The United States’ 17-11 victory over Europe was their first victory since 2008, and only their third title in 21 years. A team boasting the likes of Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed, cheered on by a raucous Minnesota crowd, was always favourites against a European team consisting of six rookies. IMPACT Sport looks at who should still be part of the European Ryder Cup team in two years time.
The on-course leader of the European team and by far and away the most mercurial talent in the European ranks. Rory was the shouting, swaggering answer to the American crowds that the European fans wanted, and his titanic battle with Patrick Reed on the Sunday was the stuff of theatre.
His partnership with Thomas Pieters, which won three points across Friday and Saturday, looks like a partnership for years to come. A dead certainty.
The Open Champion struggled at times against the sheer ferocity of Jordan Spieth and the talismanic Patrick Reed in the foursomes and fourballs, but showed his quality in his 3&2 win over Spieth. He will be there in Paris barring serious injury, and will be one of the leading names in Europe’s attempt to regain the Ryder Cup.
Only two majors under his belt before the Ryder Cup, and the young Belgian takes four points out of a possible five. Not only the best display by a European rookie, but at times he was carrying McIlroy in the fourballs. A cold-blooded and supreme talent who will be almost certainly kick on from his first Ryder Cup experience, and be there in Paris.
Lost his first singles match against Rickie Fowler on Sunday, in a match Europe really needed to win to have a chance of maintaining the Ryder Cup. The Olympic champions’ quality is undeniable, and his ability to produce magic akin to the putt on the 16th at Medinah four years ago means he will always be in contention.
Will be his sixth Ryder Cup come 2018, and his experience will be vital, and the pairing of Rose and Stenson could well have a huge part to play in Paris.
The only European to stay unbeaten across the weekend, although he only played three matches. His all-Spanish partnership with Sergio Garcia performed near-miracles to recover from four shot down to halve with Reed and Spieth, and their 3&2 win over JB Holmes and Jimmy Walker was full of quality.
Cabrera-Bello should not have been benched for the Saturday afternoon session, and Europe missed him. If he continues on his fine run of form, he deserves a chance at winning a Ryder Cup.
To watch his battle with Phil Mickelson on Sunday was to understand why he is considered by some to be one of the best players never to win a major. 19 birdies between the two players and two sub-63 scores tell you all you need to know. He will play.
A captain’s pick and looked every bit a man who is on his way out. Struggled throughout the weekend, and his capitulation against Ryan Moore, having led by two with three to play, seemed an unfortunate swan-song for a man who has blessed Ryder Cups for the last two decades. Giving a rookie of this year a second bite at the cherry seems a better option.
A tough week for the Masters champion, not helped by the comments made by PJ Willett pre-tournament. Willett clearly struggled to deal with the boos from certain parts of the crowd, and wilted under the pressure. He may have won the Masters but he is yet to convince me that he can handle the spotlight of a Ryder Cup showdown. Work to do.
VERDICT: MISS (as yet)
The man who sunk the winning putt at Medinah was another one of the wildcard picks who struggled to make an impact. Relatively experienced at Ryder Cups but one who may well have played his last, having only picked up a point in his nominal singles match, after the US victory had been completed.
Only one chance to show his quality before the singles, and lost the two matches he played in. Time is on his side however, and made the Ryder Cup team on merit alone; the 22-year old, if he continues on his current trajectory, will be there in 2 years’ time, and all the better for his first Ryder Cup experience.
A tough Friday foursomes, paired with Rory McIlory against Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, and not seen again until the singles. Surely, having made the team via the order of merit, Sullivan deserved another fourballs or foursomes match to show his talents, especially with Westwood, Willett and Kaymer struggling? Hard to call on whether should play in Paris, but the benefit of the doubt will be given, as he was certainly not worse than Willett on his debut.
A good Saturday foursomes win with Justin Rose over Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson, and played well in defeat against U.S. Open Champion and world number two Dustin Johnson, a man who has had a stellar 2016. It looks like he will need some strong major performances in the next two years to cement his Ryder Cup place.
Featured image courtesy of ‘John Beagle’ via Flickr.
Article image courtesy of ‘Corn Farmer’ via Flickr.
Image usage license here.