A Ryder Cup of first and records
MANILA, Philippines – The 19-9 and 10-point victory by the United States over Europe in the 2021 Ryder Cup is the largest margin of victory since the 1975 edition where the former blasted the squad from the Old Continent, 21-11, at Whistling Straits.
The previous biggest margin of victory in the 28-point era was nine points, which was achieved nine times with 2006 the most recent and by the Europeans.
“I lost my match this morning,” said Xander Schauffele of the victorious American side. “One thing that we all share in common is that we hate losing. This is probably the fastest I’ve ever personally gotten over a loss. It did feel good to look up and see a lot of red on the board.”
For his part, Europe captain Padraig Harrington said that he wasn’t initially aware that the margin of victory was a record in this 28-point Ryder Cup era.
“I wasn’t aware of it until it became close,” bared the Irishman. “And then, I did have to actually ask. And when I was told, well, I was involved in the last two that were records but on the right side of it.”
The gumption and tactics of US team captain Steve Stricker also paid off. The first three players he sent into the fray were all Ryder Cup rookies — Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay and Scottie Scheffler. In fact, Scheffler is the first player in American Ryder Cup team history to win the competition before winning an official event at the PGA Tour.
He also won his first four holes against Spaniard Jon Rahm and it set the tone for the home team.
Under the current format of playing 12 singles matches on the final day of the cup, this is the first time a team sent out three rookies to start out.
Collectively, the American rookies went 14-4-3 for 15.5 points in this 43rd Ryder Cup. The number is the highest rookie total by either side in the 28-point era and it bested the previous mark of 15 points, also set by the US in 1979.
Noted US Ryder Cup veteran Dustin Johnson, who went 5-0 in this competition (and joined a select group that includes Arnold Palmer and Gardner Dickinson in 1967, Larry Nelson in 1979, and Francesco Molinari in 2018) to have accomplished the feat, “It didn’t feel like there were (rookies) because they have all played well in such bug moments and big tournaments.”
Every single move that Stricker – who won as a player in the Ryder Cup in 2008 and now as a non-playing captain – made seemed to have worked out from his not being overly rah to his parings to name a few.
“I really had nothing planned for the week,” admitted Stricker, “No speeches from anybody. No videos. We all know it’s a huge event as it is. We don’t need some famous person to come in and tell us how important it is and we need to get fired up to do this and do that.”
“I just tried to make it easy on them, which is really what I wanted to do in the 2017 Presidents’ Cup team. I put them in positions where they could go out and feel good about who they are playing and let them relax. Go back to the hotel, sleep, take a nap, do whatever you want to do. Just like a normal week. That was my style for both events, both teams that I captained.”
The tactics worked. Ten of the 12 Americans finished with at least 1.5 points over the weekend that matched the record in the 28-point era. The Americans had 10 players in the 2008 and 2016 squads and the Europeans also had the same in 1997.
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