by Doug Ferguson ap golf writer
Sheboygan, Wis. — There were players in Europe who weren’t even born the last time they were beaten this horribly in the Ryder Cup, clearly a better American team on Midwestern soil.
It was not a Sunday in the Whistling Straits.
It was five years earlier at Hazeltine, where a 17–11 result suggested that the Ryder Cup was turning in favor of the Americans. Darren Clarke was captain in 2016 and promised that Europe would be “strong for the fight” in two years.
That’s exactly what happened.
So while the Americans were looking better than ever – “the greatest team of all time,” said US captain Steve Stricker in a moment of excitement – their 19-9 victory was only a step forward, even if it sounded like a giant leap. to sense.
Not only was it the biggest blow against Europe since joining in 1979, but it also equaled the biggest margin in any Ryder Cup since 1975.
big picture? Nothing matters until Italy in 2023.
Rory McIlroy, even after his least productive Ryder Cup performance inside the ropes, was not overly concerned.
“It looks like the way the Ryder Cup is going, the home team definitely has an advantage every time we play this thing,” McIlroy said. “It was clear in Paris a few years ago. I think it was quite clear this week as well.”
The difference is in the makeup of this American team.
Far more than just being the youngest American team ever to compete for the Ryder Cup—average age 29—they weren’t part of a recycled group of Americans who still had a hard time hearing “ole, ole, ole, ole” so often. Ringing in his head after losing so much.
And it goes even further than that.
The nickname “Patty Ice” isn’t just for Patrick Cantley’s big moments with putter. He is cold-blooded when it comes to victory and defeat. So does her best friend, Xander Schöffel, no matter how casual she appears beneath the look that exudes California cool.
Daniel Berger? He made his team debut in the Presidents Cup in 2017, when the US crushed the international side so badly that it was a match away from winning before going single. Berger showed no mercy and about the same class when he said, “I hope we shut them down today and we’ll go there tomorrow and beat them even worse.”
The Ryder Cup was decided on Sunday in the Whistling Straits by more than an hour.
Berger was in the final match, which was in vain except for the official score. He was 1 below Matt Fitzpatrick until he won two of the last three holes to score the points.
“The one thing we all share in common is that we hate to lose,” Schaufel said. “I think I can speak for everyone on that.”
That should be enough to give McIlroy pause.
“There’s phenomenal talent in that team,” McIlroy said. “I think the most important thing for the American team is a lot of youngsters who are great players who have been bought into the Ryder Cup. I think that was probably missing in previous generations.
“They’re going to be the strong opponent until I’m playing the Ryder Cup, hopefully in 20 years’ time from now on.”
Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth are the only survivors to win the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine. Only one other player, Ricky Fowler, made it to the next one.
How many Americans will be in Marco Simone outside Rome in 2023?
Maybe it doesn’t matter. Patrick Reed fell behind this year, mainly due to questions about his health and stamina. Sam Burns was very much in the mix for the captain’s selection till the last minute. There is no shortage of talented Americans in the pipeline.
This is reminiscent of 2006 at The K Club of Ireland, where Europe won by a similar margin (18½ to 9) for the second straight year. Its captain, Ian Woosnam, said that Europe was strong enough to put the next 12 players on the line and achieve the same result. And he was probably right.
Now the roles seem to be reversed.
Padraig Harrington will be criticized for not altering the selection process at the Ryder Cup, which was postponed by a year by the coronavirus pandemic. The striker went from a choice of four captains to six. Harrington reduced his four picks to three.
But who was available? Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson are both in their 40s and were in no better form than some of the other stalwarts. Neither was Francesco Molinari.
Perhaps the bigger question is who has Europe on the horizon. It has two years to find out.
And who knows how they’ll play out next time? When the best team on paper – eight of the top 10 in the world rankings – is the best inside the ropes, it can be frightening. But that doesn’t happen often in the Ryder Cup because Europe still wins more often.
Jordan Spieth is 28 years old and has already played in this event four times – winning two, losing two. They talked all week about how the group has known each other since they were teenagers. Five of them were born in 1993, which is the last time the US won in Europe.
“It’s one thing to win here and it’s very easy to do that and it’s hard to win over there,” he said. “If we play like this week, the score will look the same over there in a few years. And that’s what we’re here for.”