Dubai: Team Europe headed into the final round of the 43rd Ryder Cup looking for a repeat of their ‘Miracle in Medinah’, a ‘Stunner at the Straits’ if you will. Instead they got handed a ‘Whipping at Whistling’ to fall to a record defeat at the hands of the strongest team in history at the biennial showpiece.
I wrote on the eve of the tournament that you’d be a fool to think that the U.S. would hand the Europeans a pasting – How wrong I was! Europe arrived in the U.S. having won seven of the previous nine editions, but were thoroughly outclassed by a home team which U.S. captain Steve Stricker described as the “greatest ever”.
This was a new wave of U.S. golfers with six of their team making an appearance for the very first time. While World No.2 Dustin Johnson led the US haul with five points, Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele - all making their debuts and still under 30 - followed him in terms of the leading individual points scorers at Whistling Straits.
In contrast, Shane Lowry, Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger only managed to muster two points between them with the latter failing to secure any from three matches played.
Plenty of promise
Perhaps the most disappointing of the three was Hovland, though. The Norwegian is ranked 14th in the Official World Golf Ranking so plenty of promise was expected of the young man, but after only managing to pick up one point from five matches, in which he had led at some stage in all five, it will be regarded as a disappointing debut. The harsh reality is that the European rookies are just not as good as their counterparts across the pond.
The young U.S. stars are really buying into the Ryder Cup, which has been missed in previous generations. They will be a force to be reckoned with in years to come and with the likes of Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood - all European stalwarts - coming to an end of their Ryder Cup careers it’s imperative the new blood coming through the European ranks can go head-to-head with the young U.S. stars at Rome 2023 and beyond.
There will be plenty of discussions of how the Europeans fell to such a dismal defeat, but, quite simply, the U.S. have the better team and could do for the foreseeable future.