronline.com)

 
 

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