2014 Ryder Cup
Gleaneagles PGA Centenary Course
What a fantastic weekend of golf at the 2014 Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup is for many the best golf event, even better than any of the four major championships. The atmosphere, the team competition, the format (various forms of match play), and second-guessing the captain’s picks all make for great discussion and entertainment.
For many years now the USA Ryder Cup team has been the underdog. Since the days the european team could pull players from all of europe instead of only the United Kingdom, the europeans have had the advantage. The last victory the USA team had on european soil dates back decades. This Ryder Cup was no different, the USA team coming as heavy underdogs.
Friday’s rounds consisted of morning fourballs and afternoon foursomes. Fourballs being best ball format and foursomes being alternate shot format. See last week’s Ryder Cup formats post for details.
Early Friday the USA team looked good, and was in a good position having won two of the four matches, tied the 3rd and lost the 4th. By morning’s end the USA team was up 2 ½ to 1 ½ and in good shape. The pairing of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed was solid with a 5&4 drubbing of Stephen Gallacher and Ian Poulter.
The afternoon foursomes however would be a different story. The USA team would only manage ½ point while the european team scored 3 ½ points to take a 5-3 lead.
Just the same as Friday, the USA team would once again score 2 ½ points in the morning fourballs to edge back into the competition.
Just the same as Friday, the european team would score 3 ½ points to the USA’s ½ point in the afternoon foursomes.
At day’s end Saturday, the european team had a commanding 10-6 lead. 10-6 leads are not insurmountable, as was proven twice in the past by the USA and the european team in 2010, but the odds of a comeback Sunday for the USA team were slim.
Sunday’s format is 12 singles matches. Every player on each team plays an individual match. Europe only needed to record four points to retain the cup, out of 10 matches. Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlory, and Martin Kaymer all scored early points, along with Justin Rose a half point. This setup a great scenario which allowed 38-year-old Ryder Cup rookie Jamie Donaldson the chance to clinch the cup by closing out Keegan Bradley 4&3.
The outcome of the 2014 Ryder Cup was not a big surprise. Most pundits figured the european team would win. Many question USA captain Tom Watson’s captain’s picks and his pairings, but in the end the european team would have likely triumphed regardless of what the USA brought to the table.