Well that was a tough watch. I hate that we’ve now got to wait TWO FRIGGING YEARS for another crack at them. That’s the worst part of this post-Ryder Cup period of reflection.
Ok, it’s not the worst part – the scoreline was the worst. No, Justin Thomas and his stupid face was unquestionably the worst part.
No, the Brooks / Bryson hugging was definitely the most nauseating part of this. Or maybe it was Thomas and Daniel Berger chugging beers and whipping up the crowd on the first tee? No, actually you know what, it WAS Justin Thomas and his stupid face. Nothing was worse than that, although the complete lack of respect and common decency shown by ‘Brooksy’ and Berger to the officials is also up there.
This was a tough three days if you were rooting for Europe. I expect day three wasn’t even that much fun if you were rooting for the US as the win was in the bag and all they had to play for was inflicting utter humiliation. Some will have enjoyed that, others probably switched off long before the end as it wasn’t even a contest, it was just a beatdown.
There’s loads to unpack here, probably too much really as I could go on and on just about JT and his stupid face for at least 3,000 words, but I’ll try to put that aside and give as unbiased an account of the week as possible.
So where to start? Well in the build up we had the social media teams going head to head in their own version of Ryder Cup. Europe won that by a landslide, which is hardly surprising as their social media team works with these players all year around and seem to have the kind of relationship where they can tell the players to do literally anything and they’ll go along with it. Let’s not forget they got Tommy Fleetwood to strip naked and get into bed next to Fran Molinari and the Ryder Cup back in 2018.
The European players as a general rule just have more personality and are more fun loving than the US team. They’re just less uptight and don’t take themselves as seriously. There are exceptions of course and I could maybe see Spieth and JT doing similar and recreating the Fleetwood / Molinari video, but could you picture DJ and Brooks doing it if they’d been on the winning side in 2018? Not a chance. In fact, let’s not forget that while that video was happening Koepka and Johnson were having to be dragged away from eachother.
What we did see from Team USA socials in the build up was a staged clip of Koepka going over and saying something to Bryson on the range. There was no sound, only over the top dramatic music, so we don’t know what was being talked about but my best guess is Brooks walked over and said “They’ve told me I’ve got to come over and be seen talking to you so I am, but don’t think this makes us friends”.
He then walks away, a few fans clap and a beaming Bryson turns to the crowd and is encouraging them to cheer. His face was a picture. That guy just wants to be loved. By Brooks and the galleries. Most of the galleries do love him too, and even those who don’t are at the very least intrigued by him. He made a big impression on this Ryder Cup and for the most part is was a positive one.
As for Brooks, he just wanted to make sure everyone knew this didn’t mean they were now friends. “Nothing to see here. Team-mates talk”. Ouch. He’s such a bad try hard though. He’s been annoying the shit out of me lately and it boiled over this week. He’d be public enemy number one right now. If it weren’t for JT and his stupid face.
Bryson of course was not going to play anything down. He went the other way, saying they had dinner together twice (technically true, but there were ten other players present plus captain, vice captains and God knows how many other officials) and was even hinting that they had “something fun coming up”. Brooks was asked and predictably said “I have no idea”.
I said this months ago but this whole ‘feud’ is going to end with them emulating Tiger and Phil and playing ‘the Match’, because when it’s all said and done money trumps all, especially in professional golf. I really hope not. I’d much prefer if that ‘fun’ thing he’s referring to is actually a YouTube boxing match, but I think we all now see where this is headed and frankly the thought of it makes me want to vomit.
There was also a video put out by the US Tour socials of a young fan asking Bryson for an autograph but because of the barriers that wasn’t possible. “I can’t sign but I can give you a glove” says the big guy, before overthrowing it and it being nabbed by someone else. Bryson immediately throws another one so the kid didn’t miss out.
It’s little things like that which make a difference. Bryson knows that, so more power to him. That’s one kid who won’t grow up to write a blog in 30 years time about the arrogant golfer who made him feel small by not giving him a glove. That turd Tom Watson could learn a thing or two from DeChambeau. Yeah that’s right, I said it, and whatsmore I’ll die on this hill; Bryson DeChambeau is less of a dick than Tom Watson.
