This isn’t based on any inside knowledge, but nobody would be surprised if, through beer or bubbly, there were a few banging heads among members of the American side on the day after the night before in which they celebrated their Ryder Cup victory in a dominating fashion that few expected.
If that was the case, nobody could blame them.
It wasn’t just the inflated 19-9 score or the fact that they didn’t lose a session, but a breakthrough in many people’s minds for the U.S.
The Europeans had won a dozen Ryder Cups since 1985 compared to just five victories by the Americans over the same time period coming into Whistling Straits.
It’s that lopsided record that had the second-guessers questioning the Americans’ captains, captain’s picks, commitment and teamwork at various times over the years.
The win on Sunday was absolution from all that finger-pointing and it became obvious that something was special about it when Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka were seen hugging it out afterwards. If there were banging heads on Monday morning, it beat the hanging heads of previous Ryder Cups.
The big, hairy, two-ton gorilla has been removed from the Americans’ collective back and there’s plenty more where that came from, with all of their players occupying the upper stratosphere of the world golf rankings, with many of them at a young age that will make them forces to reckon with for years, in much the same way the Euros were in Ryder Cup play.
Predictions of an American dynasty in Ryder Cup play over the next 10-20 years are tough to argue with, including the one made by Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member and former PGA Tour player Richard Zokol here.
Meanwhile, the pain felt by the Europeans on Sunday evening/Monday morning was hardly the result of celebration. Just look at the emotion displayed by Rory McIlroy in admitting he let his team down at the Ryder Cup, what he describes as the greatest event in golf.
— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) September 26, 2021
McIlroy wasn’t the only European player who didn’t play up to standard last week, nor the only one to wear the long face. This one stung and for those who will be around for future Ryder Cups, they’d be well-advised to keep fresh in their minds how this one felt to use it as motivation, along with the comments of those second-guessing them today.
We’ve probably seen the last of Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood in Ryder Cup play, but even so, their contributions of the past are illustrations of how the Europeans were so successful fo many years.
The Americans usually do have the best team on paper coming into the Ryder Cup, but the final results coming out don’t always illustrate that fact, which is why the Europeans’ dominance over the years has been so confounding.
With a rebuilding and retooling job ahead of them, the Europeans will definitely be the underdogs, which they are most years anyway, in 2023 when they will be playing in front of a home crowd near Rome.
European pride, however dented after this year’s debacle, is an intangible that few will mention when predicting an American dynasty, but it’s something that has worked in the past.
Whether it can be carried forward over the bumpy road they now find themselves on is the key question that won’t be answered for two years, but it wouldn’t be the first time they found a way.
The best team on paper won this year and it was a shellacking, but it’s too early to hand future Ryder Cups to the Americans already. The are some questions that data, analytics and stats don’t answer, especially at the Ryder Cup.
We’ve been down that road before and been surprised.