Ryder Cup: The Ryder Cup was reintroduced in September after being postponed in 2020. The result was a home win, as has been the case in many Ryder Cups over the last few decades, but this one went even farther with a record-breaking points differential between the two sides.
So, what went wrong from a European perspective, and should we be concerned about America’s strength in the future, both on and off the course? As both countries’ Ryder Cup landscapes have altered, the answer, like many others when predicting future outcomes, is somewhere in the middle.
Let’s start with the United States of America. There is now a distinction in that they have now organised their home to a level that we have never seen before. They’ve always had great players, but their management and unit cohesion have never been greater than at Whistling Straits.
That cohesion, along with their youth and inexperience, has made them a difficult opponent, the finest I’ve seen in my time playing, captaining, and now commentating on Ryder Cups.
In a nutshell, America got its act together after painstakingly learning from its errors. These qualities, combined with their consistently brilliant production line of quality players, have resulted in a formidable combination that they will almost certainly carry forward.
How do we handle this new force if this is the new baseline against which we will have to compete as Europeans? The goal is to have a clear grasp and evolution of our successful blueprint as Europeans.
Behind the scenes, it was evident that we may have arrived at this year’s Ryder Cup with our team bonding in place, possibly better than ever. However, bonding without performance does not guarantee outcomes, and we were severely lacking in that area.
The dominant narrative following the Ryder Cup has been that America was too strong for us, and that, along with a lack of European support away from home, ensured that we were thoroughly outplayed by a great American team. While there is no denying America’s undeniable strength, there were other factors that contributed to our heavy defeat.
For example, our scoring against the course was well below the level required to participate in the Ryder Cup, averaging roughly even par in the eight foursomes matches, just four-under in the eight fourball matches, and two under in the twelve singles matches. We generated play that left us vulnerable to the record loss we suffered on a course and in conditions designed for low scoring.
As more of our European players join the PGA Tour and establish homes and families in the United States, it is critical that we maintain our European character. We need to play with an underdog mindset and a siege mentality because of the gnarly ways we’ve thrived in previous Ryder Cups.
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