The thing that made me laugh more than anything else all week though was the picture that was on the wall in the US team room. It had all of the players with their significant others. Most of them, even the weird looking ones like JT and Cantlay, have stunning looking women and there were photos of them all. Look at Bryson’s photo though….
Honestly, I laughed at that for hours and I don’t even know why it’s so funny, because there’s nothing wrong with the fact that Bryson is single and is dedicating himself to golf. He’s a young guy, if he doesn’t want to be tied down then good for him. That photo was still hilarious though.
I also found it amusing when looking at some of the post match scenes. Various players there with their wives and partners, while Bryson is stood behind the 18th green with the Tik Tok kids he hangs out with.
Staying on the social media theme, Europe made a big deal of how few players have ever represented them in Ryder Cups. It’s fewer than the number of people who have been in space they reckon, but I guess that depends on whether you believe the moon landing was real or not, but that’s another story.
Anyway, an inspiring video was made and each player was given their own number which was put on their bag next to their name. Bernd Wiesberger was number 164 and said “I’m very, very proud to have that number for life. Everybody is buzzing.”
He’s not wrong, after watching that video I was ready to go and run through a brick wall if Padraig had asked me too. So cool. I want a number too. They should give us fans a number. I don’t care if it’s nine figures, just give me a number I can put on my golf bag as that got me proper fired up.
Most of the content put out by Europe was great but then we had the awful PR stunt of the team putting on cheeseheads and embracing the Green Bay Packers to try and win over the Wisconsin crowd. That was almost enough to make me switch allegiance to the US as I’m a Chicago Bears fan and I really don’t like the Packers. Full disclosure, the Bears have been so bad for so long I might hate them even more than I hate the Packers, but again, that’s another story.
Sergio and Rahm walked onto the tee for match one and were booed when their names were read out. It was a recurring theme throughout the week and golf purists were not happy. Personally I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. It wasn’t especially hostile, it was more like pantomime villain stuff and seemed pretty good natured on the whole. Some of the other stuff wasn’t, but the booing was nothing. It’s a Ryder Cup, not the Open.
The fan behaviour wasn’t bad at all. It was toe curlingly embarrassing at times and there was far too much “get in the water” type shouts after European shots for my liking, but overall it didn’t seem to be overly aggressive or disrespectful as it has been in the past and like I say, the booing was really not mean spirited at all.
The Spaniards put some blue on the board early with a win over Spieth and Thomas but that was as good as it got. The Americans just “opened up a can of whup ass” as they like to say. DJ and Morikawa beat Casey and Hovland, Cantlay and Shauffele demolished Rory and Poulter (winning the first five holes), while Koepka and Berger beat Westwood and Fitzpatrick.
The highlight of this session was the incredible shot by Spieth when he sent his ball into orbit and then almost ended up running down the hill into Lake Michigan. Vintage Spieth, the closest thing there is to Seve. Amazing, and probably the best ‘non-Bryson’ shot of the tournament.
And speaking of the devil…. the afternoon session was dominated by the big hitting DeChambeau even though he didn’t even win his match. Holy shit though, that was exciting stuff. He started by launching a bomb that went left of the first green but had the legs to have got there if it had been straight. He didn’t appear to shout ‘fore’ and it hit a woman on the leg. I have heard some say that he did shout but the cameras were following the ball and not him, and I did see him shouting on other occasions so maybe he’s learned that lesson. Finally.
That first hole was just a warm up for the full Bryson experience though, as a few holes later he goes and launches a 417yard drive over the water on a par five, followed by a wedge to a couple of feet for a tap in eagle. Regardless of rooting interests, I LOVED that. He cut off so much of that corner it genuinely shocked everybody. I mean look at this. LOOK AT IT! It’s incredible.
Sheffler’s drive is over 300 yards but look where Bryson is. How anyone says what he’s doing isn’t good for the game of golf is beyond me. People want to watch this shit as it’s exciting and we haven’t seen it before. It gave me a proper buzz and was just a genuinely great golfing moment. Historic even in some ways, because I’ll always remember that shot even when the rest of this event has long been consigned to the memory bin.
