Ryder Cup: What went wrong for the US?

Richard Hazeldine Richard Hazeldine

Europe won back the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National on Sunday with a resounding 17.5-10.5 victory over the US, the second biggest win in the history of the tournament.

The result was a far cry from the pre-tournament mood as the US team arrived in Paris confident that a team packed full of major winners and big stars could beat a Europe team that featured five rookies, and end 25 years of US disappointment on foreign shores.

But it wasn’t to be as some sparkling play from Europe coupled with some dismal driving from the US helped the Blues win back the trophy they lost at Hazletine two years ago in spectacular fashion.

FOX Sports Asia looks at how things went south for the “Dream Team”

Captain’s picks
Although no one could argue with Jim Furyk’s picks, it’s just that they just didn’t perform when it mattered. The in-form duo of Tiger Woods and Bryson Dechambeau, the experience of Phil Mickelson and the consistency of Tony Finau were everyone’s selections, but only Finau delivered, winning two points. The rest of them suffered badly, with Woods enduring another Ryder Cup nightmare. The fate of Furyk’s picks was perhaps best summed up by Mickelson when he dumped his tee shot into the water at the 16th hole to hand Francesco Molinari his record fifth point and Europe the match-winning victory.

Reed rift
One of the strangest things to comprehend in France was the complete no-show of Patrick Reed. The guy whose swashbuckling, no-holds barred play, and cocky attitude in previous Ryder Cups had earned him points galore and the nickname ‘Captain America’ was strangely poor.

Reed had partnered Jordan Spieth to huge success in both 2014 and 2016, but in Paris they were kept apart, much to the amazement of fans and observers. It was only on Sunday that rumours of a rift between the two emerged, the behaviour of the duo in the post-competition press conference/post mortem seeming to confirm those rumours. While the reasons for the rift are unknown, having two of your star players at each other’s throats is not ideal in an environment that needs team members to pull together, and this undoubtedly was a big problem for Jim Furyk and Team US.

Preparation, preparation, preparation
Le Golf National is a course that rewards accuracy off the tee, with booming long drives almost impossible. This presented a challenge that several members of the US Team were not well prepared for. Team Europe members, of course, held an advantage having played here several times on the European Tour, but perhaps the US team could have taken their preparations as seriously as Justin Thomas.
While Thomas, who just happened to be the US’ leading scorer with four points, opted to play in the French Open this year to get a feel for the course, six members of his team saw the course for the first time on Tuesday. Is it any wonder they struggled?

Tiger flop
Tiger Woods may have just come off a remarkable comeback season that saw him ice the cake with a win at last weekend’s Tour Championship, but it didn’t take him long to sink back into Ryder Cup mode.
Woods’ already poor record in the biennial bash took one hell of a beating in Paris as he lost all four matches. It’s hard to comprehend how the best golfer in the world in recent years can be made to look ordinary whenever Europe and the US meet, but the Blue team certainly seem to know the secret. Whatever the reason, that is now seven defeats in eight Ryder Cups for Tiger – certainly not a record to be proud of.