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What next for the United States in the Ryder Cup?

Well, all the recent evidence points to another dominant US home win at Bethpage Black in 2025. 

But this was a chastening week for Zach Johnson, who looked out of his depth against a superior skipper at Marco Simone as Europe withstood a belated Sunday fightback to stretch their unbeaten home record beyond 30 years.

Ever since captain Johnson announced that Scottie Scheffler would be out first on Friday morning with his best pal Sam Burns, while his biggest stars were left on the sidelines, it felt like he was making it up as he went along.

• Ryder Cup: Every European player rated

• Ryder Cup: Every US player rated

Luke Donald, meanwhile, was everything Johnson wasn’t in Rome. Inspirational, meticulous, and decisive in his decision-making. No stone was left unturned for the Englishman.

He leaned on the data collated by his trailblazing stats guru Edoardo Molinari and implemented a clear strategy of how his players could attack a course that had been so carefully constructed to suit their eye.

Johnson liked to refer to the ‘nerd herd’, his own analytics team throughout his reign, but we are now wondering whether the only real message being delivered inside the US camp was: “Our 12 are better than theirs.”

Only three of Johnson’s players had played competitively in the month before pitching up in Italy. Would this be acceptable preparation for guys contending in a major championship?

What’s that saying again? Fail to prepare…

And, but for a nervy two hours on Sunday afternoon where a wave of red was cause for sweaty palms in the searing heat, this was as dominant a performance Donald could have ever dreamed up.

For Europe, redemption for the 2021 thrashing at Whistling Straits and a dawn of a new era with well-founded hope that things might finally be different on away soil.

And for their skipper, glorious vindication for his studious efforts over the last two years in breathing life into a depleted team from that shellacking in Wisconsin.

“Two more years,” Shane Lowry chanted at the trophy ceremony and no wonder the European players all joined in. He may be an understated figure, but Donald commands respect and knows just how to stir the emotion within a locker room.

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“I think everybody in the team room would be happy to have Luke again,” Rory McIlroy said afterwards in the winning European press conference.

While Donald says he has “not yet been asked,” his players are already imploring him to stay on and create history in New York.

Of course, in the immediate aftermath, it is easy to back the man who has masterminded moments of such unrivalled elation.

But this is a unique case where Donald must be seriously considered to become the first European captain to retain his role since Bernard Gallacher 28 years ago.

The LIV Golf divide has, at least for now, left blue and gold options threadbare in the captaincy department. Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter were all shoo-ins but their exile has opened the door for Donald to start a second term.

“I think these guys will be around for a long time, and we’re going to put up a great fight in two years,” Donald beamed. He has earned the chance to lead that battle.

As for the Americans, the beleaguered Johnson may well have played his last part in the Ryder Cup.

The US are in desperate need of inspiration and it is time to replenish a leadership team that has become extremely stale.

Step forward Tiger Woods, who is still threatening a competitive comeback but, at best, will play a limited schedule between now and Bethpage Black.

“Yeah, I think he might be the next captain,” Paul Azinger, the US winning skipper in 2008, has already speculated on NBC.

If Woods wants the responsibility, he is primed to get his time at Bethpage Black.

His Ryder Cup record, is of course, famously dismal, but surely no player will ignite the fire in American bellies like the man they all look up to the most.

Tiger vs Donald in 2025? Bring it on.

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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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