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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is this US Ryder Cup Team sailing into disaster?

This is the longest hitting team that the US has ever sent to the Ryder Cup which may be exactly what the Europeans were hoping for because if there was one course in Europe that is not forgiving to those who frequent the shank or hook, it’s Celtic Manor. So will the American team be able to keep it on the fairway and should they sacrifice some distance to do so? If the practice round was any indication it appears they will. Dustin Johnson, as long as anyone at the Ryder Cup, only hit driver off the tee on the par 5s during his practice round Tuesday. As for the rough, he described it as so deep that anything more than a 6-iron away, he would not be able to get it on the green. Although the US are the defending champs they are slight underdogs in the fourball and the overall tournament as well, so it’s not just Tiger who has something to prove to the fans across the pond. Keep in mind how much international tournaments help US fans forget one’s shortcomings (ask Kobe Bryant) whose stock took a meteoric rise after the US “Redeem Team” took the Gold Medal in Shang Hi with Kobe as the team’s MVP, he came home to a much different reception and all of the sudden the endorsements came back. This could be TW’s time to start working his way back up that hill, conversely, a bad showing will only further his plummeting stock. The team has already had its share of disfunctionality with the caddie fiasco when 3 caddies were asked to take a separate flight due to an overcrowded private plane, and the caddies of the captain’s picks were asked to volunteer. Rest assured Cory Paven will earn his paycheck if the US can hold the cup because the pairings will make all the difference and it will be no easy challenge to put together a winning combination. Obviously the talent is there but the challenges of getting the team to play together when needed and getting the ‘go to guys’ take care of their business in match play will make the difference. The rain has rolled in and made the rough and hazards and absolute nightmare, so it will come down to the basics of hitting it far and straight. The odds makers don’t think this is right team to carry the flag but they just might surprise you. How do you think Tiger will play and will the US carry the Cup? Who will be the MVP of this year’s team? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

USA shouldn’t count on to many lucky bounces

US moves to 4-0 and has one final practice with Tunisia before knockout round
The US took care of business against Iran, but probably got more quality work in their own Blue/White scrimmage. From here there is one more similar matchup before the knockout round where one bad quarter can cause a disaster that last a lifetime. If the US hope to avoid a disaster similar to the 04 Olympics then they had better work on eliminating the turnovers and get some quality play from the second team. It was great to see Granger, Love, and Chandler give some support off the bench but if they continue to average 4 turnovers per quarter they will get an early ticket home.

Team USA may be 3-0 but it sure doesn’t feel like it as it as one left the arena on Monday feeling more like Brazil lost the game rather than the US winning it, as three Brazilian shots went awry in the final moments to preserve a two-point win that was nothing to write home about. In fact the Brazilians only start 3 NBA players and one didn’t play (Anderson Varejao who only averages 8 & 7 anyway) so this is not a powerhouse by any stretch of the imagination but they sure pushed the US to the limit. A nine point fourth quarter as part of only a 22-point second half almost cost the US a top-seed in the knockout stage, as the US doesn’t seem to be learning from it’s mistakes. Remember it was a bad third-quarter against Greece in the 04’ Olympic games that resulted in the first loss in over 40 years in medal play and was the catalyst for USA Basketball to completely change the way they approached international competition. What was apparent is the lack of scoring punch of the second unit and perhaps coach K needs to shake things up a bit going into the final two games of the group stage in which anything less than 20+ point victories would be considered a federal offense. However come next week the time zone difference, funky ball, changes to how the refs call the game, etc. had better be behind them or it may be a congressional oversight committee waiting for them when they touch down, rather than a welcoming one. What do you think will be the outcome of the Worlds’? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.

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