World Cup 2014 coverage:

Shane Bacon

Ryder Cup Report Card

Shane Bacon
Devil Ball Golf

View photo

.

It was one of the most exciting Ryder Cups in recent memory, so why don't we dive right in and give each player from both teams a grade. Who was the best and worst from the week? Read on, with the Americans after the jump.

Europeans

Ian Poulter -- As someone rooting for the American team, it's easy to hate on Poulter (and hate I did), but there is nothing bad you can say about his golf game in these matches. He is quickly becoming the next in line for great European, winning three of his four matches, including a big singles win over Kuchar on Monday that got the Euros going. (Grade: A+)

Luke Donald -- Like Poulter at Valhalla, Donald was a captain's pick that looked like he was on a mission. Donald was great with Westwood when they handed Stricker and Woods their first-ever loss as a team, and carried Harrington in the first match on Friday. Battling Furyk on Monday, Donald needed to win his match, and he did just that when Furyk put his third shot in the greenside bunker on 18. (Grade: A+)

Graeme McDowell -- McDowell didn't do anything incredible on Sunday to beat Mahan in the Cup-deciding match, but he was steady for 15 holes before making the most clutch birdie of the entire week on 16. Mahan had a chance being 1-down with two holes to play, but 2-down to a major championship winner on a course he has won on before? He never had a chance when McDowell made that birdie. Game over, and with a putt that just seemed destined to go in. (Grade: A)

Lee Westwood -- Sure, he lost a lead to Stricker in the singles, but Westwood was the best European for the first three matches when nobody knew what to expect from him. He moved to No. 2 in the world this week, but his play the last year has him No. 1 in the world in my mind. Stricker needed to toss everything he had at Westwood to take him down. (Grade: A-)

Martin Kaymer -- Another guy that couldn't win his singles match against a red-hot Johnson, but the PGA Champion was brilliant the rest of the week, winning two crucial matches and halving the other. He might have been a rookie in these matches, but Kaymer is the real deal. (Grade: A-)

Miguel Angel Jimenez -- A pretty ho-hum week for the oldest player on either team, but Jimenez was really solid on Monday against a tense Watson. Anytime NBC switched to Miguel, it looked like he was making a 20-footer for birdie, and his second shot on the 15th with one leg out of the bunker basically summed up that hole for the Europeans that week. Now, if we can just do something about that hair ... (Grade: B)

Ross Fisher -- It seemed like anytime the cameras caught Fisher on the green, he was celebrating after a big putt dropped. Sure, a singles win on Monday would have jumped him well up this list, but he was great in the team matches. (Grade: B)

Rory McIlroy -- I'll say this about McIlroy's week; I can't figure out if he's clutch or a choker. In the Saturday foursomes, McIlroy had a short birdie putt on 17, but after Cink rolled his lengthy birdie putt in, McIlroy missed his. On that same green a day before and a day after, McIlroy would make big putts to help his team. Then we come to 18 on Sunday, when McIlroy was standing in the fairway with a chance to hit the green in two, left it right in the greenside bunker and then couldn't get it out with his third shot, settling for a par. Two points in your first Ryder Cup is good for a youngster, but it almost seemed it could have been much, much more. (Grade: B-)

Padraig Harrington -- His performance was very "Kobe Bryant in Game 7 of the NBA Finals" like. Yes, he was a big name on the winning team, and he contributed two points to the Europeans, but it seemed his teammates carried him more than anything. Also, he might as well not have shown up on Monday at the Ryder Cup with that whupping Johnson put on him. (Grade: C)

Edoardo Molinari -- He was one of two Europeans (along with his brother) to not win a match, but he got a big enough lead against Fowler on Sunday that he could allow a choke job and still get the important halve that ended up helping the Euros to the win. (Grade: C-)

Peter Hanson -- You can't really blame Hanson for losing to Mickelson when Phil got really hot on Monday. He won a point, lost two, and was one of those "he's there but we won't remember he was on the team in two weeks" kinda players. At least they won the cup on his birthday. (Grade: D-)

Francesco Molinari -- A lot like Hanson in the sense that he had to play Tiger when Woods finally looked like the Woods of old. He never won a point, halved just one match, and was the lowest point getter of anyone on the European team. The only thing he had going for him is he was a lot more reserved than his brother, who seemed to be trying to pull his arms out of socket with each celebration. (Grade: D-)