You just can’t take your eyes off Bryson as he’s absolute box office. There’s always something happening, good or bad. Even his caddy got in on the act, almost costing them a penalty shot a couple of holes later because he had hold of the flag when Bryson was putting and it got stuck in the hole and he couldn’t pull it out. Luckily for him the putt never reached the hole but he was frantically tugging away at it and it wouldn’t come out.
They called an elderly rules official over and he immediately pulled the flag out using just two fingers! How embarrassing is that? If I’m the caddy I’m 100% saying to everyone “yeah I must have loosened it”.
Anyway, for all Bryson’s spectacular hitting the match ended in a half against Rahm and Hatton. It was mostly Rahm, but Hatton did come up with some big shots and holed a big boy putt on 18 to secure the half.
Fleetwood and Hovland also picked up a half point against Thomas and Cantlay but that almost felt like a loss as the Euro pair were up two and Fleetwood missed a couple of tiddlers that would have put them four up. I saw Tommy missing those short ones and immediately thought “could this be my fault? Can you catch ‘shit putting’ just from standing next to someone?”
This needs further research because if so then I need to land a job as the visitors locker room attendant in a couple of years time in Italy. Mind you, me being in such close proximity to JT and his stupid face may not end well for either of us.
The other two matches went the way of the US as DJ and Xander saw off Casey and Wiesberger, while Tony Finau and Harris English wiped the floor with Rory and Shane (great time for Finau to actually start holing putts for once). Really disappointing but Rory just didn’t have it in those first two days. He looked broken actually. More on that later.
So 6-2 after the first day and although it’s been turned around before, I think we all knew this one was all over bar the shouting.
Another terrible day, although at least it ended on a high note as Hatton and Lowry gave us something to get excited about with a win in the afternoon. Lowry’s passion when sinking an 11 footer on 18 was great because it was genuine, not manufactured or fake like we saw from some. *glares at JT*
The morning foursomes saw Rory on the sidelines, probably as much for his own good as that of the team. Again, Rahm and Sergio led the way early, winning a point against Koepka and Berger, but DJ and Morikawa took care of Casey and Hatton, Spieth and JT took down Hovland and Wiesberger and in the final match Xander and Cantlay saw off Westwood and Fitzpatrick.
In the afternoon Bryson and Sheffler blew Fleetwood and Hovland away over the last six holes and DJ and Morikawa won again, kicking Rory and Poulter’s heads in. Rory hadn’t even reached the 16th hole in any of his matches, they’d all been finished by that point and he was having a nightmare.
Rahm and Sergio won again though, beating Spieth and Koepka. There was a bit of spikiness in that one as Rahm’s caddy (an American in an awkward spot) took exception to something Spieth did and words were exchanged. Neither Sergio nor Rahm seemed to have any involvement in that though, unfortunately, as with the cup gone I was just hoping for some aggro or drama now.
We got some in the afternoon fourballs but again there were no Euro players involved. This was the US players v the match referee. I hate Koepka. If you’ve been following these round ups each week you will have sensed my disdain growing by the week.
It’s been simmering but it came to a boil with the shocking lack of respect that him and Berger showed the officials when they weren’t given a drop after Berger drove it into the crap. They were bitching about how there was an object in the path of his follow through but two different officials disagreed and wouldn’t give him a drop.
Koepka was acting like an entitled brat. If he’s worried about his wrist that much then take a penalty drop. As it turns out, he couldn’t have been THAT worried because he played it from that lie, hit a great shot onto the green and lo and behold his wrist was fine. Who knew?
The way they were speaking to the two officials just reeked of entitlement. Horrible to listen to. “If I break my wrist its f***ing on you two”. Who does he think he is? Absolute dick. They should have been docked points for that. How many? I’m not sure but I’d say something like *checks final score* I don’t know, ten, would be about right.
What annoyed me even more was the way Sergio was just standing there giggling like a schoolboy and cosying up to Koepka. When I saw him there I initially assumed he’d be stirring the pot like Seve would have been, telling Koepka he needs to shut up and play the shot and for Berger to keep his nose out of it. Not gonna lie, I was disappointed at how pally Sergio was with them, but it was refreshing that Rahmbo was nowhere to be seen.
Lowry’s putt was a great moment but it was 11-5 and felt like it would get worse rather then better. My expectation for Sunday was three points as I thought Rahm, Sergio and Lowry would all win and everyone else would lose. I was wrong on the names but we did only win three and added a couple of halves as well.
