So that’s it then. No sooner had the hype train reached fever-pitch than the conductor waved the white flag; two years of Ryder Cup planning torn to shreds by Thomas Bjorn’s four Captain’s picks.
Le Golf National – why bother? Let’s surrender before we reach French soil for a change. If the United States weren’t unbeatable already, they certainly are now as Europe’s supreme leader pushed the self-destruct button to save us all from getting our hopes up. We’re about to be steamrolled by a red, white and blue juggernaut, robbed of the greatest biennial sporting contest before ever a ball was hit.
If only we had Matt Wallace.
Matt Wallace – the greatest Ryder Cup player to have never played in a Ryder Cup. A household name in golf, as of last week, right up there with the serial number on your immersion, Wallace was the only thing standing in the way of Jim Furyk’s merciless army.
A golfer void of pity, promising to play with the blue of Europe splattered across his cheeks, the eyes of this mad man would strike fear into any red-coat teeing up against him; his brutality on the manicured battlefield a beacon for young men to follow. “They may take our points,” Wallace noted after his win last week in Denmark, “but they’ll never take our freedom.”
Indeed, if rumours behind his exclusion are true, word on the street is that Wallace stared Bjorn deep into his soul after his victory and promised, with the bulging eyes of a killer, that he’d invade America and defeat the Americans on their own ground in a manner they’d least expect.
When Bjorn insisted that this wasn’t necessary given the match had been arranged for France, tickets had sold out months previous and the Americans were booked into a lavish five-star hotel for the duration, Wallace raged “why?”, adamant that the difference between the pair was that Bjorn thought the people of Europe existed to provide the Captain with position, while Wallace felt Thomas’ position existed to provide the people with four solid wildcard picks. As they squabbled over the scraps of the remaining bit of beef at the buffet, little did Wallace know, his fate was sealed; his head was on the chopping block.
Few could argue that the manner of Matt Wallace’s birdie/birdie playoff blitz last week was impressive, but the pandamonium following his exclusion needs some context to quell it. As Wallace thrust his sword into the mighty Steven Brown and Jon Thomson at a tournament boasting a prize pot of €1,500,000, Bryson DeChambeau picked up a near equivalent winner’s cheque worth $1,620,000 as the world’s best players fought it out at TPC Boston.
To be blunt, the PGA Tour is the ‘Premier League’ to the European Tour’s ‘Championship’, and no more than Eamon Dunphy was mistaken in his belief that Wes Hoolahan was the difference between Ireland winning the World Cup and qualifying for it, those thinking Matt Wallace is the difference between victory and defeat at this year’s Ryder Cup need their heads examined too.
In truth, Bjorn’s hand was forced. With Europe’s so-called elite having underperformed this year, five automatic rookies in the side meant more could not be risked. Matt Wallace looks to have a bright future ahead of him and no doubt his day will come, but there’s no use throwing the young gladiator to the lions when there’s a quintet of fledglings taking first flight already.
On paper we look up against it, but so were 300 Spartans when the full might of the Persian army came knocking at their door. As Gary Murphy says, “a golfer can find form on a Thursday”. Now’s not the time to panic. Now’s the time to believe. After all, quashing a symphony of insufferable U.S.A chants depends on it.