Ryder Cup: What can Europe learn from Whistling Straits and how do they tackle USA’s future force? | Golf News

Paul McGinley

Golf journalist

Team Europe lost 19-9 at Whistling Straits in September, the biggest in their history; Europe is expected to appoint a successor to Padraig Harrington as captain in early 2022, ahead of Italy’s 2023 competition.

Last updated: 24/12/21 6:15

Europe was beaten 19-9 by Team USA at Whistling Straits

Europe was beaten 19-9 by Team USA at Whistling Straits

After the postponement of the Ryder Cup in 2020 we saw his return in September. The result has ended many Ryder Cups over the past two decades with a home win, although this has gone even further with a record point difference between the two teams.

So what went wrong from a European perspective and should we be concerned about America’s strength, both on and off the path, moving forward? As both teams’ Ryder Cup landscape has evolved, the answer as many when trying to project future results is somewhere in between.

Let’s start with America. There is now a difference in the fact that they now have their home to a standard we have never seen before. They’ve always had great players, but the handling of those players and their cohesion as a unit has never been better than that of Whistling Straits.

A look at the best of the action from the final day of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

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A look at the best of the action from the final day of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

A look at the best of the action from the final day of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

That cohesion, combined with their youth and freshness, made them a formidable opponent, the best I’ve ever seen in my time playing, captaining and now commenting on the Ryder Cups.

Simply put, America has come together having learned carefully from its mistakes. These factors, combined with the relentlessly talented production line of quality players they produce, have made them a terrific package that they will in all likelihood carry on.

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If we Europeans are to see this as the new baseline against which we will have to compete, how will we approach this new force? A clear understanding and evolution of our winning model as Europeans is key.

It was clear that behind the scenes we could make it to this year’s Ryder Cup with the well-established team bond, probably better than ever. However, performance-free bonding doesn’t guarantee results, and we were sorely missing that vital ingredient.

Padraig Harrington praised his team's effort and defended his decision-making process after Team USA took a record Ryder Cup victory.

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Padraig Harrington praised his team’s effort and defended his decision-making process after Team USA took a record Ryder Cup victory.

Padraig Harrington praised his team’s effort and defended his decision-making process after Team USA took a record Ryder Cup victory.

The pervasive narrative immediately after and after the Ryder Cup remains that America was too strong for us and that factor, combined with the lack of European support away from home, ensured that we were largely overtaken by a formidable American team. While there is no denying America’s undoubted strength, there were other reasons why we lost so heavily.

Our score against the court, for example, was far below the standard needed to compete in a Ryder Cup, averaging around par in eight four-ball games, just better than four-under in eight four-ball games, and of the two under in the 12 singles matches. On a course and under pre-established conditions for the low score, we produced a game that opened us up to the record defeat we suffered.

Steve Stricker compared driving Team USA to a record Ryder Cup win at Whistling Straits to winning a major and explains how it felt to captain the American team.

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Steve Stricker compared driving Team USA to a record Ryder Cup win at Whistling Straits to winning a major and explains how it felt to captain the American team.

Steve Stricker compared driving Team USA to a record Ryder Cup win at Whistling Straits to winning a major and explains how it felt to captain the American team.

As our European players increasingly migrate to the PGA Tour and establish themselves and their families in America, it is important to work hard not to lose our identity as Europeans. The gnarled ways we’ve used to thrive in past Ryder Cups are key to playing with a underdog mindset and a siege mindset.

The European Tour and Ryder Cup Europe have always done an extensive post-Ryder Cup review and this year I’m sure it will be no different. This review will provide some useful lessons from Whistling Straits to help with their future planning.

Lately the media have been talking about who will be the next captain. Whoever ends up captaining Europe, it will be vital that you oversee the return to an attitude and performance that have worked so well for us in the past.

An emotional Ian Poulter admitted that the European team was

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An emotional Ian Poulter admitted that the European squad was “blown” by Team USA and explained why it would be wrong to criticize Padraig Harrington for the heavy defeat.

An emotional Ian Poulter admitted that the European squad was “blown” by Team USA and explained why it would be wrong to criticize Padraig Harrington for the heavy defeat.

We need to re-establish the factors that will lead to the kind of improved performance of so many members of our squad, with some performances that go beyond their positions in the world rankings. We have achieved this in the past, so why not again?

The Ryder Cup is a dynamic that is not just won on world rankings or individual play, but creating a platform of team, environment, partnership and a united competitiveness in which players can excel is the obvious secret sauce to win games: performance and score.

Relive the record victory of the United States Ryder Cup this New Year on Sky Sports Golf. Watch the Sunday singles replicated – in full – from 10 am on December 31st!

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