Following Europe’s stunning Ryder Cup victory over the USA at Gleneagles, Bryce Ritchie and Michael McEwan analyse the performances of every player.
Read on to find out who impressed our guys and who really, really didn’t.
TEAM EUROPE (rated by Bryce Ritchie)
Graeme McDowell - 9
Surprisingly benched for the fourballs but forged a strong pairing with rookie Victor Dubuisson in the foursomes, winning both matches. Tamed Jordan Spieth in the singles and stood up for Sergio Garcia during Nick Faldo’s “useless” comment. That’s worth a point in itself.
Henrik Stenson - 9
Was part of the outrageously brilliant fourball pairing on Saturday morning in the company of Justin Rose, but didn’t play in the afternoon due to a bad back. Won three, lost one. That golf on Saturday morning? Chances are you won’t see golf like it in the Ryder Cup for some time. Almost perfect.
Rory McIlroy - 8
Acted like a world No.1 and responded like a world No.1, even if at times he didn’t play like the world No.1. Had some gruelling matches – three went to 18 – and had every excuse to be tired. Turned up on Sunday morning, bounced onto the tee, and promptly saw off good friend Rickie Fowler, something he’s done all season.
Justin Rose - 10
The performance alongside Henrik Stenson on Saturday’s fourballs will go down in Ryder Cup history. Got lucky in his singles by stealing a half-point after Hunter Mahan blew up once again at the Ryder Cup. For more on that Rose/Stenson match, click here. Won four points from five and unbeaten.
Stephen Gallacher - 6
Got a wonderful reception on the Friday morning, where he got a surprise debut alongside Ian Poulter. Never got going and didn’t feature again until the singles, where he lost to Phil Mickelson. Not the Ryder Cup he would have wanted. I would have given him a 7 but he didn't dance like the first tee crowd requested, so…
Martin Kaymer - 7
Stunning. The star of Medinah, above, and current US Open champion took two points from four but played better than those stats suggest. He even took pills for a headache to deal with the noise on the course. Classy, and seriously not to be messed with.
Thomas Bjorn - 6
Didn’t play particularly well, lost twice and had to settle for a painful half-point on the opening morning alongside Kaymer against Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker. Will have been watching McGinley’s footsteps closely this week with one eye on the captaincy in the future.
Sergio Garcia - 8
Took heat mid-week from Nick Faldo, who said Sergio was “useless” in 2008, but never let it bother him. Played with a smile on his face all week and became Rory’s new G-Mac. A constant annoyance for the US team.
Ian Poulter - 6
Played poorly alongside Stephen Gallacher on Friday, was benched for the afternoon, snatched a crazy half-point with Rory on Saturday and was benched again afternoon. Expected to play more but didn’t grumble – the sign of a true team player. The Ryder Cup aura didn’t exactly die at Gleneagles, it just took a wee nasty bump. The Postman will be back to clock in for his shift soon enough.
Jamie Donaldson - 10
The 15th at Gleneagles will never been the same again thanks to the Welshman. Hopefully hundreds of Scottish kids try to recreate his wedge to two-feet. That’s what the Ryder Cup leaves in Scotland. “I knew it was getting tight,” he said about walking down the 14th, knowing the big moment was coming down to him. Imagine hitting that shot under that pressure. Talk about rising to the occasion. He’s now Scottish, of course.
Lee Westwood - 7
A questionable pick by some, Westwood, above, proved his doubters wrong and moved above Seve in the all-time scoring list by half a point to sit on 23 points, joint fifth, above Seve Ballesteros. Two points from three with Donaldson were pivotal in the scheme of things.
Victor Dubuisson - 10
Brilliant. A French golf magazine – the one Mr Dubuisson is not a big fan of – told us he was a great bloke. We agree. Two thumping wins on the weekend gave him cult figure status. Is destined for majors if he carries on like this. Might as well stick him and G-Mac down for the foursomes in 2018 at Le Golf National in his homeland. Hopefully he’s shaved the pirate beard by then, though…
TEAM USA (rated by Michael McEwan)
Keegan Bradley – 4
This should have been Bradley’s Ryder Cup but he appeared to leave his ‘Poulter-esque’ self at Medinah. Really disappointing. Resumed his three-from-three partnership with Phil Mickelson on day one but, after a narrow win in their first match, they fell meekly to a first defeat on Friday afternoon. Subsequently benched for the whole of Saturday, he re-appeared on Sunday where he lost 4&3 to European rookie Jamie Donaldson in the decisive match.