Americans

Steve Stricker -- The best player on the American team by far, Stricker carried Woods in the team matches and came back to win the first match on Monday against the best playing guy on the European team at the time. He looked shaky to start on Friday, but quickly changed that. It doesn't help that he seems as likable a guy as there is out there. (Grade: A+)

Stewart Cink -- A captain's pick by Corey Pavin, Cink came in with little hype because his 2010 has been extremely forgettable. That stopped quickly when Cink basically halved the match with McIlroy and McDowell all by himself on Friday. His putt on 17 on Saturday against that same duo won the match for the Americans, and he was a birdie on 18 away on Monday from stealing "best American honors" away from Stricker. That said, we will be looking back for a long time on the misses on 17 and 18 on Monday that could have won the Cup for the Americans. (Grade: A)

Tiger Woods -- Three points for Tiger, who steamrolled one of the Molinari brothers in singles. His match on Monday showed a lot of things we rarely see from Tiger these days; precision iron shots, confident club twirls and birdie putts to win that are so dead center his hat is coming off before the ball drops. On paper it's the best he's ever played in a Ryder Cup, ending all the questions we had about him before this week. (Grade: A)

Zach Johnson -- He was one of the four Americans that sat the first match on Friday, but Johnson was solid for the rest of the time, winning his singles match against Harrington on a day he said he felt like he could go out and "see how many under par I can shoot." His game seems molded for this type of competition, and he showed it once again this week. (Grade: B+)

Jeff Overton -- Before this week, nobody had ever heard of him, but Overton changed all that with the now infamous "Boom, Baby" moment. More than that, however, should be his singles win, which he won 3-up after being 2-down to Fisher through nine holes. Overton was the breakout star from both teams at this Ryder Cup. (Grade: B+)

Rickie Fowler -- I tried to look at all the players objectively over the entire week, but Fowler has to be pushed up from that gutsy halve on Monday. The youngster was 4-down with six holes to play, and won four holes, including lengthy birdie putts on 17 and 18. The one on 18 is stuff of legends, and will be remembered for a long time even though the Americans lost. (Grade: B-)

Matt Kuchar -- He won two points because he was paired with Cink, but Kuchar looked far from the guy that was consistently in the top 10 most of the year on the PGA Tour. His week was defined when Poulter leveled him 5 and 4 on Monday. (Grade: C-)

Phil Mickelson -- He was abysmal up until Monday, but Mickelson found something in singles and went on a little run, dropping birdie after birdie. Still, as a teammate, Phil continues to be about as bad as you can be, losing all three team matches and looking lost in the process. (Grade: D+)

Bubba Watson -- Watson was great in the opening match with Overton, but that was about it from the big-hitting lefty. As my good buddy Dan Levy pointed out on Monday, "for a guy that hits the ball so long, he sure putts so short," and that seemed true anytime Watson had a big putt he needed to make. His week could be defined by the eagle attempt on the 15th on Saturday, when the team needed a two and Bubba left it dead center, but about two rolls short. His loss to Jimenez in singles was a big back-breaker for the Americans. (Grade: D-)

Hunter Mahan -- He will be blamed for his chunked chip shot on 17, but the blame should really land with the way he played up until that point on Monday. He made only one birdie on a golf course that was yielding low scores everywhere, and his week was far from what we saw at Valhalla. A good-playing Mahan is the right choice for the anchor match, but he just didn't have much game this week at Celtic Manor. (Grade: D-)

Dustin Johnson -- Johnson was a singles match win away from being the goat of the 2010 Ryder Cup, a guy that came into the matches playing well, but couldn't buy a putt to save his life. His inability to roll in putts the first three matches were a big reason his teams kept losing, but his singles match win over Kaymer was a little redemption for the man that lost the PGA Championship a month ago. (Grade: D-)

Jim Furyk -- Talk about a difference in two weeks. Furyk came to the matches at the best playing American in the world, winning the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup before he jumped on the plane to Wales. But, when Furyk arrived, he left his game in the states, winning just half a point with a push on Sunday. His week was defined on Monday, when he fought back against Donald to push the match to 18, and then dumped an easy wedge shot from the middle of the fairway into the greenside bunker, failing to get it up and down for birdie. (Grade: F)

View Comments