2023 Ryder Cup Roundup

Europe’s New Era Flourishes Without LIV Players

Rory McIlroy expressed that the absence of the LIV trio – Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, and Ian Poulter – was beneficial for Europe in their Ryder Cup victory over the USA. Without these big personalities, players like Viktor Hovland, Jon Rahm, and McIlroy himself had the opportunity to shine. McIlroy’s performance was particularly noteworthy, earning four points, his best total in the Ryder Cup.

2023 European Ryder Cup team celebrating their victory.
Image – source

I don’t think it mattered for the European team that the 3 LIV players were left out – Rahm and Hovland belonged on the team without question.

Brooks Koepka’s Controversial Response

Eddie Pepperell, a DP World Tour pro, highlighted Brooks Koepka’s response to a press conference question as indicative of the problems within the US team. Koepka’s individualistic attitude was evident when he implied that very few players would take the ball and win the Ryder Cup. Pepperell believes that Koepka’s inability to prioritize the team over individual achievements epitomizes the issues with the US team. source

I’ll give Brooks the benefit of the doubt here, I think his comment was taken out of context. He could have been giving credit to the European team here, not bashing his own guys.

Xander Schauffele’s Contract Dispute

Xander Schauffele, an automatic qualifier for the US team, faced potential removal from the squad due to a contract dispute. Schauffele’s father revealed that the golfer wanted to make three amendments to the player participation and benefit agreement. However, the PGA of America threatened to remove him from the team if he didn’t sign by the September deadline. The issue was eventually resolved, but it highlighted the underlying tensions and the need for better communication between the players and the PGA. source

Rory McIlroy’s Redemption

After a disappointing performance at Whistling Straits in 2021, Rory McIlroy was a key player for Team Europe, scoring four points from five matches. His partnership with Tommy Fleetwood was particularly dominant. McIlroy’s passion was evident, especially after the altercation with Patrick Cantlay’s caddie, Joe LaCava. Post-victory, McIlroy and the European team celebrated with McIlroy leading a spirited rendition of “Europe’s on fire – USA is terrified.” McIlroy expressed his ambition for Team Europe to win at Bethpage in New York at the next Ryder Cup. source

It was probably Rory’s best performance in years, enjoy the win!

The Power of Social Media

A tweet from Sky Sports’ Jamie Weir alleging a rift within the US team, particularly involving Patrick Cantlay’s decision to go hat-less as a protest over Ryder Cup payment, went viral. This led to European fans chanting “hats off for your bank account” during Cantlay’s match. The tweet and the subsequent reactions on the course highlighted the significant impact of social media on live events. source

Golf Twitter was blowing up, the drama! Reading my Twitter feed, then watching the actual events – It was night and day. Social media made something out of nothing here. But the fans ran with it…

The Ryder Cup Payment Debate

The topic of player compensation for the Ryder Cup has been a contentious issue. Both Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele sought amendments to the player participation and benefit agreement. Stefan Schauffele, Xander’s father, emphasized that players’ intellectual properties are used for profit, yet they aren’t compensated. He suggested that all net proceeds from the Ryder Cup should go to charitable causes. The debate raises questions about the fairness of player compensation, especially when corporate organizations benefit significantly from the event. source

I don’t know all of the financials here, but I tend to agree the players should be compensated. While some believe they should simply play for the honor of representing their country, its not the Olympics. Pay these guys…

USA’s Underpreparedness

The US team’s performance in the foursomes was lackluster, with Europe winning all four matches. One reason for the slow start could be the majority of the US players not participating in a competitive event since the Tour Championship at the end of August. The gap between the Tour Championship and the Ryder Cup might have affected their readiness for the intense competition. source

They didn’t compete for 5 weeks, and left one of the hottest golfers on the planet out of the competition – Bryson. You never know how things go if Bryson were there, or if they had played more leading up to the Ryder Cup, but I feel like they would’ve been better with both.

Fire at Ryder Cup Venue

A significant fire erupted at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, the venue that hosted the Ryder Cup near Rome. The fire completely consumed a three-story hospitality building. Thankfully, no injuries were reported, and firefighters were promptly on the scene. The incident led to road closures around the golf club and concerns about air quality in the vicinity. Source

McIlroy vs LaCava

The Ryder Cup witnessed tensions between Rory McIlroy and caddie Joe LaCava. The altercation occurred after Patrick Cantlay’s impressive 43-foot putt victory against McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick. Fred Couples, Team USA’s assistant captain, shared insights into the incident, clarifying that while there were heated moments, no one was in the wrong. Source

Rory was whining. He was upset that he was losing. LaCava was giving it back to the crowd after Cantlay’s putt, celebrating his guy after they had been heckled all day. Let the man have the moment, Rory. Social media blew this one up too.

Cantlay’s Wedding

Patrick Cantlay, despite the U.S. team’s loss at the Ryder Cup, had a reason to celebrate. The day after the Ryder Cup concluded, Cantlay married Nikki Guidish at the St. Regis, located just 13 miles from the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. The wedding was a lavish affair, with notable guests including Justin Thomas and Jessica Korda. Source

Congrats Nikki and Patrick!

Fowler’s Concession

Rickie Fowler’s decision to concede a near three-foot putt to Tommy Fleetwood on the 16th hole became a topic of discussion. While some argued that Fleetwood should have been made to putt, others present at the scene felt Fowler’s decision was apt. The concession allowed Fleetwood the honor of securing the Cup for Europe, marking a moment of sportsmanship amidst the intense competition Source

Fowler is a nice guy! There was no way the U.S. team comes back to win if Fleetwood is forced to putt there and misses it. No way! Rickie knew it and did the right thing.

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