The United States clinched the 2021 Ryder Cup on Sunday after rookie Collin Morikawa secured the final half-point to get to a 19-9 victory, which is the largest margin of victory in Ryder Cup history since the 28-point format came about. Read that again! It is not a typo…
It’s also the first time since 1979 and 1983 that Team USA won back-to-back home Ryder Cups after winning in 2016 at Hazeltine. The Americans lost in 2018 in France and seven of the last 10 Ryder Cups against Europe, so this historic & dominant victory just may have changed the tide in the rivalry.
Here are our top 7 takeaways from this year’s Ryder Cup
Spanish Armada is Real
A big part of Ryder Cup history for Europe has been the play of several Spanish golfers. Starting with the legendary Seve Ballesteros and later Jose Maria Olazabal. Now, Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia seem to have assumed that role. Rahm & Garcia were near unstoppable as a team this past week at Whistling Straights. Sergio became the all-time leader in matches won at the Ryder Cup.
He secured his 24th career match victory (passing Faldo with 23), however, I bet if you were to ask Sergio, he would call that a hollow victory. Rahm, the reigning world #1, secured 3.5 points in his 5 matches. For the most part… they were the lone bright spot for the Euros this year.
6! That’s right count em’…6 rookies were on the US Ryder Cup team this year. AND they demonstrated that a changing of the guard is on the horizon if not already onshore. Really, if I am being honest, they showed up in a HUGE way. I was apprehensive that our US team could hang with the veterans on the Euro squad. Boy was I wrong. Not only did they hang, they broke records!
Records that encompassed teams with names like Tiger, Duval, Phil, etc… The six rookies mark the most on one U.S. team since 2008, when the U.S. won at Valhalla Country Club. Four of our 2021 team rookies headed into Sunday with unbeaten records: Collin Morikawa (3-0-0), Xander Schauffele (3-0-0), Patrick Cantlay (2-0-1), and Scheffler (1-0-1). Scheffler and Morikawa were the only two rookies who went undefeated in their Ryder Cup play, and they arguably had the two most important victories on Sunday.
The young talent on the American side was simply too tough and too long for the veteran European team. It was an absolute onslaught! Not to mention that this was one of the youngest American Ryder Cup teams ever, with an average age of just 29 years old. The Americans didn’t lose a session for the first time in 44 years. They had the best team on paper. They played even better on grass.
The home field advantage was evident from the get-go
Lets be real, I found myself longing for the chants of “Ole’…Ole’ Ole’ Ole’…Ole’…Ole’”. That atmosphere creates such a buzz and seemed to be missing this year. With that, the US squad possessed a substantial home-field advantage. The sea of red that fills the galleries every time the United States hosts the Ryder Cup had far fewer European blue dots than usual this year.
“You only have to look around and all the grandstands are red,” Europe’s Ian Poulter said. “Everything that you look at, the fans, 98% are obviously going to be U.S. fans this week.”
WHY: Pandemic-related travel restrictions gave the U.S. a far bigger edge in fan support than the home team normally receives. European residents were not permitted to fly directly to the United States due to the pandemic. The U.S. announced 5 days before the event that it would allow foreigners to fly into the country if they have proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test. But here’s the rub… those changes don’t take effect until November.
That meant fans living in Europe who wanted to watch the Ryder Cup in person had to take indirect routes. For instance, if you live in England, you would have to fly into Mexico and spend two weeks there. Then travel from Mexico to Wisconsin. Call me crazy, but as much as I love my squad, I am not sure that would be in the cards for me!
Brooks Koepka goes crazy, curses at Ryder Cup rules officials
Even while piling up points and producing one of its best days in recent Ryder Cup history, the American team’s performance was marred by a couple of salty moments of questionable behavior on Saturday at Whistling Straits.
Brooks turned into a proverbial “Karen” on two rules officials, cursing at them on the 15th hole during his Saturday morning foursome match alongside Daniel Berger against Spaniards Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia.
The incident occurred with the Brooks & Berger 1-down with 4 holes to play. Berger’s errant second shot landed in a bunker to the right of the fairway. When Koepka, who was hitting next, arrived and surveyed the lie he brought in a rules official to ask for free relief. Koepka argued that there was a drain in front of the ball that he said would interfere with his swing. To be fair it did appear to be some unusual ground conditions.
“I don’t think it’s going to interfere with the area of your intended swing,” said David Price, the rules official.
