Ehrmann/Getty Images The final stretch of holes doomed the Americans on Sunday.
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
MEDINAH, Ill. — European players wore a silhouette of Seve Ballesteros on their sleeves for Sunday as if the former Ryder Cup champion had a hand in the matches. Justin Rose birdied his last two holes to beat Phil Mickelson and as Rose walked off the 18th green the Englishman said he looked down at his sleeve and saw Seve. Ballesteros memory was a repeated theme in post-match interviews.
Closing holes: I have no explanation for the American collapse. Some was due to bad luck. Jim Furyk had a putt at the 16th lip out that looked dead in the center. Phil Mickelson came a fraction of an inch from chipping in on the 17th. If either of those shots drop, it would be the Americans who celebrated on Sunday night. It took a tremendous amount of good fortune and internal fortitude for the Europeans to win. It also took a tremendous amount of talent. Tom Watson was once asked why the U.S. struggled so badly in so many Ryder Cups. Watson responded “Maybe the answer is the one, nobody wants to acknowledge. Maybe the Europeans are better than us.” The United States lost this Ryder Cup because the Europeans were much better closers over the final three holes.
Gracious: Maybe it’s because Sergio Garcia has seen the dark side of golf or maybe it’s because he is truly a caring individual. Whatever the reason, Garcia was extremely gracious in victory. The Spaniard made it a point to shake all the Americans’ hands saying he remembers the U.S. rally in 1999 and knows how badly it feels to lose a large lead on Sunday at the Ryder Cup. Garcia said he would celebrate with his teammates but at the same time had compassion for the Americans.
Setup: Medinah was a right-handed golf course on Sunday. There were 11 hole locations cut on the right hand side of the greens including six of nine holes in the inward nine. Perhaps that set up was intended to favor the American fades but Europeans repeatedly won the final holes.
Team unity: Steve Striker and Tiger Woods had the last two tee times for the United States and yet both were on the tee for the first match of the day at 11:03. Both walked down the fairway with Bubba Watson, lending their support.
Golden Bear: Several former Ryder Cup Captains were on the course throughout the week. Lee Trevino darted from match to match with a smile on his face, obviously enjoying the competition. Jack Nicklaus surprised players from both teams when he appeared on the first tee to greet golfers before their matches began.
Shank: It happened to Bubba Watson on Saturday and it happened to Webb Simpson on Sunday. Shanks. Simpson hit a flat out shank during the singles competition. It’s not the first time, “Mr. Hosel” has visited Webb before. Last year he hit one while winning the Wyndham Championship and followed it up a month later at the BMW. Simpson says it’s a little embarrassing and frustrating but is not scared of the amateur affliction.
Sing-a-long: More than an hour before the first match, the gallery around the first tee was in fine tune. A tenor lead the fans in several tunes during a raucous sing-a-long. However, it was his solo rendition of “Danny Boy” that had fans teary eyed at 10 in the morning.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.