My Dear JT:
Please allow Dr. Putt to restrict his comments on the last two cups. If young Master Tiger Woods had the best individual putting performance of 1997 in the Masters, the "noname" bunch led by Seve had the best group putting performance of that year. While the U.S. team played well from tee to green, they did not make the putts needed to win. The Europeans were successful in making every putt they required. Hats off!
We should certainly have known who they were the next time. But we didn't. In the 1999 Ryder Cup, a new bunch of "no-names" nearly won again--because they were dropping putts along with some other slightly unbelievable shots from far off the green. But on the last day the American professionals began making putts that they had been missing. The putting of Justin Leonard down the stretch was most efficacious. Much has been made of Mr. Leonard's wonderful putt on 17 and the inappropriate celebration that may have broken the concentration of Mr. Olazabal. But the rest of the story is that even though the Cup was won by the USA professionals, Leonard lost the last hole and finished in a tie. The emotional release on 17 probably did unravel Leonard's concentration. Obviously few Americans really cared after the Ryder Cup came back to the American professionals. The lesson for us is that one should endeavor to maintain a steady emotional state in order to successfully complete a match.
Let Dr. Putt now make an unpopular prediction--the cup
will go back across the Atlantic in 2001.
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