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How to reverse the Ryder Cup curse

STRAFFAN, Ireland -- OK, that's it. Enough is enough.

I've gagged on the smoke plumes of those cheesesteak-sized European victory cigars for the last time. I've had it with watching deliriously happy British, Swedish, Spanish, Welsh, Irish, Northern Irish and Scottish golfers need beach towels after their celebratory Moet showers.

Please, no more chants of, "Olé, Olé, Olé." No more, "Got Guinness?" mustaches after Euro captain Ian Woosnam chugs the stout on a clubhouse balcony. And for the love of God, please no more close-ups of a Woosie snotball after he sprays champagne up his nose.

We Americans have suffered enough. I mean, since when did the U.S. team become the Kansas City Royals of golf?

Since now. Since the Euros began opening very large cans of Ryder Cup whup-ass on the Americans beginning in 2002, and 2004, and, sigh, 2006. We've become experts on the art of offering congratulatory handshakes to people with accents and white belts. Then again, we've had lots of practice.

Yes, the U.S. lost again, by the exact same gruesome, 18½-9½, blowout of two years ago at Oakland Hills -- and scarily enough, it could have been worse. European blue was everywhere on the grandstand scoreboards. If this keeps up, the PGA of America, which helps oversee these biennial nightmares, is going to insist on a mercy rule.

"No, it doesn't sit well," said Tiger Woods. "Nor should it."

Underdog ... we lose. Favorite ... we lose. On home soil ... we lose. On foreign turf ... we lose. With hard-ass Hal Sutton as captain ... we lose. With caring, ultra-organized Tom Lehman ... we lose. With Michael Jordan and former presidents Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush in attendance ... we lose. With Woods playing five matches ... we lose.

What happened to us? Or more importantly, what next?

"Everybody out there wants answers," said the U.S.'s Jim Furyk.

For the moment, there are none to give. For the first time in the history of the Ryder Cup, the Europeans have won three consecutive times, as well as eight of the last 11. So overwhelming was the victory, you couldn't go 10 minutes without hearing these passionate, classy, mostly Irish crowds unleash cheers that sounded like concussion bombs going off at The K Club. The Euro players fed off it.

"There was so much blue up there, it was so easy -- " said Europe's Luke Donald, before catching himself.

No, it was easy, disturbingly so. The Americans couldn't do much of anything right. It got so bad that Woods played six holes of his Sunday singles match without a 9-iron. His caddie, Steve Williams, had accidentally dropped it into a pond.

Asked to explain why the Europeans are so unbeatable, Ireland's Paul McGinley didn't waste any time with diplomacy.

"There's one reason, one reason only," McGinley said. "It's talent."

So now what? Because if you look at the talent pipeline on the European side compared to the American side, this sort of rout could happen again in 2008 at Louisville's Valhalla Golf Club. Something has to be done.

Presenting nine (in honor of the final point difference) suggestions to reverse the U.S. Ryder Cup Curse:

Ditch the selection system. Instead of depending on the PGA of America's dumb point-scoring formula and two captain's picks, let the next captain pick all 12 members of the U.S. team. Lehman's two wild-card choices, Stewart Cink and Scott Verplank, won two of the 3½ points earned by the Americans on Sunday. Together, they accounted for nearly half of U.S.'s total points.

The new guy. Paul Azinger is the favorite to become the next U.S. captain, with Corey Pavin as an alternate choice. Hard to go wrong with the feisty Zinger. But if I were Azinger, one of my first hires would be -- and I'm absolutely serious -- Michael Jordan. Jordan knows and loves the game, and he has a serious jones for the Ryder Cup. He's close with Tiger, and I guarantee you he'd teach some of the U.S. players a few lessons in toughness.

Quit blaming the media. Yeah, we made it into a big deal. So did the PGA of America and the PGA of Great Britain and Ireland. So did the Euro players. The Ryder Cup is as dear to these people as fish and chips. So quit with the, "It's only an exhibition" mentality. If it were only an exhibition, grown men wouldn't have been crying here after the European win. If it were only an exhibition, we wouldn't still be talking about the comeback at Brookline. Once and for all, this isn't the NFL Pro Bowl.

Find a Sergio Garcia. Sure, he's annoying. You want to take him by the earlobe and drag him away. Even some of his own teammates can't stand his antics. But the next U.S. team needs a Sergio-type character, somebody who doesn't mind being a deflector shield for the pressure. Hello, John Daly.

Don't be proud. If the U.S. gets beat in 2008, then it's time to make a few roster adjustments. We get Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the Euros get Japan and South Korea.

Make Tiger happy. Spend the next two years finding a pairs partner for Woods. If it's Jim Furyk again, fine. But let Woods choose. Either that, or ask him if he really, really wants to play in all four pairs matches, where he's now 7-12-1.

Create an incentive plan. From now on, the losing Ryder Cup team has to clean up after the winning team when it's done partying. If that doesn't work, make it watch BBC 4.

Don't give up on the fun factor.
Lehman had the right idea about creating an actual team feeling. Lehman had the right idea about a lot of things. The next captain needs to build on that effort of creating what the Europeans have: a genuine team.

And the scariest solution of all: Woosie, U.S. citizen.

Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at gene.wojciechowski@espn3.com.