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Davis Love
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One week after captaining the U.S. Ryder Cup team, Davis Love was back on the course in Las Vegas.

BLAME GAME: CAPTAIN OR CREW?
Garrity: Back to Vegas. The U.S. Ryder Cup captain, Davis Love III, was conspicuously visible, finishing tied for 66th in the JTSHCO and accepting more than his share of the blame for his team's epic collapse at Medinah. Having had a week to reflect on it, who do you find more culpable, the captain or the crew?

Van Sickle: The crew. They inexplicably ceased making birdies on Sunday. If you can't win more than three singles matches, you don't deserve to win the Cup. Europe played great, the U.S. played poorly. The captain didn't hit any shots last time I checked.

Morfit: I blame the European players, the U.S. players, Love, Olazabal, Ben Crenshaw and Francis Ouimet, in that order.

Shipnuck: It all comes down to the team veterans: Phil, Furyk and Stricker lost the key matches. Davis put 'em in the right spots, they simply didn't perform.

Morfit: My takeaway from the Ryder Cup is that experience is overrated. Alas, because the captain is of a certain age and is most familiar with others his own age, experienced players will probably always get the captains' picks. I wonder what would've happened if Love had gone younger with captain's picks, maybe Fowler or Mahan or Bo Van Pelt in place of Furyk and Stricker. It was a terrifically entertaining contest just as it was, though.

Van Sickle: I think Cam's point is valid. We've seen it for years as captains pick their peers, remembering them in their primes, but they aren't quite the same players anymore. Ironic that Love was one of the guys who helped convince Corey Pavin to take a flyer on Fowler, then went with the old wars horses this time and passed over Rickie and Hunter.

Bamberger: Neither crew nor captain is to blame. Superior Euro play.

Hanger: It was the crew, no question. OK, maybe he should've played Keegan Bradley and/or Phil on Saturday night, but eight members of the U.S. side got beat on Sunday. No way to strategize your way out of that sort of collapse.

Dusek: If you had offered Davis Love a 10-6 lead going into the singles, he would have been thrilled. A week later, I still put it on a combination of great play by the European team and the inability of Furyk, Stricker and Webb Simpson to win critical matches down the stretch.

Godich: I'm telling you, if Steve Stricker executes that relatively simple chip at the 17th hole, the U.S. wins the Cup. In the end, it is all on the crew's shoulders. They've got to hit the shots. And even with the Euros' fast start on Sunday, the U.S. was in position to claim the Cup. It just shows what a pressure-cooker the Ryder Cup is.

Ritter: I'm sure Davis would like to do a few things over (benching Phil-Keegan Saturday afternoon, failing to euthanize the Tiger-Stricker pairing, leading off with Bubba on Sunday, etc.), but the blame goes to the players. Someone wrote it here last week, but it almost felt like the U.S. went to sleep Saturday night thinking they had already won. The U.S. just stopped making putts Sunday afternoon, and the Europeans played great.

Walker: Those are three pretty significant moves. When the captain's picks don't perform, the captain has to take some of the responsibility.

Herre: The crew. As the old saw goes, DL3 didn't hit a shot. I guess you could criticize him for picking Stricker and Furyk -- as was pointed out, experience can sometimes be a liability, not an asset. The young guys seem to be more apt to rise to the occasion. But that's a huge second-guess.

Godich: And yet if you'd known you were counting on Furyk and Stricker to pull off those shots on 17 and 18, most everyone would have been comfortable with that, no?

Morfit: That's still the most shocking part, that neither of those guys could salvage a halve.

Dusek: Stricker, yes. Furyk, no, which is why I thought Hunter Mahan would have been a wiser choice. I realize it's easy to say now, but I believe in Mahan's putter (and his two wins) more than I believe in Furyk's almost-wins.

Godich: Even though, save for a 61 in Hartford, Mahan hadn't done anything since before the Masters? The guy won twice in 2012 and still couldn't make the team on points. Twice! He was ice cold. I have no problem leaving Mahan off the team.

Dusek: I get that Mark, but when was the last time Furyk made a really big-time putt? The Tour Championship two years ago?

Godich: Furyk was the one wild card I had a problem with. But I'm taking Bo Van Pelt and Rickie Fowler ahead of Mahan.

Hanger: But the bottom line is that the team, even with those captain's picks, built a huge lead going into the final round. The U.S. should've been able to get 4 ½ points out of just about any assemblage of PGA Tour players with 12 chances on Sunday.

Morfit: I think the singles is the best indicator of the stronger team. I always thought Europe was better, and the players proved it.

Van Sickle: Maybe it was Karma payback. Americans run across Ollie's line after Leonard's putt in '99. Thirteen years later, Ollie is the captain on the other side of a 10-6 deficit, same as Brookline. Karma, destiny, Seve -- take your pick.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Who's more to blame for the U.S. loss: Love or his players?

NEW FALL LINEUP
Garrity: Finally, let's address the PGA Tour's ever-changing marketing strategy. We're saying goodbye to the so-called "Fall Series" of second-tier events, which will be repackaged next year as season-opening tournaments awarding FedEx Cup points. I'm sure this pleases the affected tournament directors, but will Joe Fan -- or Joe Pro -- give a hoot?

Morfit: No, this change will be unnoticed by most sports fans, what with Presidents and Ryder Cups over and football in full swing.

Van Sickle: I think the move was long overdue to give these events credibility. It seemed like the Tour wanted the fall events to go away and then suddenly did a 180 in the wake of a recession that threatens the game. It's all good, but will Joe Fan even notice? Probably not. At least not until fantasy golf or betting on golf catches on.

Shipnuck: It's more golf. I'm not complaining.

Bamberger: As long as there is live golf on TV, we addicts will get our fix. Doesn't matter what you call it.

Hanger: I think it'll draw better fields and more interest than it used to, but not much more.

Dusek: It will all depend on the fields for the October and November events. If Tiger, Phil, Rory, Luke and other stars play in a few, then audiences might tune in, but getting those guys to pass on overseas appearance money is going to be nearly impossible. With the NFL and college football in full force, TV ratings and Joe Fan's interest won't be too high.

Van Sickle: Great point. Fans will notice if some big names play, but I don't like the chances of that. Not with the Silly Season shifting overseas, a WGC in China, a huge money event in South Africa and appearance fees galore. That's where the game is headed -- guaranteed money. With half-fields and no cuts, the WGC events are already effectively appearance-fee tournaments. How's Hartford or Innisbrook or Colonial supposed to compete with that?

Godich: All I know is that it's going to screw up the world's longest-running golf fantasy league, which has been going strong since 1986.

Herre: The Euro tour went this route years ago, and it has worked for them. Could the PGA Tour be taking a page? The U.S. Tour needs to get into the Asian market in a bigger way. I think Joe Fan in the U.S. has checked out. Joe Fan in the East, however, is ready to check in.

Walker: Doesn't the PGA Tour ultimately benefit from more international interest in the game? As more fans overseas watch golf, the value of the premier golf tour in the world will go up.

Van Sickle: Has the LPGA benefitted from international interest? Obviously. How's that working for interest in the tour in this country, however?

Walker: I don't know about the LPGA, but it's working for the NBA.

Herre: Unlike the LPGA, the PGA Tour has a full and robust U.S. schedule. Plus, once football starts, golf is nowheresville in the U.S. Why not take it to a market that cares?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Will the new Fall Series move the needle next year?

 

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