Back to drawing board for USA after Ryder Cup thumping
Heartbroken United States golf stars will go back to the drawing board in search of their first Ryder Cup win in Europe since 1993 after a resounding 17.5-10.5 defeat Sunday.
The American squad, featuring 11 of the world’s 17 top-ranked players, dropped seven of the last eight singles matches at Le Golf National in their worst loss since 2006.
Now it will be 2022 in Rome before the US team can end its road drought.
“Obviously there’s a sour taste in our mouth to come over here now for 27 years and not be able to win on foreign soil,” US captain Jim Furyk said.
“That’s the goal. We want to be successful in this event. We want to grow and we want to get better, but we want to do it here in Europe. That will be the goal four years from now.
“We’ll regroup and I’ll definitely kind of go through some things in my head and we’ll move forward.”
The US Ryder Cup task force assembled after a 2014 flop at Gleneagles, which helped the Americans win 17-11 at Hazeltine in 2016, will take lessons to produce a better result in 2020 on home soil at Whistling Straits.
“I’ll work with the PGA of America and our Ryder Cup committee and I think we’ll keep improving. We’ll keep growing,” Furyk said. “We didn’t have the success we wanted, but I felt like we made some strides in areas this year, and I’ll help our captain in 2020 and I’ll help him get better as well.”
A team with nine major champions who have won a combined 31 major titles, including 14-time major winner Tiger Woods, was humbled by a European side that has won nine of the past 12 events.
“The European side played some exquisite golf,” 12-time US Ryder Cupper Phil Mickelson said. “It was some phenomenal golf, and they flat-out beat us.”
Furyk took the heat for the loss, saying: “Thomas was a better captain and their team outplayed us. He put his guys in good position. He did a good job.”
‘We’re not making excuses’
All but one US player competed in last week’s US PGA Tour Championship and six of the 12 US players had not seen Le Golf National before this week, but Furyk wasn’t taking fatigue or an unknown course as excuses.
“We were prepared. I feel like we played our practice rounds and we understood the golf course. We got outplayed,” Furyk said.
“Fatigue would be making an excuse, and we’re not making excuses.
“I know everyone wishes they had played better and I wish I probably would have done some things differently as well, but at the end of the day we did the best we could and we all worked hard.”
Captain’s pick Mickelson, whose 2014 post-mortem of defeat exposed a lack of player input into decisions by then-captain Tom Watson, praised Furyk’s “phenomenal leadership” and said his poor play motivated him to “not go out on this note” and try and make the 2020 squad.
“The way he brought everybody in together on decisions — some of you might question some of the decisions, but everything was done with reason, input, thought through — it was up to us to execute and we just didn’t execute,” said the 48-year-old.
“There have been two years, this year and 2006, where it breaks my heart a little bit more than others, because those two, we didn’t execute while we were given every opportunity to succeed.
“We’ll continue to build on it, and improve in a couple of years.”