Rickie Fowler – 6
Five matches… no wins. In fact, still no wins in the Ryder Cup, period. But that only tells part of the story. In fairness, Rickie Fowler, above, played some fabulous golf and was unlucky to halve three times. Hit some outstanding shots at crucial times but looked fatigued after all of his first three games went the distance. Simply ran out steam and was comfortably beaten 5&4 by Rory McIlroy in the singles match everybody had been hoping for. Hard to win when your opponent is eight-under for 14 holes, mind you. Has the game, the spirit and the time to become a real Ryder Cup force.
Jim Furyk – 5
One win, three defeats. Furyk’s Ryder Cup record now read’s won ten, lost 20, halved four. Has required a match-record 16 different partners over the course of his nine appearances. A great stalwart of the PGA Tour – and a nice guy, too – but thoroughly mediocre on this stage.
Zach Johnson – 5
The former Masters champion contributed just half a point from three matches, which must have sickened Tom Watson. Johnson is a far better player than his results at Gleneagles would imply. Went into this week holding a decent 6-4-1 career record in the Ryder Cup. That now reads 6-6-2. Poor stuff, particularly from one of the senior players in the US side.
Matt Kuchar – 5
Sat out the first morning, then lost his next three matches. Not good enough for a player of Kuchar’s quality. Remember, this guy is the world No.9 and third highest ranked American. Redeemed himself somewhat with a 4&3 win over Thomas Bjorn in the singles – which included a superb hole-out from the middle of the fairway for eagle on the eighth – but Tom Watson would have (rightly) expected much more from the big Floridian.
Hunter Mahan – 4
Mahan’s inability to convert leads into wins badly let down his teammates and captain. His wild drive at the 14th on Saturday afternoon was the worst of numerous awful tee shots he hit during the week and, as for his singles performance… dearie me! Four-up with 11 to play against Justin Rose in the singles, he butchered the 18th to give away a cheap half-point. Does not look comfortable on this stage. Not. At. All.
Phil Mickelson – 6
Looked badly out of sorts on the first day, so much so that he was benched for the whole of Saturday by his captain, despite Phil’s best attempts to get a game. Still managed to win two matches from three, including a 3&1 takedown of local favourite Stephen Gallacher in the singles, but this was far from vintage stuff from a man who has won five majors.
Patrick Reed – 9
Played four, won three, halved won and lost none in a seriously impressive debut. The Texan became the first US golfer to play at least three matches on their Ryder Cup debut without defeat since Phil Mickelson in 1995. Formed a great partnership with Jordan Spieth and took down Henrik Stenson in the singles. Appeared to relish the stage, too. Have to think he will be a big part of many Ryder Cups to come.
Webb Simpson – 4
The writing was on the wall when he skied the opening tee shot of the match on the Friday morning. Went on to lose that one in the company of Bubba Watson and then didn’t reappear until Sunday (where he gained a half-point against an unusually poor Ian Poulter). Did little to justify being picked by Tom Watson. One wonders what Chris Kirk made of his involvement – or, indeed, the lack thereof.
Jordan Spieth – 8
Teamed-up with Reed to claim the impressive scalp of Ian Poulter and Stevie G on the first morning but threw away a three-hole lead to go down 2&1 to Graeme McDowell in the opening match of the singles. Spieth, above, tends to let his emotions get the better of him when there’s a lot on the line – see also: The Masters and Players Championship this year – and will need to learn to better manage pressure and his temper.
Jimmy Walker – 6
After an impressive start, the rookie looked like just about the oldest 35-year-old on the planet on Saturday night after being used in each of the first four sessions by his captain. Still, recovered well to claim an impressive win over Lee Westwood in the singles. Two-and-a-half points from five added up to a debut as decent as it was unremarkable.
Bubba Watson – 4
Led the US qualifying for the match but was a total non-factor at Gleneagles losing all three of his matches. A two-time winner on the PGA Tour this season, he turned up at Gleneagles without his game. Just shamefully poor. If Ian Poulter is the ‘Postman’ who always delivers, Bubba is the taxi driver who says he turned up when he really didn’t.
Ryder Cup player ratings :: Your thoughts
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