USA Ryder Cup team better off without Tiger?

Written by: Tony Korologos | Monday, September 22nd, 2008
Categories: PGA TourTiger Woods

I’m back on the grid.  I spent the weekend camping in one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen.  I’ll post about that later.

Upon my return I was happy to hear that the USA Ryder Cup team finally pulled off a victory.  In fact they won by a farily large margin too.  Why the win, especially without the world’s best player Tiger Woods?

Why Tiger may not be good for the USA Ryder Cup team

Flame me if you want but I’m going to comment on why it may be possible that the USA Ryder Cup team is better off without Tiger.

Exhibit A:  Tiger’s Personal Ryder Cup Record

It is well documented that Tiger doesn’t have the greatest Ryder Cup record.  The table below shows his results.  He’s sub 50% total, won 30% of foursome matches, won 40% of his fourball matches and won 60% of his singles:

Tiger Woods’ Ryder Cup Results
Total Matches
R.C Record
Total Points Won
Point %

Exhibit B:  Ryder Cup Results

Just looking at the years since Tiger started playing in the cup is exhibit B.  Tiger has played in five Ryder Cups, four of which the USA Team lost.

Exhibit C: 2008

In 2008 the USA Team wins without Tiger.

Assuming I’m correct then WHY?

I can think of a few reasons why the USA Ryder Cup team is “less effective” with Tiger on board:

First, Tiger is an “individual” player, used to working hard and excelling on his own.  Having to “depend” on other players or play in a “team” situation may not be his comfort zone or forte’.  It must be frustrating for Tiger to have to put up with partners who may bring him down.  It also must be frustrating to have his game and results not 100% dependent on HIS performance.

Second, I think other players feel pressure as Tiger’s teammate. Many players who Tiger has partnered with don’t perform very well.  The pressure of playing with Tiger must get to them.

3rd, camaraderie.  Many say that the European teams have camaraderie that the USA team doesn’t.  They eat dinner together, drink beers together etc.  Many USA team players, Tiger especially, have their own private worlds and may have less of a “locker room” vibe.

6 responses to “USA Ryder Cup team better off without Tiger?”

  1. bmhull says:

    Should this apply to Phil as well? He certainly didn’t do anything for the team.

  2. Yes. For sure. Though I doubt the pressure of playing with Phil is as high for other players, if there is any at all.

  3. Miranda says:

    I don’t know about that. The media would never pose the question “can the US win without Phil?” They only have eyes and wallets for Tiger. He makes them money and questioning the US team’s chances without him makes for good tv for some. For a waste of tv time for those of us who know what Tony posted above. I too said the US team won because Tiger wasn’t playing, but I didn’t go into this kind of detail. I would add one more psychological aspect to the list above: If Tiger doesn’t play well in the Ryder Cup, the other players will look around the team room and say ‘gee if Tiger can’t win, how can we? He’s the greatest player in the whole world. Every network and newspaper say so, so it must be true.”

    And I don’t think there is any pressure from playing with Phil. At least not the ‘gee he’s so great and out of my class’ kind of pressure. I would say there might be pressure to carry his butt and win a point when he plays so badly.

  4. I should clarify my comment. What should apply for Phil is that the USA Team could be better off without him as well. Not that all the other pressure factors etc should apply to him.

  5. Jorlboy says:

    Tiger Who?
    All we have heard about for years is the fun that the Europeans have in the Ryder Cup and how they play so much better as a team than the Americans. Finally, our guys have some fun, and low and behold, we win. Honestly, I think it helped that Tiger didn’t play. The team had more unity without the star and the Euro’s weren’t able to build any further momentum for themselves by feasting on beating the world’s #1. Couple Tiger’s absence with the fact that Phil pretty much took up space all week and it (1-2-2 on the week and last singles win was 1999) shows that you don’t need stars to win Ryder Cup matches. Dave Austad

  6. riverwalker says:

    Thank God for different blood this year, although it’s rewarding to be on the team, it would be rewarding to the team to back out if your avg. in cup play isn’t up to par.





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