The main event in sports this past week (9/19 – 9/26) was arguably the Ryder Cup. This is a major golf tournament played between Team USA and Team Europe bi-annually. Each team has a captain that selects twelve players to compete head-to-head for three days, and every match played is worth one point. If a player/team wins, they receive the whole point, but a half-point is given to each team if there is a tie. There are 28 matches and points up for grabs, and the first team to score fourteen-and-a-half points (just over half) wins the tournament. This event is extremely patriotic for both countries, so the players try their best to match the crowd’s intensity. The Ryder Cup alternates locations between the USA and Europe. This year it was played in the USA at Whistling Straits Golf course in Wisconsin, which has hosted several important golf tournaments.
Friday and Saturday consisted of eight two vs. two matchups per day. Four in the morning and four in the afternoon. During the morning session on Friday, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas from team USA lost their match against Sergio Garcia and the number one ranked player in the world, Jon Rahm. The highlight of the day was when Spieth hit an incredible shot on the 17th hole from the side of a large cliff. The other three teams that played for team USA were able to pick up the slack and give our country a 3-1 lead going into the afternoon.
Surprisingly, Steve Stricker, the captain for team USA, decided to not keep any pairings of players together for the afternoon session. Usually, if a pair plays well together, they stay with each other for the rest of the day or even the rest of the tournament. However, with this unusual style, team USA was able to score three more points in the afternoon on Friday to give them a 6-2 lead going into Saturday. Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia continued to put team Europe on their backs as they won both of their matches on Saturday. It was not enough though as team USA picked up five more points to increase their lead to 11-5 heading into Sunday.
The format for the Ryder Cup on Sunday is different from Friday and Saturday. All twelve players from each team play on the course simultaneously, compared to only eight, and each matchup is a 1 vs. 1 instead of a 2 vs. 2. All team USA needed to do was get three-and-a-half points out of twelve to win. They more than doubled that by scoring an impressive eight points on Sunday by winning seven matches and tying two. This could arguably be the best Ryder Cup team the United States has put together. The youth and power of this team easily took advantage of the more experienced European team. Dustin Johnson for the USA went an undefeated 5-0-0, which is only the fifth time it has been done.
The next Ryder Cup will be in 2023 in Europe at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club. Team Europe hopes to rebound after an embarrassing defeat on U.S. soil, while team USA looks to continue developing youthful and powerful players. The next anticipated golf event is the Masters, the first major golf tournament of the year, which is in April next year. For more information and highlights from the Ryder Cup, click here.
Feature image from cnn.com.