There was Poulter, the Englishman whose eyes look like they would pop out of his head if he got any more excited. He gets under your skin, but there's nothing wrong with that. That's Ryder Cup golf. Seve was the same way. Poulter went 4--0 last week. We couldn't stop him.
And then there were the several times I saw Webb Simpson, the reigning U.S. Open champion, and Bubba Watson, the Masters champion, gathering together with their wives and caddies in quiet moments of prayer and reflection. Nothing left a stronger impression on me.
Ryder Cup golf really is about bringing people together. I played on my first team in 1993, and my wife, Robin, remembers when a Ryder Cup team was much smaller than it is today, with fewer assistants and fewer PGA officials. This year she had the inspired idea to have one giant table in the team room for our first night so that the entire team—the players, assistants, officials and wives—would all be in the same place, doing the same thing. All together now. Robin did the seating. I sat with Keegan's girlfriend, Jillian Stacey. I had never really spent any time with her. She's a smart young woman who was suddenly thrust into the middle of golf's most intense week, and she was enjoying it. It was a pleasure getting to know her.
To me, a big part of the captain's job is to help people have a dream week. A bigger part of the captain's job is to put on a TV show that will make people want to take up this great game. The biggest part of the captain's job is to win, and I lost. I can live with that frustration only because I know I did well in other areas. Not that it's going to be easy. One thing I know—that we all know—is that Ryder Cup golf is not life and death. We all know what true heartache is.
I said this at Medinah, but I'd like to say it again here, in the permanence of print. It's something I'd like to say straight to the players, to Tiger and Phil and Jim, to Bubba and Webb, to Keegan and Brandt, to Zach Johnson and Dustin Johnson, to Duf (Jason Dufner) and Strick and Kooch (Matt Kuchar): We came to Chicago as a team and left as an even more united one. We'll be bonded for life by what we did at Medinah. Being your captain has been the greatest honor of my golfing life.