Numbers, not pictures, is one of golf's hoariest axioms.
Translation: Results are what matter, and not the circumstances
that surround them. Not so with the SI Alltime Ryder Cup Teams,
selected by staff writer Alan Shipnuck. Playing records were
important in picking our Dream Teams but not paramount. The
historic importance of a player's deeds was weighted heavily, as
were moments of high drama that have helped turn the Ryder Cup
into such rousing theater. Whimsy was used to break all ties.
The King made the Ryder Cup matter with gung-ho xenophobia.
He defined Ryder Cup sportsmanship when he conceded Tony Jacklin
a terrifying two-footer to tie in '69.
The unblemished record is cool, and in a historic bit of
gamesmanship he introduced his '67 team as "the 12 best golfers
in the world."
He's 5-0-2 in singles--no one on either side has won more
matches without a loss.
His wedge shot to 18 inches on the final hole to secure the '83
Cup was so tasty that Nicklaus kissed the divot.
Forget his record. Zinger's testosterone-drenched victory over
Ballesteros in '89 was the best singles match ever.
Casper won more points than any other American Ryder Cupper.
He captured the real spirit of the Cup as captain in '69,
grousing after Nicklaus's concession, "We went over there to
win, not to be good ol' boys."
The Haig captained the first six U.S. squads, insisting that the
team uniforms be made by New York's finest tailors.
DAVIS LOVE III
As a rookie in '93 he drained a six-footer to win the Cup. 'Nuff
Bulldog's chip-in to trump Faldo-Langer in '95 remains the most
memorable moment of recent Ryders.
His cornball optimism inspired the team in '93, the year he came
back from three down with five to go to win a critical singles
O.K., so Langer blew a six-footer to lose the Cup in '91. The
guy's still a rock.
His record is all the more remarkable considering that his teams
were flogged by a combined 106 1/2-65 1/2.
Woosie has some explaining to do for an 0-5-2 singles record,
but he carried the '93 team with 4 1/2 points.
The master of gamesmanship is 10-3-1 in foursomes, a testament
to his saucy leadership.
The overlooked Spaniard won four matches in '85 during Europe's
first victory in 28 years.
In '87, using a nuclear one-iron off the tee, he went 3-0 in
team play to spearhead the first European victory on U.S. soil.
JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL
In '93 he asked that the pin be removed, then hit an 80-yard
wedge shot to within two feet.
The record of this son of a Ryder Cup player would've been
better if he hadn't been Palmer's personal whipping boy.
Never heard of him? Rees was 2-0 in '57, leading the Brits to a
win that was sandwiched by 19 losses and a tie.
Faldo is one win from becoming the alltime points leader.
In '75 he slayed Nicklaus in singles twice on the same day while
wearing shorts and smoking a pipe.
Jacko's often spectacular play was eclipsed only by his
contributions as captain from 1983 to '89.
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: ILLUSTRATION BY MIRIAM FISHMAN [Drawing of golf course]
TWENTY-THREE COLOR PHOTOS: WALTER IOOSS JR.; RICH CLARKSON; USGA; JOHN BIEVER (3); NEIL LEIFER; JAMES O'GRADY; BETTMANN ARCHIVE; SIMON BRUTY; JIM GUND; JACQUELINE DUVOISIN (2); JAMES DRAKE (2); BRIAN SEED; J.D. CUBAN; GRAHAM FINLAYSON (2); MICHAEL O'BRYON; ALLSPORT; GERRY CRANHAM; TONY DUFFY [Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus; Ben Hogan; Tom Kite; Lanny Wadkins; Paul Azinger; Billy Casper; Sam Snead; Walter Hagen; Davis Love III; Corey Pavin; Chip Beck; Bernhard Langer; Peter Oosterhuis; Ian Woosnam; Seve Ballesteros; Manuel Pinero; Sandy Lyle; Jose Maria Olazabal; Peter Alliss; Dai Rees; Nick Faldo; Brian Barnes; Tony Jacklin]