Rory was off first (great call by Padraig) and delivered a point before breaking down in tears in his post round interview with Sky. Not gonna lie, that caught me off guard and I was filling up myself, which surprised me. Outside of Ryder Cups I don’t root for or against Rory. I take no joy in him not playing well but it doesn’t bother me either. Now? I’m all in on Rory and I’ll be wanting him to win every time he tees it up now (except maybe when my boy Cam is in contention).
Rory played great to beat Shauffele but Lowry couldn’t deal with Count Cantlay who just sucked the blood right out of the big Irishman. Rahm ran into a buzzsaw as Sheffler birdied every hole on the front nine, or at least it sure as hell felt like it.
Rahm played well but couldn’t hole any putts, while Sergio just got squashed by Bryson. I don’t know how that match went for as long as it did as every hole seemed to be Sergio scrambling from some awkward spot while Bryson was on every green after hitting an easy wedge in. Sergio had been way too friendly with Brooks and he was buddying up to Bryson too. Seve will be spinning in his grave.
I hate Brooks Koepka. Have I mentioned that already? He won on Sunday and he was making me sick afterwards with his “aren’t I just the coolest” demeanour. Sure, sour grapes comes into my view on it, absolutely no question, but Ryder Cup or not he does my head in regardless. Not as much as JT though.
US fans probably hate a lot of the European players when they’re celebrating and that’s fine by me. Losing sucks and it helps to have somebody you can focus your frustration and disappointment on. Fortunately I’m spoiled for choice as those US team celebrations were just too much of a “bro fest” for me.
You can win and celebrate without coming across as an obnoxious, arrogant dickhead like Thomas and Cantlay did. See Morikawa and Sheffler as two good examples. DJ too, I don’t think he’s ever shown any over the top emotion about anything. He won all five matches which ordinarily would have made me hate him just for being so damn good, but honestly he didn’t manage to annoy me or elicit any bad feelings even once.
He just strolls around like John Wayne doesn’t he? His golf shoes should have spurs on them and instead of a caddy he should have a pack mule carrying his clubs. Good luck to him, he played great and didn’t act like a goon.
Same with Scotty. I like him and hope he wins his first tour event soon. And I don’t think it’s possible to not like Morikawa is it? Just a nice lad and a phenomenal golfer.
Some of the others though… *grinds teeth*. This isn’t an anti-American thing, it’s more of an anti-dickhead thing. I knew JT was a knob even before this. Remember the sly comment he made about Bryson on social media? It was fairly low key as it was a reply to someone else rather than him just putting something out there, but it reeked of piling on and showed him up as a little snide.
Even worse was his forced ‘Captain America’ bullshit act. All that whoopin’ and hollerin’ and the whipping up the fans, not to mention the shotgunning beers on the first tee, which looked SO unnatural for him by the way. Like when some jabroni wrestler like Taz or D-Lo Brown would be chugging beers with Stone Cold… All this just confirmed him as the try hard little slapdick I suspected he was all along.
American readers will rightly point to Ian Poulter and say “hold on! What about that asshole?” and that’s a fair point. Counter point; I don’t particularly care much for Poulter either and most golf fans I know personally feel the same. He’s annoying as hell but when he’s doing it for your team you can get tolerate it, and unlike Thomas he genuinely does live for Ryder Cup (probably because unlike Thomas he doesn’t have the distraction of trying to win majors).
I’m not Poulter’s biggest fan by any means and if I was American I’d probably despise him, but I was happy for him that he won his singles match to go out in a fitting manner. Same with Westwood. Good for both of them, they’ve been Ryder Cup stalwarts.
I have no problems with celebrations as long as it seems natural and not forced. I just don’t think JT’s actions were authentic, he was hamming it up to make himself look like he cared more than the rest.
I mentioned Sheffler, DJ and Morikawa already, and I’ve no beef with Xander, Spieth or Finau either. Hell, I don’t even have anything bad to say about Bryson.
Some of the others I had no strong opinion on either way prior to this week but other than gambling there’s nothing like a Ryder Cup to give you reasons to dislike someone. For example, Harris English and his constant chewing made me want to smash his face in. Next week I’ll go back to not really caring about him.
