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Parting Shots from the 2021 Ryder Cup, Where the USA Was Always Two Steps Ahead

The Europeans suffered from too many aging stars who aren’t quite the same and not enough rising young studs. The Americans? Just the opposite, writes Morning Read's Gary Van Sickle.

SHEBOYGAN, Wis.—A glitch said it all:

“Your product is outdated” read a message in bright red letters that suddenly appeared on the big digital leaderboard in the Ryder Cup pressroom, blotting out a large portion of the scores.

The message referred to a program being used to run the scoreboard. But it may as well have referred to the European Ryder Cup team. After the Americans dominated the first three sessions and won each by identical 3–1 margins, building their biggest lead since 1975 when Europe was merely Great Britain & Ireland, it’s clear that the fortunes of the two Ryder Cup teams have changed.

The Europeans suffered from having too many aging stars who aren’t quite the same as they used to be and not enough rising young studs. The Americans? Just the opposite.

It's easy to overreact to a lopsided American victory on a week that caught a majority of the U.S. playing their best and a majority of the Europeans not playing well. But think about the future.

Ryder Cup warhorses such as Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and Justin Rose (who missed this team) are in their 40s and, who knows, may not make another team. Jon Rahm is the world’s best but he was light on backup this week.

The Americans are loaded with younger, proven winners. The successful duo of Patrick Cantlay, 29, and Xander Schauffele, 27, were a foursomes juggernaut. So were Collin Morikawa, 24, and Dustin Johnson, 37. Mix in four-time major champ Brooks Koepka, 31; U.S. Open champ Bryson DeChambeau, 28; breakthrough star Scottie Scheffler, 25; Tony Finau, 31; and then major champion winners Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, each 28, and the Americans have a solid future.

Anyone hoping to make the 2023 Ryder Cup team is realistically playing for only two or three available spots. The aforementioned players will be hard to outplay.

The Europeans have a wide open lineup and a dearth of stars waiting in the wings. Victor Hovland, Shane Lowry and Tyrrell Hatton are solid but don’t look like top-10 in the world material. Beyond France’s Victor Perez and Sweden’s Alex Noren, the other talent out there is unproven or as yet undiscovered.

Is the long run of European Ryder Cup success about to turn into a streak by the Americans? It looks that way for now. But you never know how quickly your product can become obsolete.

Other Ryder Cup thoughts ...

The USA Fans Turned it Around Sunday

Let’s hear it for the Wisconsin fans who showed up for Sunday’s singles matches. When the European competitors were introduced, they received polite applause. Rahm even got a pretty loud ovation for an opponent. The fans showed him respect for his superlative play and 3-0-1 record the first two days.

The sportsmanship was an about-face from the first two days when Europeans were introduced and roundly booed. That was a Ryder Cup first, as far as I can recall. Booing a player upon introduction is not in line with sportsmanship. There have been instances of booing throughout moments of play but at the introduction? Fans at all sporting events have been less civil since the pandemic. Did we forget how to be around other people? Have we forgotten we’re not just yelling at the TV screen or what?

The booing on the first tee by Wisconsin spectators was classless. It was nice not to have it happen again Sunday morning.

The Route to the Course Was Farm-Friendly

Traffic en route to Whistling Straits on Sunday morning was backed up again. The route to the media parking lot is normally a small, two-lane country road past some farms. At one farmhouse, a woman stood in her front yard waving at the line of cars that inched past, while her black-and-brown dog poked around the base of her mailbox.

“Good morning,” she yelled cheerily to each motorist who acknowledged her. She had a green T-shirt on (probably Packers gear) beneath a gray unzipped hoodie.

Why? Just being friendly. You will not see this during any traffic jam when the Ryder Cup goes to Bethpage Park in New York in 2025.

Best suggested headline about the Europeans’ situation going into Sunday’s singles:

Dire Straits.

Bryson DeChambeau Hit the Shot of the Week

There are a lot of nominees but nothing tops Bryson DeChambeau driving the first green in Sunday’s singles. The hole is listed at 368 yards. DeChambeau’s drive actually landed on the putting surface on the fly.

The ensuing 35-foot eagle putt curled to the right and toppled into the cup for an eagle and a quick lead over Sergio Garcia.

Payback is a You-Know-What

Tony Finau at the 2021 Ryder Cup.

Tony Finau helped the American side win the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.

Tony Finau of the U.S. said this about the big American lead Saturday night:

“We’ve got one heck of a healthy lead. We’ve got 12 hungry guys to get this thing done tomorrow. They have a really tall task in front of them. They have run the score up on us before. If we have the opportunity, we are going to run it up on them tomorrow.”

We know how that turned out.

The American and European MVPs

For the U.S.: The Americans have half a dozen legit nominees but there is no looking past Dustin Johnson, who went 5–0 and never looked as if he wasn’t going to go 5–0.

For Europe: Jon Rahm, slam dunk, regardless of the singles match when he ran into a buzzsaw named Scottie Scheffler. Rahm was 3-1-1 and played superlative golf.

More Ryder Cup Coverage on Morning Read

- Parting Shots from a Ryder Cup Where U.S. was Always Two Steps Ahead
- 5 Mistakes Europe Made That Left Them Shorthanded
- Dishing Out Grades for Every Player's Performance
- Video: What Made This U.S. Team So Good?
- American Red Wave Washed Over Europe
- Rory Swears in Emotional Interview, Apologizes
- DJ is First American to go 5-0 Since 1979
- US Wins Back Cup in Dominant Fashion
- Readers Sound Off on Brooks Koepka's Cursing