When European players won the Ryder Cup in Paris in 2018, they had fun at the expense of an American journalist who predicted that an American victory would precede a decade of “blowouts”.
But after their record-breaking loss at the hands of a new generation of American stars at Whistling Straits, there’s no laughing matter if the prediction turns out to be a little premature.
FedEx Cup winner Patrick Cantlay was one of six rookies to the victorious US squad but, with his team leading 11-5 heading into Sunday’s 12 singles matches, urged his teammates to reach 20 points “to send a message” to their opponents.
Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth also boldly claimed that Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, Xander Sc Chaudele, Scottie Scheffler and Daniel Berger – all in their 20s – could even turn the tide of home winners and repeat the same 19-9. score at the Marco Simone Golf Club in Italy in 2023.
And while the United States now relies on players with less scar tissue – or no scar tissue at all – to play at a time when Europe dominated the biennial competition, Whistling Straits has proven to be one too many for Lee Westwood. , 48, Ian Poulter (45) and Paul Casey (44).
Sergio Garcia, 41, won three points alongside world number one Jon Rahm, although it will be a tall order for the pair to live up to their billing of the new “Spanish Armada” and emulate Seve Ballesteros and JosÃ© Maria Olazabal’s 11-2-2 record.
Rory McIlroy, who was the first to challenge the American journalist at that post-event press conference in Paris, said: an advantage every time we play this thing.
âIt was obvious in Paris a few years ago. I think it was pretty obvious this week too. You go back to Hazeltine, same sort of thing. This is the model on which we are.
âBut obviously the American team, there is phenomenal talent in this team. A lot of young people, and I think the most important thing for the American team is that a lot of young people who are great players have joined the Ryder Cup. I think this was probably lacking in previous generations.
âGuys like Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, the kind of heartbeat of this American team, they really got into the team aspect of the Ryder Cups, the Presidents Cups.
âAnd having guys like that on the squad, yeah, they’re going to be a formidable opposition from now on until I probably don’t play at the Ryder Cups, when that will be, hopefully 20 years from now. “
Attention is now turning to who will captain each team in 2023, with US captain Steve Stricker ruling out a second spell and Lee Westwood the front-runner to lead Europe’s bid to claim the trophy.
One of the recommendations of the ‘task force’ put in place by the Americans after their acrimonious defeat at Gleneagles in 2014 was better succession planning, with two-time major winner Zach Johnson – who was one of the vice-captains. de Stricker in Wisconsin – set to be given the role.
Westwood has made no secret of his desire to succeed Padraig Harrington as Europe captain, although the fact that he recovered from two losses with four to go to beat Harris English in his otherwise insignificant singles means that ‘he still nurtures the ambition of a record 12th appearance as a player. .
âThis might be the last game I played in the Ryder Cup,â said Westwood. âI would prefer it not, but I’m 49 this coming April, and it is likely that I will. I was able to share it with my son (Sam, his caddy). I won my point.
âThese are special moments there. We can represent Europe there this week. It’s a great place. The other team represents the United States. Great place. Represent a lot of people.
âIf you don’t have pride and passion, then this isn’t for you. Don’t even bother to introduce yourself.