Daniel Berger too, I couldn’t have picked that guy out in a line up before this week even though I’ve seen him play loads. He’s just got a forgettable face. Not any more. Now he has a punchable face. And don’t get me started on the Patrick ‘the walking dead’ Cantlay. He’s second only to JT in the “who I’d like to punch in the face most” power rankings.
Point of order: Brooks isn’t on that list because I’m fully aware that he’d beat the absolute snot out of me.
It’s fair to say I’m not handling this well but I do want to say that I got a kick out of most things Bryson did this week. I say ‘most’ and not ‘all’ things because he did have that petulant moment on Day Two when he was miffed about being made to hole out from a few feet and laid down his putter to make a point. Sorry big fella, when your putter is the same length as your driver you don’t get to do that.
Hardly any putts were given by anybody all week though and some of them were somewhat questionable. Westwood was made to knock one in from about a foot. I know putting isn’t his thing, but come on. The one Bryson was unhappy with wasn’t even that bad, plus I think it was on the first so why wouldn’t you test him out?
Overall, Bryson was actually one of the least unlikeable Americans this week, which is probably not something a lot of people saw coming. He was really good fun, even as a European I will say that. He whipped up the crowd at times but he did it naturally without acting like some Dollar Store Patrick Reed. *glares at JT again*.
He came in for a lot of stick in the build up because of his training for the long drive world championship, but he put that training to good use didn’t he? Some of those drives were incredible and I don’t think he gets anywhere near the credit he should do for what he is producing. It’s not just that he hits it so far, he’s hitting it really accurately too. Rory has problems hitting greens with a bloody wedge, but Bryson is doing it with driver.
In his singles match he carried his drive all the way onto the putting service and it came down from such a height it more or less stopped dead. He then knocked in the putt for eagle and I was cheering for it. Not cheering for him exactly, but cheering for what he was doing and how exciting it was.
Later in the round he pulled the driver out, which was greeted by cheers from the galleries, but after consulting his caddy he put it back in the bag and reached for the 3 wood. The crowd were disappointed, Bryson sensed the mood and said “Relax guys I’m still going for the green”. And then he smashed his 3 wood into a green side bunker, pin high. Love it. It’s just electric and the next time I’m at the Open there’s no question that his is the group I’ll be following.
Has he won over his army of critics now? Doubtful, but it was amusing seeing some American fans looking for reasons to justify why they aren’t hating on him now when they’ve spent years bashing him. Some are saying it’s just that he’s a lot more relatable when he isn’t wearing ‘the stupid hat’. Yeah that’s it. Nothing to do with the fact he was putting points on the board for the stars and stripes. No sir. It’s the hat.
Bryson played his part in this absolute beatdown and it might just stop the meathead fans giving him grief at PGA events now. I hope so, as however much of a tool he can be whenever a microphone is put in front of him, he never deserved the kind of heckling he was getting. It’s only a matter of time before he says something stupid again though as he can’t help himself.
I don’t get this narrative that is being peddled now that the Americans are going to dominate for the next ten years and that the Ryder Cup is no longer going to be competitive. It is certainly possible they will dominate, but it’s possible that Europe will too. Nobody knows because you can’t just look at the 12 players they have now and say that’s going to be the team in six or eight years. You can’t even say it will be the team in TWO years. That’s an awfully long time in golf.
Also, it’s quite funny seeing these takes from US media when the reality is that going into this week the US had won only three of the last eleven Ryder Cups. They win one and suddenly the talk is how they’re going to dominate from now until the end of time. Reign yourselves in fellas!
Something else that jumped out at me was how everyone was raving about this new found team spirit in the American camp and how because they all like each other now it makes them unbeatable. The ‘logic’ is that Europe has no chance because their togetherness was the only reason they were able to win all of these Ryder Cups against the ‘dysfunctional’ Americans. Did they lose because they were dysfunctional or were they dysfunctional because they were losing?
I’m not buying this “all in it together” thing with the US. Sure, while they’re winning it’s all good in the hood, but if they’d gotten off to a bad start and found themselves down after day one do we think they’d still have been as all bro’d up as they were? It’s easy to have a great team bond when you’re winning.
