2018 Ryder Cup: Team USA Still Lacks Team Mindset

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Europe outpointed the United States 17.5 to 10.5 to win the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National near Paris, France. Except for a brief interruption for an American victory romp at Hazeltine in 2016, we’ve seen this outcome at the Ryder Cup again and again and again.

Why?

Pick a reason or reasons. They will be bandied about in the aftermath of another dominant European performance on their home turf. Blame will spread like a California wildfire. This finger-pointing occurs every two years—unless the US of A wins, a rarity since 1995.

I agree with Michael Collins’ explanation. It’s concise, less than a minute in length, 52 seconds to be exact. Collins is a former caddie who covers golf for ESPN.

In his brief clip at the conclusion of the 2018 Ryder Cup, Collins identifies the root of Europe’s prolonged success—and America’s persistent failure.

The title of the video is “The best TEAM won the Ryder Cup.” (The all-caps are ESPN’s.)

“When it comes down to it,” Collins says, “the USA, they have the greatest individual players, Heck, look at the Official World Golf Rankings. But the European team is just that, a team. And a great team at that. Which is why they’ve won 12 of the last 17 of these Ryder Cups…

“There’s no task force that you can put together that can make people come together as a team. Individuals have to want to do that. And as much as guys will say, ‘Can’t wait for us to be a team together,’ it’s obvious the way things were put together, that that team was Team Europe, who was more gelled than Team USA. And they deserve the Ryder Cup because they were better across the board.”

As I read wrap-up coverage of this most recent Ryder Cup, several things stood out. Here are a few.

After falling behind 3-0 in the first session on Friday, Europe went on to win 17.5 of the next 25 points. European Francesco Molinari (above) was a perfect 5-0 in his matches, a first in Ryder Cup history. The Europeans have won six consecutive Ryder Cups at home and, overall, nine of the last 12.

The Ryder Cup era of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson has been dismal. They are 1-7 in Ryder Cups where they’ve been teammates. This year Tiger and Phil were a combined 0-6 in their matches. (Tiger, Phil, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler were a combined 2-13.)

Yes, the United States has the best individual golfers in the world. But the best team golfers are from Europe. Until that changes, the Ryder Cup trophy will continue to spend most of its time on the eastern side of the Atlantic.

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Neil Sagebiel

Neil Sagebiel is a golf writer and author of two golf books published by St. Martin's Press, THE LONGEST SHOT and DRAW IN THE DUNES. He lives in Floyd, Virginia.
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