My first Ryder Cup ended today…and until about two weeks ago, I didn’t even know that the Ryder Cup was a thing. Not to mention how BIG AN EFFING DEAL it is since the guys are playing for the glory of their respective continent and whatnot.
Here are the basics for my fellow bandwagoners:
The Ryder Cup is a match play tournament that takes place over three days. The tourney happens once every two years and it’s Team USA vs. Team Europe, with 12 men on each side. The first nine guys are decided based on world ranking, while the last three on each team are captain’s picks.
The points are ridiculous- there are 28 matches total, but there can be halves awarded if a match is tied at the end of 18 holes. Essentially, to win the tournament, one team needs at least 14 ½ points. If there’s a 14-14 tie at the end of the three days (which is rarely ever the case), then the team who won last would retain the trophy.
To complicate matters further, the days have different set-ups than your usual golf tourney. Fourballs, foursomes and conceding are all important concepts, and for your sanity (and mine), I’ll send you to the Ryder Cup website for in-depth definitions on those.
Captains- Tom Watson for the US; Paul McGinley for Europe- decided the line-up without knowing who the other captain was sending out into the field at what time. There was a big reveal, opening ceremonies and pomp and circumstance in ways that most tourneys don’t have. Further, the fans are INSANE and loud and excited and very much the antithesis of golf.
This year, the Ryder Cup was hosted at Gleneagles in Scotland (in 2016, the US will host the tournament). The course is gorgeous, even if the weather was very…Scottish.
Spoiler alert: The USA got spanked. SPANKED.
Based on my research, that’s been a disgustingly common theme for six of the last seven Cups. And it wasn’t even close. Looking at the scoreboard as an American can pretty much be summed up by Phil Mickelson’s face in this picture.
The USA team – Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson,Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker, Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson – had their moments, though.
Rickie, of course, looked adorable and even took it to another level with his haircut.
Jordan and Patrick Reed had an explosive partnership going, and even gave the USA some (false) hope at one point.
That hat, though.
And the European team – Thomas Bjorn, Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood, Stephen Gallacher and Ian Poulter – drank. A LOT. Like, David Feherty would be proud. Along with every other Irishman, ever.
Since the trophy presentation, there has been a lot of criticism flying at Tom Watson, but even an untrained ear can discern that most of that stems from American frustration. The European teams seem to work well together in a way the Americans can’t seem to understand. Maybe it’s an ego thing, maybe the European team just has better golfers. Either way, we lost.
Maybe the Americans should be the ones who drink.
UPDATE: Rory, probably drunk, donned a kilt and a wig (and not much else). Not to be outdone, Rickie and Bubba got in on that action. Because, why not.
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