If they lose in Italy in a couple of years do you think we’ll see Bryson and Brooks hugging it out consoling each other afterwards? Do you think the US team press conference will be like the European one was here, with lads crying, laughing and jumping to the defence of team-mates and their captain when they didn’t like the line of questioning? Or do you think we’d have a ‘Phil absolutely hammering Tom Watson’ type scenario, or Brooks and DJ fighting again? I know what my money would be on.
As for the gulf in talent side of things, well that changes so quickly in golf as form comes and goes. When Rory won his fourth major who would have possibly have thought that all these years later he wouldn’t have added to it? Look at what happened to Spieth, who fell off a cliff and has only climbed part of the way back up it this year.
So players like English, Cantlay, Sheffler, Finau etc might look strong now but the Ryder Cup is littered with players like that on both sides who performed really well then didn’t even make the team next time. Look at Molinari, Martin Kaymer, even Patrick Reed. None of them even made this one.
I don’t know why America can’t just enjoy this one they’ve won – by a record margin – without getting ahead of themselves about how much they can dominate in future. Just enjoy the one you’ve won lads, because you haven’t had that many of them over the last couple of decades. And maybe win one in Europe before you start talking about world domination, complete mismatches and the impending death of the Ryder Cup?
The other thing I’m not having is this cheesy Nicklaus / Jacklin award. The ‘concession’ has to be the most overhyped irrelevant thing in the history of golf. Nicklaus had already ensured the US were retaining the trophy and the putt he conceded was well in gimme range anyway. Jacklin wasn’t missing that, but Jack always likes to make everything about him.
Golf analysts love this corny shit though. Look at how they were all wetting themselves when Spieth and Fleetwood settled for a half when they both had four footers left for par on 18 with the match all square. Spieth was getting all sorts of praise for his ‘sportsmanship’ there but was there anyone who actually thought they were going to finish that hole?
Honestly, that’s the most obvious ‘let’s call this a half’ moment you’ll ever see. The event was over and they were in the second to last group and they’d been slugging it out all day with neither man getting their noses in front by more than a hole. If Spieth had insisted they finish the hole then that would have been shocking and a really bad look for him.
Despite this ‘commendable act of sportsmanship’ Spieth didn’t win the Nicklaus / Jacklin award. DJ and Sergio got the nod for that. No idea why, presumably it was for their general conduct over the week rather than any specific incident. It’s a stupid award but I admit I’m not exactly unbiased here as I don’t like Nicklaus or Jacklin. File them both away with Tom Watson and Gary Player in the ‘not for me’ drawer.
So in summation, genuinely heartfelt congratulations to any Americans reading this (unless you’re Brooks, Cantlay or JT, in which case f*** off) and well done to Captain Steve Stricker too, who seems like a genuinely nice guy. Yes, he was blessed with a great team and a big home advantage, but he got everything right and managed to come across as a class act from start to finish. I like him. Fellow Bears fan too.
The Americans were much, much better this week so Europe will need to up their game for Italy and there will surely be a changing of the guard. Westwood and Poulter are probably done now (although Poulter might still have one more in him on a course that suits him), while who knows where Casey’s game will be in two years. Sergio will still be playing in Ryder Cups when he’s in his sixties I reckon, but we need some more Hovlands coming through and we need Lowry, Hatton and Fleetwood to really kick on over the next couple of years.
I could include Fitzpatrick in that, but that poor lad is a disaster at Ryder Cups and has some seriously bad mojo following him around. He’s a big Sheffield United fan and his Ryder Cup performance reads like the way the Blades started last season with no wins from their first 17 games. He’s not quite that bad yet but he’s not far off. I like him though, I hope he’s there in two years and tears shit up.
And finally Rory. What are we going to get from him? For years we’ve been seeing the occasional flash and wondering whether he was about to explode back into life, but it never happens. Maybe this disappointment will spur him on to get back to his best? After seeing how distraught he was, I’m all in on the great Rory reclamation project. Come on lad, use this as fuel and then lead the charge in two years and get that cup back.
MVP – DJ / Rahm
Best Pairings – DJ & Morikawa / Garcia & Rahm
Most Fun – Bryson / Lowry
Must do Better – Spieth / Rory
Best Newcomer – Morikawa / Hovland
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