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Ryder Cup 2018 – The “grudge match”
After a disappointing Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, the European team will be looking to make amends for what was in general a very poor display by some of the biggest names in golf.
The entire event got off to a poor start with Masters Champion Danny Willetts brother publishing a rather ill-timed article about American supporters, although as it turned out he may have had a point considering some of the rowdy behaviour that was present.
But it was the stars of previous Ryder Cup tournaments that were in the most part at fault for the dismal showing and the biggest points haul by the USA team in over 30 years.
Westwood, a wildcard pick, looking to pass the record number of points in a Ryder Cup was a lost soul and I doubt he will make the team for the 2018 rematch.
What was missing was some much needed passion of the right kind, the American team were doing their best to stir what was already a partisan crowd and the boisterous few in the crowd were beginning to “heckle” the Europeans. McIlroy was fired up but ultimately dwindled down the stretch to lose to the “ringleader” of the American crowd Patrick Reed.
For the 2018 match at the Le Nacional in France the Europeans will need to find a winning formula and create the same confidence and belief that has dominated the Ryder Cup in recent times.
As captain Darren Clarke seemed to lack the leadership and motivational clout that was so needed and whoever replaces him as captain is going to have to show more animation from the side-lines. A wonderful player, a great man but ultimately Darren Clarke did not make the right calls as captain and it is a shame that such a well-regarded and likable man was beaten in such a way.
Who will be “that” captain that can recapture the winning mentality and regain the Ryder for the Europeans?
Hot favourite has got to be enigmatic Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, a stalwart in past Ryder Cup sand a man that can “spice” things up in the changing room. He is also a fans favourite and with his dazzling character he is surely the man to pick.
Other contenders include the forlorn figure of Lee Westwood, who has had a glittering Ryder Cup history but for this year’s attempt, but does he have the charisma and the support of his fellow players and colleagues to really drive the Europeans forward. I doubt it.
As for the players, I think it may be the last time we see a couple, Kaymer and Westwood looked past their best, Masters Champion Willett seemed to be unable to cope with the pressure in the heat of the moment and will need to learn from his experience if he is to compete again.
The “spine” of the team will more than likely remain in the hands of Rory Mcilroy, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia, whilst the rookies, Martin Pieters and Rafa Cabrera Bello will surely have along future in the Ryder Cup ahead of them after stunning performances throughout the tournament.
What is for sure is that at Le Nacional the Europeans will have to dig in, fans as requested by Mcilroy will have to be supportive but not obnoxious or over the top and the board that make the selection of the next captain will need to consider the effect of proper planning and learn from the mistakes they made for this year’s train-wreck
Who wins the Ryder Cup 2018?