For triumphant European golf fans, the galling thing about America’s relationship with the Ryder Cup is that much of the US simply does not care about the tournament. On Sunday most sport fans in the States were discussing Taylor Swift’s appearance at an NFL game, the final day of the MLB regular season or Jrue Holiday’s trade to the Boston Celtics.
But that’s not to say that no one cares. And, for the most part, the US press gave Europe credit for a comprehensive victory. “Europe’s Ryder Cup triumph was down to meticulous planning, clever leadership and a strategy of drawing on the competition’s history,” wrote Tom Hamilton and Mark Schlabach of ESPN. They also gave credit to Europe captain Luke Donald and his vice-captain, Edoardo Molinari.
“Molinari’s grasp of stats contributed the data behind picking the pairings, while Donald also looked to arbitrary aspects like compatibility. It wasn’t a case of putting best mates alongside one another but instead a deep dive into how ability and strengths married, and it paid off brilliantly,” they wrote.
In the Washington Post, Rick Maese highlighted Europe’s use of home advantage. “For three days, the Europeans treated the road-weary Americans like unwanted house guests, eager to be done with them as soon as possible. They had no problem reinforcing the biggest Ryder Cup truth of them all: There is simply no place like home.”
As for the American team, “very little went right.” Hamilton and Schlabach say that “[Zach] Johnson’s captaincy won’t be remembered fondly, but he can’t take all the blame for another American failure across the pond. Spieth couldn’t hit a ball straight. World No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele couldn’t make a putt. Scheffler, Spieth and Collin Morikawa have combined to win six major championships. They combined to win one match at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club”.
Maese believed USA’s campaign was doomed almost as soon as it started.
“Europe won the Ryder Cup … thanks in large part to a blazing fast start that plunged the United States into a deep hole before the Americans had barely stuck a tee in the ground,” he wrote.
But for all the debate over whether Patrick Cantlay’s lack of headwear was a symbol of internal dissent in the US team, Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch believed the real problems lie elsewhere.
“In Rome, the US team … traded acrimony for apathy, delivering a performance more befitting the last morning of a buddies’ trip to Myrtle Beach, without the redeeming excuse of thundering hangovers that would at least suggest fun was had along the way,” he wrote.