The perennial assertion that Tiger Woods has a “terrible” Ryder Cup record rears again. I’ve read this in several articles, blogs and discussion forums. Tiger does have a losing Ryder Cup record, but it is hardly terrible. It pales in comparison to his stroke play and match play records as an individual, but so does almost every other record in golf. An examination of the statistics posted on the official Ryder Cup website quickly reveals that Woods’ record is comparable to those of the other members of the teams on which he played. Most of them have losing records because they played mostly on losing teams. Tiger and Phil Mickelshon have been unfairly blamed, at times, for these losses. However, in their defense, they were still playing junior golf when the losing stretch against the Euros began.
Below are winning percentages for a number of American players through the 2008 Ryder Cup. These players are are listed because they played on at least three Ryder Cup teams, and each was on at least one team with Woods. Among them are major champions, Players champions, current and future Hall of Fame members, and former Ryder Cup captains. Only three of the 14 players listed have winning records. In fact, it seems that the winning percentage tends to approach 40-50% as a player competes in more and more matches. Is this because they all play so terribly, or is it due to the nature of Ryder cup match play? I think the latter is the case.
.65 Winning Percentage: Lehman (3)*
.56 Winning Percentage: Sutton (4)
.55 Winning Percentage: Maggert (3)
.46 Winning Percentage: Calcavecchia (4)
.45 Winning Percentage: Couples (5)
.44 Winning Percentage: Campbell (3), Woods (5)
.43 Winning Percentage: Azinger (4), Mickelson (7)
.42 Winning Percentage: Toms (3)
.40 Winning Percentage: Cink (4), Furyk (6), J. Haas (3)
.32 Winning Percentage: O’Meara (5)
* Number of career Ryder Cups