“You don’t think my club might hit right there?” Koepka said, pointing downward. “Have you ever seen me hit a ball? There was a root that far down a couple of weeks ago.’’
Brooks was heard saying prior to the shot “I don’t physically see how you can make a swing and not at some point have this impact or this impact your club,”
“If I break my wrist, this is on [expletive] both of you.” He dropped the F-Bomb!
The officials ultimately disagreed, and Brooks had to hit the shot as it lied. He striped it! It hit the green and it rolled up to 25 feet.
Here’s the deal Brooksy, you may have had an argument. Even Sergio was on sight and seemed to agree that relief might be warranted. He then spit out his water when he heard the interaction between the officials and Brooks. Bottom line, the official ruling was given. Cussing them out will not help the situation. Right or wrong! Hit the shot or take an unplayable. Simple as that.
Spieth hit arguably one of, if not the greatest, shot on the 17th I have ever seen
It didn’t take long for Whistling Straits to produce a signature shot in the Ryder Cup. Unfortunately for Jordan and JT, it didn’t help them in a 3-up loss to Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia.
Here’s the shot in his words: “It was kind of one of those shots you practice as a kid for fun,” Spieth said of his shot from a wildly uneven lie that sent him careening down a hill and nearly into taking a plunge into Lake Michigan.”
Two holes down with two to play, Thomas hit his tee shot on the par-3 17th hole to the right of the green, only to watch as it bounced left and shot across the green and down a nearly vertical slope toward Lake Michigan.
The ball ended up lodged in deep rough on a ridge about 10 feet high. Spieth studied it a long time before pulling out a wedge and taking a wild swing at the ball, which somehow plopped onto the green about five feet from the hole.
The momentum from Spieth’s swing sent him falling backward down the slope, and he nearly ran backward as he tried to steady himself before going too far and ending up in the lake.
“I don’t think I exaggerated that fall,” Spieth said. “Once I started moving I had to keep moving until I found a flat spot.”
If you were under a rock this weekend or somehow didn’t see the miraculous shot…you have to see it with your own eyes to believe it! I would give him 5 large buckets of balls and I would lay 5-1 odds he doesn’t get another even remotely that close!
Bryson did not disappoint
Before the Ryder Cup, we were not sure if we were team Brooks or team Bryson. Brooks is a terminator and Bryson is a character. After watching this weekend, I have to admit, Team Bryson closed the gap significantly. It was awesome when he drove the green on #1 and eagled it during the Sunday singles match.
Yeah, he took down the Ryder Cup GOAT – Sergio Garcia. But the #6 tee is what ultimately won us over. Bryson and his caddie were trying to decide between driver and 3-wood. He was worried he would drive the ball over the green on the 350-yard hole. That’s right, he had to back off the driver and decided instead to hammer a 3 metal on a 350-yard hole. When he puts his driver back in the bag, the crowd started to murmur.
Bryson then loudly said – “Easy Guys, I am still going for the green. Calm down!” Awesome! Arguably the biggest round of his life and he is cracking jokes with the crowd. Golf needs more guys like him. Sure…guys like Brooks, DJ, Xander, and Collin are great golfers but they can be a little predictable/boring! Thanks, Bryson. I think it’s safe to say that you won me and millions of other golfers over this past weekend.
DJ settles the score at whistling straights
Dustin Johnson joins an incredibly exclusive group of players who have taken five wins out of five at a Ryder Cup (100% match victory!) DJ had been named as the ‘elder statesman’ in the USA camp, being the oldest player in the team at 37-years-old.
However, after his 1-up victory against Paul Casey, Johnson joined Francesco Molinari and Larry Nelson as the only players in the modern Ryder Cup era to go 5-0.
In 1967, Arnold Palmer and Gardner Dickinson also achieved 5-0, but that was against Team Great Britain & Ireland.
Dustin was making the short stroll from the 10th green to the 11th tee at Whistling Straits when the galleries on either side of the narrow path began roaring: “MVP! MVP! MVP!” They were not wrong!
Eyes straight ahead, impassive as ever (Bulletin), Johnson deserved the chants but barely acknowledged them. Somewhere deep down, though, he had to be smiling. This is what people mean when they say revenge is best served cold.
On the very same course where 11 years earlier Johnson lost a shot at his first major championship, he won all five of the matches he played and led a young U.S. Ryder Cup team to its most lopsided victory ever over Europe. That the oldest player on the squad also turned out to be the best…made it just that much sweeter. Way to go DJ!