Another Ryder Cup goes by on European soil with out an American victory, continuing the streak that started after the US won at The Belfry in 1993. To put things into perspective, I have never seen a win by Team USA across the pond. The 17 1/2 to 10 1/2 defeat was one of the largest in recent memory, taking us back to 2004 and 2006 to find a larger deficit. This is the 2nd largest defeat since the team changed from England and Ireland to Europe. So for a team that was favorited, “more talented”, “expected to win” what in the hell happened?
First and foremost, we played like absolute trash after the morning 4-ball session on Friday. We gained zero points in the Friday afternoon session, 3.5 points all day Saturday and 4 on Sunday. Tiger, Bryson and Phil didn’t contribute a point the entire event and we only had four players with a .500 or better record. Throw out the pairings, the course set up, the formats, throw it all out. The nucleus of the problem was that we didn’t play good enough golf to win. Plain and simple, the Euro’s played well, but they could have played average and still beaten us this week. Obviously Tiger going 0-4 comes as a shock because of how well he has played all season, but at the same time he poured everything he could into that win last week. Players said he wasn’t sleeping good all week, he looked lethargic and honestly emotionally drained. Couple that with Tiger’s struggles in team events in the past and it was a recipe for disaster. Phil should never play another match on a Ryder Cup team no matter what his ranking is in 2 years. He needs to be involved as a Capitan or Vice Capitan because he brings good energy, but his style of play in a match play format is like mixing oil and water. If you wanted Phil to play, the Keegan needed to be on the team because he and David Toms are about the only people who could play with him. Bryson you have proved to me that you are an absolute head case and whiny little baby. Concede the match against Noren and don’t stop the press conference from rolling on because “you didn’t get to say anything”. You didn’t deserve to speak with the other rookies that went a combined 6-2-0 might I add. He should be looked at very closely before he gets added to another team because of the way he goes about playing the game and his attitude on the course. The next group of guys that concerns me are Brooks, Rickie, and DJ. They went a combined 3-9-1 on the week….ironically their world rankings are 3, 9, and 1. For a group of guys that are in their primes and the top of their games they have to do better. Brooks has won back to back US Opens, which are arguably the toughest test in golf, DJ is #1 player in the world, and Rickie is one of the more consistent players over the last few years. It is going to be a tough next couple of Ryder Cups if these guys can’t find a way to be the dominant players that they are. The last of the negatives for me falls on Patrick Reed. All the big talk finally caught up with him. There have been all kinds of rumors and speculation swirling around since the closing press conference on Sunday. I will get to more of that in the podcast. Besides that, Reed played awful all weekend. People that followed he and Tiger’s match on Saturday Morning said he legitimately shot around 85-87. Seriously? Capitan America, the McIlroy Slayer, all that flys out the window when you only play in 3 matches, and go 1-2-0. What really pissed me off was on the final hole of his Singles match, he did the little shoosh gesture to the crowd, after the Euro’s had already clinched. That was just icing on the cake for me. Despite 3/4 of our team sleep walking through the weekend, there were a few bright spots.
The four guys that stood out for me were Jordan, JT, Webb, and Tony. All of them had winning records and played the way you are supposed to play. JT and Jordan showed us that they are going to be a generational pairing moving forward. Sorry “Fat Pat” this ends your time here as part of the elite US pairing. JT went 4-1-0 and Jordan went 3-2 making them the largest point gainers for the team. They just have a chemistry that falls in the category of Seve and Jose Maria. They have played junior events like this since they were teenagers and have continued to be best friends as they have grown into the bright stars they are today. They are going to be tasked with being leaders and the foundation for the next 15-20 years. Webb Simpson comes as somewhat of a surprise to me. He has played in two previous Ryder Cups and has a record of 2-3-1 and improved that with a 2-1 record this week, winning a 4ball match and his Sunday singles match. Webb is the kind of guy that can play with anyone, he’s figured the putter out, hes consistent off the tee and is a great iron player. I wish we could have had two more of him on the roster this week. Lastly, Tony Finau earned his stripes this week. He and Brooks opened up the Friday matches with a nice win and then Tony took out the buzzsaw that was Tommy Fleetwood on Sunday. That win for him on sunday was huge for his confidence but it also gave the Americans a glimmer of hope. At the end of the day, there is a lot that we need to improve on but there were some guys that proved their worth moving forward.
The Euro’s did what they always do and that is beat you as a team. Throw in outstanding performances from Tommy Fleetwood, Francesco Molinari and Henrik Stenson and it was all but impossible to slow team Europe down. I tip my cap to them because even as huge underdogs on paper and in Vegas, they used that as motivation to protect their home turf and walk away with a blow out victory. Sergio became the winningest player in Ryder Cup history with his win on Sunday adding to his legacy as one of the greatest to ever play in the event. Poulter, Rose, McIllroy all were major contributors as always even though the spotlight was on “Moliwood”. The capitan picks for the European side went 9-4-1 to the US 2-10 which just shows that current form and wins do not necessarily translate to success in the Ryder Cup. Thomas caught some heat for his picks but they came thru for him in a big way. Ultimately, the Europeans did what they have done to us for the last 25 years on their turf. What are we going to do to break the chain in 2022 in Italy?
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