Sports Outside the Beltway

Format changes to 2008 Ryder Cup matches announced

This seems comprable to re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic to me

Paul Azinger has already introduced sweeping changes to the U.S. Ryder Cup team selection process. Now he has altered the format of the tournament.

The U.S. captain announced Wednesday that the order of the team matches on the first and second days of the competition will be reversed, meaning there will be four foursomes (alternate shot) matches followed by four four-ball (best ball) matches. As usual, the Ryder Cup will conclude with 12 singles matches on Sunday.

In each of the past two Ryder Cups  routs for the European team  the four-ball format was used in the morning each day.

“I believe it was 1997, I think Seve (Ballesteros) changed it to best ball in the morning and alternate shot in the afternoon. I felt like the Americans had an edge in alternate shot and I think it’s partly responsible for why Europe has gotten off to a pretty hot start,” Azinger said at a news conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he is competing in this week’s FBR Open. “So I’ve decided to change that back. I hope it’s the right decision. We’re switching, we’re going back to alternate shot in the morning and we’ll just see how it plays out.”

The matches will be played Sept. 19-21 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. As captain of the home team, Azinger has say over the order of the matches and course set up.

“I’ll do everything I can to get an edge,” he said.

What edge? Altering when the matches are played, isn’t gong to eliminate the cause behind the USA losing five of the last six matches. The American team needs to play up to what it is capable. If not, Europe will win in another rout this September.

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