Americans have never been more confident. Europeans have never felt so uncomfortable.
The two-year wait feels even longer because of the passion that only the Ryder Cup brings to golf. Both are looking forward to starting the next edition outside Rome, but for different reasons.
The United States picked up their most lopsided win at Whistling Straits and have reason to believe they can swing the series with a strong young team in their favor. When Jordan Spieth celebrated two years ago this fall, he was already thinking about the next edition.
“If we play like this this week, the result will be the same there,” he announced.
Englishman Tommy Fleetwood remembered how much it hurt them to see the Americans celebrating.
“We all stopped and thought, ‘We want to have the opportunity again,'” Fleetwood said. “On the return flight we were sensitive, but we were already thinking about what we could do better.”
The 44th edition of the Ryder Cup begins September 29 in Marco Simone with two teams that look completely different two years later.
On the one hand is age – four of the European golfers were over 40 years old. On the other hand, eight Cup players left the PGA for the LIV Golf league, while the European team left them all out. The United States set a very high mark to be considered on the team.
Brooks Koepka is the only LIV golfer returning after winning the PGA Championship and finishing second at the Masters.
Five players on the U.S. team were not born the last time their country won the Ryder Cup in Europe. That was 1993 in the Belfry, England.
“It’s crazy,” said Scheffler, acknowledging the six consecutive away defeats against teams that included Hall of Famers Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as well as Spieth and Dustin Johnson. “Great players, that just shows how difficult it is.”
It’s hard to ignore the 30-year history, and it suggests it’s more than a coincidence.
Europe prefers courses that play to its strengths – dense rough that increases precision and slower greens that allow for more aggressive putts.
And then there are the fans. Two years ago, the Whistling Straits gallery was almost entirely reliant on the US due to travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marco Simone is the third place in continental Europe to host the Ryder Cup. The other two were Valderrama in Spain (1997) and Le Golf National in France (2018). Both led to European victories, a streak they hope to continue.
The Americans want to end this streak and hope to make Ryder Cup victory in Wisconsin their next stop.