Ryder Cup Recap – Record Breaker at Whistling Straits
The United States Ryder Cup team entered the 43rd edition of the event as favorites over the European team with odds of -190, something they’ve been familiar with but rarely delivered on over the last 36 years.
…The Americans sprinted out to a 3-1 lead in the opening foursomes session and never looked back…
Captain Steve Stricker, with help from a Tiger Woods text, unleashed his team that was filled with top ten players and major champions on a group of 12 unsuspecting players led by world number one Jon Rahm.
Padraig Harrington’s squad turned out to be no match for Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, and almost every other member of the U.S. team, succumbing 19-9, which paid out at +6600, the worst defeat for any team since the format was changed to a total of 28 points in 1979.
The Americans sprinted out to a 3-1 lead in the opening foursomes session and never looked back, building a 9-3 advantage by Saturday afternoon’s four-ball matches when the Europeans had their best result of the event, battling to a 2-2 draw but still trailing 11-5 heading to Sunday’s singles showdowns.
No team had ever mounted a comeback when more than four points behind following the team sessions, and other than an opening 3 and 2 win by Rory McIlroy over Xander Schauffele, the Europeans weren’t able to build any early momentum.
Collin Morikawa finally put the Europeans out of their misery and delivered the inevitable, a tie with Viktor Hovland that secured a half-point for the Americans that gave them the necessary 14 ½ to wrest the Cup away from their opponents.
Europe managed just 2 ½ other points on Sunday with wins by Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood to go with Tommy Fleetwood’s tie with Jordan Spieth. If it hadn’t been for the team of Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia, who accounted for 3 ½ of Europe’s five points in the team matches, the final result could have been far worse.
Garcia ran his Ryder Cup point record to 29 points with his 3-1-1 effort for the week, the same as Rahm, and he also eclipsed Nick Faldo’s mark of 23 match wins, establishing the new standard at 25. It wasn’t much consolation for a team that may be facing a bleak future at the hands of their American counterparts.
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Dustin Johnson, who had odds of +1200 to win the most Ryder Cup points and +700 as the top American, became just the fourth player to win five matches at the Ryder Cup, joining Dow Finsterwald, Arnold Palmer, and Francesco Molinari in accomplishing the difficult feat.
Not only does it take an incredible performance to win five matches, but it also requires getting the opportunity to play in every session.
Patrick Cantlay went 3-0-1 for the United States, partnering with Schauffele for a pair of important foursomes wins on Friday and Saturday morning. Collin Morikawa also went 3-0-1, with his three victories coming when paired with Dustin Johnson.
Other than Rahm, who paid out +330 as the European to win the most points for his side and Garcia, no one on the European side was able to collect more than a point, with Paul Casey going 0-5-0 with Matt Fitzpatrick and Bernd Wiesberger shut out in their three matches.
The average age of the United States team was 29, with only two players in their thirties and their oldest, Dustin Johnson at age 37, delivered the most points in the competition, boding well for future United States teams.