The 2021 Ryder Cup has come to an end, and hand up, I was wrong. Believe me, I am very pleased with the result, no doubt. I did not expect the whooping USA was about to give Europe in Wisconsin. Holy crap this US team was good. Captain Steve Stricker said it was the best team ever in the cup, and I 100% agree. Statistically, there isn’t an argument because this team had 19 total points, the most ever recorded in the event. The crowd was definitely stacked to the side of the United States, as many European fans were held at home due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. If any putt was made by the US team, you could hear it across Lake Michigan. The crowd was absolutely electric. I thought the drama and lack of unity on the US side would be their downfall, as the European team would rally behind Captain Harrington’s mission. They must have had some week of preparation behind the scenes because I would have never seen Bryson hugging Brooks on Sunday coming. There is a lot to unpack with this display of dominance by the United States, but I have narrowed down the key takeaways here.
The United States young studs are going to be good for a while
We had a little preview of this at the Presidents Cup in 2019, but the United States has a new cast of characters compared to the last cup in France. Out are Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods as their time representing the USA is likely over. Enter Colin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay, Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele along with a new generation of young talent. You could consider Bryson Dechambeau, and Justin Thomas veterans with their previous year of Ryder Cup experience, but they are both still young. That leaves the oldest guy on this Ryder Cup roster for the US as Dustin Johnson, at 37 years old. Also FYI, Dustin was 5-0 this weekend playing in every match and slaughtered Paul Casey in 4 of 5 of those matches. The new kids on the block are going to be something to watch, and not to mention the young guns that didn’t make the cup like Will Zalatoris, Matthew Wolff, and Cameron Champ. It’s important to note some pretty notable names that were off this year’s cup team due to this stacked young lineup like Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, and Gary Woodland (all of which played in the 2019 Presidents Cup team).
Europe’s veteran lineup can’t get it done anymore
Team Europe’s lineup was heavily dependent on veteran leadership. Out of the 12 men on the playing roster, only three players were first-timers. 3 of those players are under the age of 30. Team Europe set records this year with multiple players setting records for cups made and points earned. Most of those accolades were won by Sergio Garcia, as the Spaniard now has the most recorded points for any member to play for Team Europe. The heroics of Team Europe mostly came behind the Spanish Armada of Sergio and world number one Jon Rahm. Jon Rahm looked unstoppable after days 1 and 2, making putts from pretty much everywhere. But when it mattered most, he ran into the Scottie Scheffler buzzsaw and was destroyed. The vets of the Euro roster were silenced, apart from some victories in the Sunday singles. Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, and Paul Casey were a serious weak spot in the lineup, as the veteran group scrapped only two points out of the US on Sunday. The big question is what’s next for Europe? Viktor Hovland and Matthew Fitzpatrick are the only players on the roster that seem to be locked as strong European players for the years to come. Tyrell Hatton and Jon Rahm seem to be in their prime and will be around for years to come. But perhaps we are seeing the end of the road for Poulter, Westwood, and Garcia. Rory will be around for a few more, but something has to give. Where is the young talent for Europe? Two names to look out for in the future for Europe, Guido Migliozzi and Robert MacIntyre.
Dustin Johnson is Captain America
Everyone online keeps saying, “Justin Thomas is Captain America!” Justin Thomas had a very good Ryder Cup, don’t get me wrong. But when you play all five matches and win ALL five matches, you put the team on your back and drag them to the finish line for over a third of the team’s total points. Dustin Johnson did just that at this year’s Ryder Cup. After a rough end to the year, there was a big question as to what DJ was going to bring to this year’s team. Were we going to get the DJ at year’s end, or would it be a newly recharged DJ who would lead the team as the oldest member? We got the latter, and it was a performance for the record books. Poor Paul Casey took the brunt of the American’s stellar play, but from wedge play to accurate drives, DJ did it all against every opponent. One thing I did notice is that Dustin has lost some yards off the tee. Morikawa and Xander were outdriving him off the tee all week, but you can always make up for distance with an incredible short game. DJ may be getting older, but he dominated this week, much as he dominated the past few years on tour.
The winds of change are blowing. The United States made a statement with this dominant win over Europe. Perhaps this will change the pace of the Cup. Previously the Europeans had won 7 of the last 10 Ryder Cups. The US is back on the board with a statement win. Young talent proves yet again to be the catalyst to winning a multi-day event like this. In 2023 the cup will head to Rome, Italy where Europe will once again host. There is only one thing left to say to conclude this year’s action, “USA USA USA”.