The 43rd Ryder Cup could prove to be a watershed moment for the USA after they cruised to a 19-9 win over Europe at Whistling Straits.
The visitors crossed the Atlantic having won five of the last seven editions of the biennial event but were outplayed from the off and the 10-point winning margin enjoyed by Steve Stricker’s side’s was the largest since continental Europe joined the event in 1979.
Whatsmore, the youthful look of the US team suggests they will be just as strong when they tee it up at Rome’s Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in two years’ time.
The USA are
8/15 to win in Italy, with the tie
12/1. The onus will undoubtedly be on Europe to bounce back and they are
37/20 to avoid a first home defeat since 1993.
Fast Start Key to Success
With an average world ranking of 8.9 compared to Europe’s 30.8, the USA were the huge favourites heading into the Ryder Cup and settled any early nerves by taking the opening day’s morning foursomes 3-1.
They won the afternoon fourballs by the same scoreline and their 6-2 advantage at the end of Friday was the largest held by either side after day one since 2004.
Another 3-1 win in the Saturday morning foursomes followed before Europe finally halved a session, a brilliant up-and-down on the last from Shane Lowry sealing a one-up win for himself and Tyrrell Hatton against Tony Finau and Harris English.
However, with a six-point lead, the 43rd match looked USA’s to lose heading into the Sunday singles as they were leading 11-5 overnight.
Rory McIlroy gave Europe hope with a 3&2 success over Xander Schauffele in the opening match. However, wins for Patrick Cantlay, Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau moved the USA to the brink and Collin Morikawa’s half against Viktor Hovland gave the hosts the decisive 14.5 points required for victory.
Veterans Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood joined McIlroy in winning their singles for Europe but that was all the visitors could muster on the final day, as Padraig Harrington’s team suffered the ignominy of a record 19-9 defeat.
Not Even In-Fighting Can Stop USA
Much of the build-up to the Ryder Cup centred on the ongoing row between home duo Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau. The pair have been at loggerheads for over two years and the furore threatened to undermine the USA’s hopes of regaining the trophy.
Kudos to Stricker, who seemed to defuse the situation and both contributed, with Koepka’s two points seeing him lag slightly behind DeChambeau’s tally of two-and-a-half.
The team’s elder statesman Dustin Johnson also led by example, claiming a perfect five points, while the future looks really bright thanks to the rookies’ performances.
All six scored, with Patrick Cantlay and Open champion Collin Morikawa,
18/1 to retain the Claret Jug in 2022, both taking three-and-a-half points from their four matches.
The budding Johnson-Morikawa combination looks particularly exciting going forward, with the pair having taken all three points available and they are again likely to lead the charge in 2023.
Changing of the Guard for Europe
In contrast, Europe have some soul-searching to do and the tournament in Wisconsin could mark the end of an era with a number of their senior players seemingly on the verge of stepping away.
At 48, Westwood was the oldest man to represent Europe since Christy O’Connor Snr in 1973 and has admitted last weekend’s event will likely be his last in his continent’s colours.
The same is probably true of 45-year-old Poulter. A wildcard pick from Harrington, ‘The Postman’ struggled to deliver, matching Westwood’s tally of just a single point.
However, three points from four matches hint that there is still life in Sergio Garcia. In the spirit of compatriots Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal, he and Jon Rahm,
10/1 to retain his US Open crown in 2022, appear to be forming the next sensational Spanish combination.
World number one Rahm may have lost his singles match 4&3 to Scottie Scheffler but had carried his team before then and looks to have plenty more Ryder Cups in him.
Others will need to match his level, with McIlroy’s singles win over Xander Schauffele marking his lone victory of the week, while it was even tougher for Paul Casey (another who may step away), Matthew Fitzpatrick and rookie Bernd Wiesberger, all of whom failed to register.
*All odds correct at time of writing