O Captain! Ryder Cup Captains Can Make A Difference

GLENEAGLES, Scotland — Much is made of the role of the Ryder Cup captains, but how important a part do they really play?
Many will argue that when you have 12 of the best golfers in the world under your command then surely all you have to do is put their names in a hat, pull them out in pairs and tell them to go out and wipe the floor with the opposition.
If only it were that easy.
While a captain may not ever actually win you a match, he can certainly lose it for you. Hal Sutton most immediately springs to mind. At Oakland Hills in 2005, he was a man with a plan. That plan was to pair Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, then the world’s top two golfers, together in the four-balls and foursomes, put four points in the bank and let everything else take care of itself.
That was the plan. It didn’t work. In fact, it failed spectacularly. Sutton failed to take chemistry into account. Sure, they were both great golfers, but they didn’t get along very well (to put it mildly) so they didn’t communicate and forgot that they were supposed to be part of a team. 
For the Europeans, Nick Faldo and David Gilford were another disastrous pairing. Faldo was interested only in his own game and Gilford was a shy, retiring guy who made the team almost by accident. Faldo exchanged barely a word with him and, unsurprisingly, they lost heavily. But they should never had been paired together. 
On Friday, Tom Watson sent out Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in the afternoon foursomes, even though both players had hardly hit a fairway between them in the morning four-ball.
There were plenty of raised eyebrows because Watson also made rookies Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed sit out the foursomes after winning 5 and 4 in the morning.
Mickelson and Bradley lost. Only time will tell whether that point proves to be crucial, but Watson later admitted that he had made a mistake. And his decision will have done nothing for the confidence of Reed and Spieth.
So yes, good or bad, a captain can make a difference at the Ryder Cup —  a big difference.

Related Link: Complete Back9Network Ryder Cup Coverage

More Ryder Cup Links: 
Best Moments From Day 1 At The Ryder Cup
2014 Ryder Cup: Day 1 Studs & Duds
Butt Slaps & Man Hugs: Ryder Cup Day 1 on Social Media
– Lost In Translation: How To Decipher What The Scottish Are Saying
– Remembering the ‘Draw in the Dunes’ at the 1969 Ryder Cup
– Spectators Paying The Price For Attending Ryder Cup
– Rory McIlroy Playing New Nike Vapor Driver at Ryder Cup
– Ryder Cup Notebook: Gleneagles Filled To The Brim
– Michael Jordan Is Back At The Ryder Cup
– Ryder Cup Atmosphere At Gleneagles Is Deafening
– Ryder Cup Odds: Underdog Americans Worth A Wager
– These Guys Are Good: Just 1 European Has Losing Ryder Cup Record
– Let Me Take A Selfie: Ryder Cup Stars Join In On Craze
– Slice of Bacon: The Ryder Cup Is Upon Us
– Show Me The Money: Ryder Cup Has Become Golf’s Biggest Event
– A Brief But Glorious History Of Rickie Fowler Photobombs
– Ryder Cup Pairings And Results
– Ryder Cup Notebook: Americans Finding Plenty Of Incentive To Win
– Tournament Hole Of The Week: Ryder Cup
– Ryder Cup By The Numbers: More Than 15 Miles of Rope and More
– Ryder Cup Ticket Prices Soaring On Secondary Market
– Phil Snags Wounded Warrior’s Phone, Takes Super Selfie
– U.S. Team Room Is Jaw-Droppingly Awesome
– Who Wore Velvet Best: Team Europe Or Pop Stars?
– Comeback King: Phil Mickelson Retorts ‘Suck On That’
– Sir Alex Ferguson Called On To Inspire Team Europe
– Phil’s on Fire: Confirms Keegan Pairing, Takes Shot At Team Europe
– Inside The Ropes: Ryder Cup Twitter Roundup
– 5 Things You Need To Know: Ryder Cup At Gleneagles
– Ryder Cup Rookies: Spieth, Reed, Walker Debut For U.S.
– The Odds: Ryder Cup Odds & Props Offer Plenty Of Options
– 3 Things You’ll See At The Ryder Cup This Week
– Ryder Cup Rookies: Dubuisson, Donaldson, Gallacher Debut For Europe
– Best Crowd Moments In Ryder Cup History
– Golf Manufacturers Showcase Ryder Cup-Inspired Gear
– 11 Most Memorable Ryder Cup Moments
– 5 Players Team Europe Needs To Play Well At Ryder Cup
– 5 Players The U.S. Needs To Play Well At Ryder Cup
– Fans Now Encouraged To Use Social Media At Ryder Cup  
– Team USA Ryder Cup Posters Will Get You Pumped
– Rory McIlroy on Keegan Bradley & Ian Poulter: ‘They’re Both Nuts’ 
– ‘Screw You’: Ian Poulter Trash Talks Michael Jordan… In His Head
– One American’s Tribute to Ryder Cup Legend/Nightmare Ian Poulter
– TaylorMade Inks European Ryder Cup Player Jamie Donaldson 
– Harrington, Jimenez, Olazabal Named Ryder Cup Vice Captains 
– Sergio Garcia Disappointed Luke Donald Not on Ryder Cup Team
– Ralph Lauren Unveils U.S. Ryder Cup Team Uniforms
– Bradley, Mahan, Simpson Named U.S. Ryder Cup Captain’s Picks
– Gallacher, Poulter, Westwood Complete European Ryder Cup Team