Four reasons why Europe won the Ryder Cup
Sam Rogers gives four reasons why Paul McGinley's Europe team won the Ryder Cup
Europeans hole the important putts at important times
With America dominating the morning sessions on Friday and Saturday, Paul McGinley’s charges knew they had to keep pressure on their opponents before the USA side got away from them. On a number of occasions over the weekend, many of the European players would sink a putt to halve a hole or even nick a hole back, just to keep in touch before coming to the fore in the afternoon. Even Sergio Garcia, whose troubles with the putter have been well-publicised, dropped some impressive putts to keep in his matches. One putt in particular that stands out for team Europe was that of Ian Poulter during the Friday fourballs. Garcia and Rory McIlroy trailing dormie two to Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker, only for the world number one to sink a 45-footer to take the match up the 18th which they also won for a crucial half. Moments like that gave the Europeans all the momentum at key times over the weekend.
Never say die attitude broke American resistance
It was only on occasion over the weekend that a European match looked dead and buried for the hosts. Ian Poulter and Stephen Gallacher’s dismantling at the hands of Patrick Reed and Jordan Speith was a rare blot on an otherwise unblemished weekend for the Europeans. In so many matches over the weekend, Europeans came back from deficits to record halves of even full points for their side’s cause. Poulter and McIlroy’s well-earned half on Saturday morning, Martin Kaymer and Justin Rose battling to get a half in the Saturday foursomes and Graeme McDowell fighting back from three down to win on Sunday were just three moments that gave the Europeans the momentum and instilled the same self-belief that saw Europe fight back in Chicago to win at Medinah two years ago.
The Europeans are simply better at the alternate shot format
Having lost both sets of ‘fourballs’ where both players play the whole round and take the best score between them for each hole, the Europeans needed to show their worth in the alternate shot ‘foursomes’ format which sees the players take turns teeing off and then alternate shots to play a single round of golf between them. The Europeans quite simply dominated the foursomes, winning a record seven points from a possible eight available. Both sessions were big momentum shifters for the hosts as they entered the first one trailing after Friday’s fourballs only to end the day leading 5-3 and then saw their lead cut to a point before ending the second day with a four-point lead to take into Sunday’s singles. The close-knit feeling you get from the Europeans can probably be attributed to why they are so successful in a format that leaves you relying heavily on your partner.
Ego-less team stronger than group of individuals over the three days
There is no denying that the Americans are a great set of players, but as a team, Europe win hands down. You get the feeling from the Americans that they are having to buy into the ‘Team USA’ ethos and that the passion of team golf is merely a poorly constructed publicity stunt. For the Europeans, it is like they are a group of mates playing at their local club, and they value team success far above the individual acheivements. There were no egos to be found in the European camp, despite having the best player in the world alongside some of the most familiar faces in sport having to pull together for the greater good of the side. Nothing echoes this point more strongly than Phil Mickelson’s scathing criticism of his captain Tom Watson just hours after their side lost at Gleneagles. The experience left-hander then flew home alone in his personally chartered jet to show.