I’m not sure Faldo’s going to come through as a successful European team captain as we look forward to the final day of the Ryder Cup. He’s been an odd choice to me and he’s done very little so far during the event that’s impressive or inspirational.
Here’s why I think he’s not team captain material:
– he’s self-centred to the extent that he has few allies and friends on the circuit. Sevvy was a bit similar but at least he had the respect of his peers having done more than anyone to put the belief and the spirit back into the European Ryder Cup sides. I’m just not sure Faldo, even with his impressive points haul, commands similar affection and respect.
– his wild card picks were heavily criticised, that said Poulter has been doing his stuff for the team.
– he’s been spikey and defensive in all the media conferences. That nonsense over the snapped team list, which he tried to claim was a sandwich list was just childish. What make of sandwich, that might be paired with Sergio Garcia, is an MAJ – marmalade and jam? For goodness sake. Why not just admit it was his provisional team line-up and laugh it off? He could still change things and possibly hoodwink the Americans.
– Azinger’s out-thought him tactically throughout the event so far even if some of his moves have a been a little slippery (all’s fair…).
– crying at the press conference after meeting Mohammed Ali showed his brittleness I thought. Doing Only Fools and Horses impersonations might amuse his mate Poulter but in front of a bemused watching American audience, it only served to highlight his intellectual limitations.
– his first day selections just didn’t work. He handed the US team the opportunity to establish momentum, get the crowd behind them and to pull out a daunting 3 point lead.
– yesterday things improved but he dropped proven winners like Garcia and Westwood though he’s re-instated Garcia as his lead-off man today. There must be a sense of bafflement within the team.
– what’s more the atmosphere around the European team seems a little flat. I don’t think the uncommunicative ‘loner’ Faldo has the ability to foster team spirit which has been the significant X Factor for the Europeans in recent years.
– in previous years the vice-captain has always played a key part in the management structure but Faldo the control freak hasn’t encouraged/allowed vc Olazabal to play any sort of significant role upfront. It’s all about him or nothing.
– his play list today has gone against the strategy established by former captains like Torrance and Woosnam, by leaving his big guns until the last few matches. If the rookies and mid-team guys don’t manage to get halves at least and perhaps one point back, then the match might be over before Harrington et al get anywhere near the first tee. He’s having to chase after the Americans and conventional wisdom would suggest he should put them under pressure as quickly as possible to see if they crack. But by back-ending his key players, he seems to me to be aiming for a rescued draw, thus retaining the trophy as unbeaten holders.
It’s not the kind of assertive leadership we’ve been used to is it? I hope we don’t fail but he really will be vilified if it all goes wrong – and rightly so in my view. I suspect he won’t get much credit either if we do happen to retain the trophy.
It could be an interesting day but will it be a thriller or a killer at Valhalla?
ps so it’s over and it turned into a killer – a right old drubbing by the Americans – our worst defeat in years. And although Poulter did well, surely his appointment was unsettling and harmed overall team harmony going into the event.
Faldo has been dreadful as captain in my view; his last day tactics were so naive. He should have got after the younger players on the US team – they had one guy called Boo for christ’s sake who likened being selected for the Ryder Cup team to getting his first pack of hounds! Yo’ll know what he means…. He probably doesn’t even know where Europe is – just beyond Cleetus City in Bubba County no doubt. Forgive me Boo.
So I think 2008 will be regarded as Faldo’s Folly but surely the biggest mistake was selecting him as captain in the first place.