An Undefeated System: Paul Azinger and the 2008 Ryder Cup

Ed. note: This remembrance is the third in a series to highlight noteworthy Ryder Cup matches, during the week the biennial event was to be played at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin.

It remains undefeated. A dozen years after Paul Azinger forged a new direction for U.S. Ryder Cup teams – a “pod” system that broke up a 12-man team into three four-man units – the formula has resulted in victory every time it has been tried. Whether it’s the Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup or Presidents Cup, outcomes have been the same. When U.S. captains stick to Zinger’s formula, they win. When they go away from it, even for a match or two, they lose.

Given that success rate, it is time to revisit the 2008 Ryder Cup and the new way of thinking that Azinger brought to American team golf.

It’s easy to forget that between 1985 and 2006 Europe won seven matches to the United States’ three with one draw, and embarrassed the Americans in the last two leading into Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky. But for the largest final-day comeback in history by th…

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