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The 2023 Ryder has come to an end and Europe are once again the winner of the famous trophy after a 16.5-11.5 victory over the USA. The win for Luke Donald’s side was confirmed later than most anticipated in what turned out to be a nervy afternoon at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club for all involved.
The victory means that Europe are now undefeated in 30 years at home Ryder Cups. Their dominance on home turf is impressive and their attention will now turn to retaining the trophy in two years at Bethpage Black in New York. Who the captains are for that edition of the event remains to be seen but the two this year, Luke Donald and Zach Johnson, will both be enjoying very different evenings tonight.
For Donald, it is the greatest accomplishment of his career. For Johnson, there will be regrets and feelings of “what if” after a dismal opening day on Friday left his side playing significant catch-up from the word go. Many experts feel that Johnson’s pairings selections for that opening foursomes session were off and he must now stir over them while the Europeans party the night away.
Ryder Cup 2023 final scoreboard
Sunday singles results
How Europe won the Ryder Cup
A dominant opening day
After day one of the Ryder Cup, Europe had a 6.5 – 1.5 lead over their American opponents. No team in the history of the Ryder Cup has ever led by a greater margin after the opening day and many felt that Luke Donald and his players already had one hand on the trophy after their breathtaking start to proceedings.
Across four fourballs and four foursomes matches, Europe were undefeated with USA only picking up three half points via tied matches. While selection issues were a problem in the American camp, things couldn’t have gone any better for Europe. Shots from all angles were being holes, the crowd was up and there was a point where it felt as if hitting a fairway was the hardest thing in the world if you were wearing a red cap.
— Ryder Cup (@rydercup) September 29, 2023
Big players coming up clutch
Coming into the event, Luke Donald knew he needed his big players to step up. This was a young and inexperienced European team with Aberg, Hojgaard and MacIntyre all making their debuts in the competition. Team USA, on the other hand, was stacked with major winners and Ryder Cup regulars – in fact, all 12 players were ranked inside the world’s top 25.
If Europe were to win this week, they needed Viktor Hovland, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy to all have stellar weekends. To say they delivered would be an understatement – between them, they contributed 10.5 points meaning the rest of the team only needed to find four points between them over the three days.
On the opening morning, Team Europe were favourites to win three of the four foursomes matches – something no one could have predicted looking at the two squads. However, Zach Johnson managed to combine several players together for no apparent reason.
While Sam Burns and Scottie Scheffler are good friends, their games don’t match up and their record together in team golf is poor. Meanwhile, Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa’s games are almost identical so pairing them for a foursomes match was perplexing.
Donald, on the other hand, nailed his pairings. He put the most in-form player in the world, Viktor Hovland, with the inexperienced Ludvig Aberg and Tommy Fleetwood with Rory McIlroy in a blockbuster pairing. The whitewash on day one made life very easy for Donald going forward – if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
Scottie breaking down after getting beat 9 and 7. Wow.pic.twitter.com/CcCaE9g5tt
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) September 30, 2023
While Europe were consistently excellent over the course of the three days, there was some seriously poor play on the American side. The beatdown that Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka took on day two at the hands of Hovland and Aberg left the world number one in tears while Sam Burns never recovered from his heavy defeat on the opening day.
Jordan Spieth was another American who had a weekend to forget. Paired with Justin Thomas over three separate sessions, Spieth only came out with one half and that was purely thanks to his partner bailing him out in Friday’s afternoon session of fourballs.
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