How Europe beat the US to win the Ryder Cup — lessons learned from Paris thrashing

How Europe beat the US to win the Ryder Cup — lessons learned from Paris thrashing
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The victorious team with the famous trophy. (AFP)
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Updated 01 October 2018

How Europe beat the US to win the Ryder Cup — lessons learned from Paris thrashing

How Europe beat the US to win the Ryder Cup — lessons learned from Paris thrashing
  • Once again Europe looked like a proper team, cohesive and happy to be in each other's presence.
  • US were thrashed in Paris, meaning they have not won away from home since 1993.

LONDON: The dust has now settled after Europe regained the Ryder Cup, beating the US 17.5-10.5. Once again the event proved itself to be one of the most compelling in sport. Here is what we learned from the three days in France.

A CLASSY COURSE

There were a lot of murmurs from US media that the course was not fair, that it was, in effect too hard. Two years ago at Halzeltine it was bombers’ course — big hitters could smash the ball as far as possible without any real worry that bad drives would be punished. At Le Golf National golf was played as it should be — good shots rewarded bad shots punished. The Paris track was not too short or narrow, it was a fair test of golf and one which the Americans failed to prove their credentials as the “strongest” team ever assembled for the event.

PERFECT PICKS

A lot was made of Thomas Bjorn’s four captain’s picks — Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia. It was, for many, a very conservative, unimaginative choice. But experienced quartet more than justified their inclusion, scoring nine and a half points in Paris. The US picks — Tony Finau, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau — scored just two between them. Bjorn outthought Jim Furjk both on and off the course.

US’ AWKWARD ATTITUDE

Even before the thrashing in France, there was a feeling that Europe “get” the Ryder Cup — what is needed to win it and cared deeply about it — and that the US merely paid lip service to all that. That feeling only intensified over the weekend. The Europeans parked their egos in the clubhouse, came out and played as a team, the displays of friendship and camaraderie were genuine. In contrast the US, for decades now, not just in Paris, simply cannot come together for more than a few winning holes. The egos make for an utterly dysfunctional side and until they sort that out they will not get an upper hand on any European side away from home.

FANTASTIC FRANCESCO

He may have won The Open, climbed into the world’s top 10, and have received plenty of plaudits over the past few months, but their is still a sense that Francesco Molinari has not got the acclaim he really deserves. Perhaps that will change after he become the first European, and only the second golfer in the competition’s history, to win five points from five. Along with Tommy Fleetwood he created a new star pairing and twice took down Woods before beating the other big beast of the US side Phil Mickelson. He personified the understated calm with which Europe set about beating the US. Expect more to come from the Italian ace next year.

AVOID THE $9 MILLION MATCH

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson combined contributed no points from six matches. Woods’ poor record in the Ryder Cup was well known, but coming on the back of his first title for five years, his dire display was still a shock. Mickelson on the other hand might as well have stayed at home, this was surely his last Ryder Cup as a player and it was one to forget. They now have their $9 million clash to look forward to, but going on events in Paris, if they cannot get up for the battle against Europe then why should anyone be bothered about watching a grotesque exhibition match between two multi-millionaires?