All the pre-tournament talk was about how many points the USA were going to beat Europe by, especially after Tiger Woods won the PGA Tour Championships the week before, and it looked like a galvanised USA team would be retaining The Ryder Cup for sure. But the Europeans came out on top and there was no secret in how they climbed to the mountain summit.
The team comradery was obvious and they were expertly paired for the fourballs and foursomes, things I think were the key aspects of why Europe won. Thomas Bjorn trusted his players completely and set them up to feed off each other. He rested players when needed so that when the Sunday singles arrived, every player was fresh to go to battle. By contrast, team USA had issues in their dressing room, players were not happy with who they are playing alongside and frustrated at why they weren’t playing. Selecting Phil Mickelson for the fourballs was a very strange choice, especially with the experienced American massively out of form and struggling to find a fairway. While Patrick Reed only played three out of the five times – the same guy who destroyed the Europeans last time out in the event on his home soil.
The golf course played an important part too, with narrow fairways with penal rough, which made it tough to hit the water and bunker-surrounded greens. The course without doubt suited the straighter-hitting Europeans.
Hats off to the Americans though, as they were very gracious in defeat, showing their congratulations to the European players. The Ryder Cup creates huge rivalry and passion on the course, especially compared to the calmness of a normal PGA golf tournament, but it also showcased players on both sides being massively respectful and playing the game in the correct spirit.
Although Europe were the winners, golf itself has been the overall winner recently. With Tiger Woods returning to the winner's enclosure and then a hugely successful Ryder Cup, the game is certainly on the up.