Ryder Cup 2014: Three talking points as Europe romp to cup victory
Ryder Cup 2014: Three talking points as Europe romp to 16 ½ - 11 ½ victory over USA
Singles dominated by red but fades to blue by the end
With just four points needed to retain the Ryder Cup, Europe knew the travelling Americans would come out of the blocks fast and hard, and try and get points on the board early to put pressure on – much on the way the hosts did in Medinah two years ago. For the first two hours, that was the case with the USA up in the majority of matches to the extent at one point the projected score was a draw. As the most sceptical among the European fans would have been fearing the worst, Graeme McDowell charged back from the abyss to take control of the lead match to steady some nerves. Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia won well in the middle over Bubba Watson and Jim Furyk respectively before Jamie Donaldson sealed the victory with a 4&3 win over Keegan Bradley. While the 40th edition of the Ryder Cup didn’t carry the same tension and nervous conclusion that has been seen in Chicago, the standard of golf for the most part has been of the highest order and it has been a delight to watch for true golf fans regardless of what side of the Atlantic they hail from.
McIlroy sets the tone with dismantling of Fowler
With just four points needed to retain the cup, it would have been easy for Paul McGinley to go top heavy and get the job done early but in truth he got his order perfect today. What he did want though was a European to stand up and make a statement and there was no better than the best player in the world currently, fellow Irishman Rory McIlroy. McIlroy was placed number three in the line-up and would face off against one of Tom Watson’s most form players in Rickie Fowler. The Americans had already said how big the scalp of McIlroy would to their confidence and self belief, and that the defeat of the Irishman would spark a massive albeit unlikely comeback. Instead McIlroy blew Fowler out of the water with a devastating spell of matchplay golf. Five up after six holes, the match was effectively over with two-thirds of it left to play. That gave the Europeans below McIlroy a lift to turn their matches around and get Europe over the line.
Dominant European victory looks set to be an ongoing theme
Just like McIlroy on the Sunday at Gleneagles, Europe have dominated this cup. The foursomes in particular was where McGinley’s charges shone, taking a record seven points from the eight on offer over the two days. The biggest thing for the Europeans is the fact they were able to pick tried and tested Ryder Cup veterans in two of their three wildcards because such was the standard of golf of the prospective new talent like Frenchman Victor Dubuisson and Welshman Jamie Donaldson. While the Americans carry the aura of a collection of superstars, the Europeans just feel like a team. A close-knit group of players at varying stages in their careers coming together to battle for a collective cause. While the Europeans make it blatently obvious just hoe much it means to them, the Americans almost seem embarrassed to show passion when not on more familiar shores. With the talent coming through in the European ranks, it is hard to see where the Americans can change their fortunes in two years time in Minnesota. The rookies were impressive on the whole and both sides will be proud of their newcomers, but pound-for-pound you can’t look past Europe for Ryder Cup dominance for the foreseeable future.