Ryder Cup 2012: What Tiger's Benching Means for the Rest of Team USA

Thomas AttalCorrespondent ISeptember 30, 2012

Tiger Woods and Davis Love III holding the Ryder Cup
Tiger Woods and Davis Love III holding the Ryder CupJamie Squire/Getty Images

In his seven appearances at the Ryder Cup, Tiger Woods has now failed to leave the first day with a point four times. According to the New York Daily News, this fourth failure landed Woods on the bench for the Saturday morning foursomes. 

Woods' struggles at the Ryder Cup are becoming more and more evident each day. He has a career record of 13-16-2 and has won the Cup only once in seven tries. These numbers were clearly seen as unacceptable for one of the best players ever as Woods found himself watching play for the first time in his career.

The implications of the decision on Woods' legacy will be widely disputed, but what of the implications on the rest of the team?

In the short term, it means the pressure is on. It means there is no hiding behind the performances of Tiger either way, and each and every point will be magnified in the eyes of the viewers. It means Team USA has all eyes on them to protect their lead and bring home the title. 

In the long run for the rest of Team USA, however, it means an opportunity. The general public is aware Tiger has underperformed significantly, so a win would justifiably be attributed to the rest of the team. So if the team can take the win they will force themselves into the eyes of the public.  

For a long time now, USA golf has dominated by the shadow of Woods. However, despite Woods' success individually, Team USA's only Ryder Cup win this century came in 2008 without Tiger. If Team USA can bring home another Cup without Tiger's leadership, it will prove that this team has the capacity to be successful independent of their star.

Each member of the team is now presented with the chance at establishing themselves as commonplace members of the golf elite long term despite the lack of public acknowledgement for some of the players. 

It's a chance for Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner to become household names. It's a chance for golf to set up commercial success beyond Tiger. A loss, however, would keep the shadow lurking.