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What Americans Need to Learn Before Next Ryder Cup

By: | Mon 09 Oct 2023

Now that things have settled down, in his latest View From The Fairway, Golfshake's Derek Clements reflects on the Ryder Cup and what both teams can learn from the week before 2025.

IF SOMETHING doesn’t work why do you keep doing the same thing? Having had a week to reflect on the Ryder Cup I still can’t quite get my head around why the American team continued to reach for drivers at holes where missing the fairway meant that you were almost certainly going to lose.

I have just watched highlights of the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National, a course that was set up in a similar fashion to Marco Simone - narrow fairways and deep, punishing rough. If you missed the short and prepared you had no shot.

In 2018 the Americans lost the Ryder Cup because every time they came to a hole that measured more than 400 yards a driver would be pulled from the bag.

These guys are meant to be the best golfers in the world. They have reached the status they have in the game because of their ability.

But American golfers play the sport almost exclusively on the PGA Tour on courses with little or no rough, featuring fairway bunkers with no lip to speak of - it means they are not penalised for missing fairways. They believe that they can overpower any course on the planet. They are wrong.

I have consistently said that there is no need to adjust equipment or to introduce golf balls that are restricted in the distance they fly - and the Americans consistently prove that I am correct when they tackle proper golf courses.

Golf is a a game of strategy. Ryder Cup captains have a job to do. Part of that is setting up the course to best suit the 12 players who will represent their team. And to give them some clues as to how to play the course.

Justin Thomas

Thomas Bjorn believed that the Americans would not be able to adjust their game plan to cope with Le Golf National. He was correct.

Luke Donald believed that punishing rough would most regularly be found by American golfers who would be unable to resist pulling out the big dog, He was correct.

If you watched Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg inflict a record 9&7 defeat upon Brooks Koepka and Scottie Scheffler then you will know exactly what I am talking about.

There will be an inquest by the Americans. It should be pretty short. When they come to pick their team for the 2025 match at Bethpage Black whoever gets the honour of being the captain should tell his players to apply some common sense - or set up the golf course with little or no rough and lightning-fast putting surfaces.

And that man should also surround himself with vice-captains who are on the same wavelength as his players rather than turning to ageing golfers who do not even compete on the same tour.

Europe’s only job for 2025 is to decide whether or not to ask Donald to lead the team again. In recent years the custom has been for somebody to get the job once but Donald was brilliant with the players, the media and the opposition. The players want him again and he has hinted that he might be persuaded to have another crack at it.

Watching that 2018 Ryder Cup has also led to me having a change of heart over future European Ryder Cup captains. We are told that a peace deal between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf is in the offing. If that turns out to be the case then it is time to bury the hatchet once and for all.

Rory McIlroy said that the event lost nothing by having none of Europe’s LIV rebels in the team. He probably got that right. However, knowing just how much it means to Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia, both of whom have contributed hugely to so many European victories, how can we possibly deny them the opportunity to lead out their continents?

As Poulter says: “There is nothing like the Ryder Cup. It has given me my best moments in golf.”

Bjorn, who captained Europe in 2018, said there is no player who brings the right things to the team room like Garcia does. And Jon Rahm had no qualms about telling the golfing world that he had spoken to Garcia ahead of going to Marco Simone.

The Ryder Cup is unlike any other tournament in golf and the atmosphere is something that every golf fan should experience. The experts at Golfbreaks.com can help with all aspects of your Ryder Cup experience, from accommodation and ticket packages to hospitality and travel and playing some of the fantastic nearby courses.

More Ryder Cup Coverage

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Tags: ryder cup PGA Tour european tour dp world tour

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