The dust has settled. Europe have convincingly won the Ryder Cup by 7 clear points. Here’s our take on the weekend's events.
Le Golf National, as a golf course, was an authentic test of ‘European’ golf with accurate play and strong course management being rewarded. Hit it in the deep rough off the tee and you were struggling to make the green in regulation. Hit it on the fairway and you could find a birdie on nearly every hole. Golf as it should be. Thomas Bjorn, as is his right, set up the course to suit the array of ball strikers at his disposal and got rewarded for it. The Americans never got the hang of it and this was their biggest downfall.
Firstly I think it’s worth saying that despite everything that happened, Furyk was a true gentleman for the whole weekend. Handling himself with class, he was a credit to his nation and should be applauded for that. However, I worry for him. His picks didn’t perform (Woods, Mickelson and DeChambeau all failed to get on the scoreboard) and his pairings didn’t work. Expect an American inquest into what went wrong, with Furyk getting an unfair proportion of the blame when, ultimately, his big players did not perform when it counted.
Bjorn got everything right. His captain’s picks delivered. Even the contentious selection of Garcia was inspired, taking three points from four matches to become the all-time highest points scorer in Ryder Cup history. As previously mentioned, the course set up was perfect for his team and Bjorn learnt from the lessons of the first morning, to get his pairings spot on. Fleetwood and Molinari became the first European partnership to win four matches in a single Ryder Cup. Outstanding performance.
The big players didn’t perform. The Captain’s picks didn’t perform. The great Tiger Woods looked a shadow of the man that had just won the FedEx Cup finale. They didn’t show the same level of passion and cohesion as their European counterparts and the cracks are already becoming public. ‘Captain America’ Patrick Reed has already gone on the offensive, criticising both Furyk and Speith despite his own lacklustre performance.
They were everything the Americans weren’t. They had no weak link, everyone contributed and they had fun out on the course. Every two years, all twelve players walk into the dressing room without their ego’s and combine to get the best out of each other. It’s Europe’s greatest strength and the reason why they have made the Ryder Cup their own. Long may it continue.
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