After a wild week at Hazeltine, the United States finally broke out of their Ryder Cup slump. Not only did the American team secure its first win since 2008, but they did so in dominant fashion, starting off the week with a 4-0 sweep of the morning foursome, and ending it by winning five of the final six singles matches on Sunday.
Here are my biggest winners and losers this week at the Ryder Cup.
Do I even have to elaborate? This man may have single-handedly won the Ryder Cup for the American side. Yeah, his play was fantastic, but his combination of tenacity and patriotism was really what made Reed the best player of the week.
Reed was able to earn 3.5 points on the week, but stealing a full point versus Rory MciIroy on Sunday was what put this Ryder Cup performance from good to fantastic. Most would agree, the match between McIlroy and Reed was possibly the most entertaining Ryder Cup match of all time.
Patrick Reed has always been a polarizing among golf fans. After his performance on Sunday, I think it’s safe to say he’ll be a fan favorite for a very long time.
Brooks Koepka, Brandt Snedeker:
Probably my favorite group of the weekend, these two were the perfect mix of power
and putting. Both players earned three points a piece, as Snedeker swept his matches 3-0. Koepka went 3-1, winning his Sunday single match against Danny Willet 5&4.
Koepka’s performance was definitely a pleasant surprise for the American side. The 26-year-old showed us that this Ryder cup selection was no fluke, as it appears Koepka has the talent to dominate for years to come.
Possibly the best player for Europe, the Belgian rookie was able to go earn 4 points in 5 matches, his only loss coming on Friday in the morning foursomes. Pieters carried himself like a veteran, shushing the American crowd at every opportunity he had.
Pieters, who most knew little about heading into the week, has won 3 times on the European tour.
One thing that stood out about Pieters was his power off the tee. Twice this weekend he was paired with Dustin Johnson, the longest hitter on the PGA tour, and in both days he was able to match Johnson’s length, beating Johnson twice in both matches. Pieters was one of the few bright spots for a rather disappointing week for team Europe.
Westwood went 0-3 in all of his matches, including a loss against Ryan Moore that clinched the Cup for the American side.
If you witnessed Westwood’s putting meltdown on Saturday afternoon, you know exactly why he is on the losers list. Westwood reminded all amateur golfers out there that the pros can get the putting yips too.
Westwood missing two ‘knee-knockers’ on 17 and 18 was the first time I, as a fan, said, “Wow, we really have a good shot at winning this thing.”
If you saw what Pete Willett had to say about the American fans prior to this Ryder Cup, you knew his brother, Danny, was going to have a tough time having any success with the hostile American crowds.
Willett went 0-3 in his matches, earning 0 points and losing in embarrassing fashion on Sunday to Brooks Koepka 5&4.
After the event, Willett went on to say his brother was correct about the American Fans. Safe to say Danny didn’t have a fun week at Hazeltine.
The European Rookies (excluding Pieters):
Excluding Thomas Pieters, the European Rookies went 3-9 on the week. Rafa Cabrera Bello, another bright spot for the European side, earned two of those three wins.
Between Matthew Fitzpatrick, Andy Sullivan, and Chris Wood, none of them showed promise in any of their matches. Granted, playing with crowds like the ones that showed up this week would’ve been tough for most rookies.
When you really look at how the matches broke down, if the rookies just went .500, Europe would’ve had a good shot at winning the Cup. Stacking the rookies on the back-end of the Sunday singles matches was definitely a mistake. It put a lot of pressure on the first six players to get four or five points, which ultimately was a near impossible task.
I have no doubt that this week will go down as one of the great Ryder Cups of all-time. The fans came out ready to go crazy, and the players gave them a lot to cheer about.
Seeing an event this entertaining makes you wish every golf tournament had so much excitement. Overall, this was a fantastic week for not only team USA, but golf as a whole.