Sometimes it can be hard to look at the positives in the immediate aftermath of a defeat. However, there are plenty of reasons to be positive about Europe’s chances of winning the Samuel Ryder trophy back in two years’ time.
1. The home advantage and the French crowd
Although at times the atmosphere at Hazeltine National Golf Club this week was hostile, most of the home support in Minnesota was passionate and fair.
Playing away is never easy and the American team will take their turn to meet a loud and partisan crowd when they travel to Le Golf National in France for the 2018 Ryder Cup.
With the biennial event being held in continental Europe for only the second time in its history, and in France for the first time, expect a lot of excitement and noise in Paris in 726 days’ time. The venue being a regular stop for the Open de France on the European Tour schedule will also be an advantage to many of our players, who will know the tricky layout well.
2. Nothing gets Rory McIlroy more pumped than The Ryder Cup
Rory has been fist pumping, high-fiving, roaring and enjoying some passionate exchanges with the home fans ever since the Northern Irishman took to the first tee alongside Andy Sullivan in the opening day’s foursomes.
Now a senior member of Team Europe, McIlroy appeared to relish the role and lived up to his reputation as a team leader, by winning three points from his five games and playing a big part in the extraordinary performances of his partner for three of those ties, Pieters. The four time Major champion was also involved in a titanic singles match against American Patrick Reed.
Although Rory lost that tie on the final hole he showed passion in abundance and just how much The Ryder Cup means to him. We like roaring Rory, and would love to see more of the same from him in 2018.
3. Thomas Pieters and Rafa Cabrera Bello
Rookies Pieters and Cabrera Bello made their mark on the 2016 Ryder Cup, with the pair only losing one match between them all week. Pieters recovered from a session one foursomes defeat in style to make history by becoming the first European rookie to win four points.
The Belgian’s partnership with Rory McIlroy saw the big-hitting pair win three points from three matches in a pairing that could prove to be a very useful one in Ryder Cups to come. Sent out third for the Sunday singles by Captain Darren Clarke in recognition of his fine performances, the 24 year old defeated J.B Holmes to cap off a wonderful start to what will surely be a long and successful Ryder Cup career.
Cabrera Bello meanwhile went undefeated from his three matches, with the Spaniard and his countryman Sergio Garcia winning one and halving one of their matches over the first two days, before Rafa showed just how good he is in the singles matches, where the 32 year old overcame Jimmy Walker 3&2.
One of the European highlights of the 2016 Ryder Cup was Rafa and Sergio’s amazing comeback in the Saturday foursomes, where the pair won four of the last six holes to halve with American heavyweights Spieth and Reed. Expect to see the name Cabrera Bello on more Ryder Cup teamsheets.
4. Bouncebacks – the last three times USA have won, Team Europe have won the next three
Defeat in sport hurts. And in recent times whenever Team Europe have tasted defeat in the biggest golfing team event, and have bounced back superbly. After losing at Brookline in 1999, Europe went on to win the next three Ryder Cups. The same pattern repeated itself after Europe lost at 2008 at Valhalla Golf Club, with victories at Celtic Manor, Medinah and Gleneagles following. Expect a response USA.
5. Extra Incentives
With Team Europe having won eight of the last ten Ryder Cups, having that feeling of defeat will motivate our players to win the trophy back next time out. With plenty of fantastic Ryder Cup rivalries developing between the two teams, including Rory and Reed’s, there will be more than just team pride on the line in France in 2018.
Many of the European players who have helped us to a long, sustained period of success in the Ryder Cup have also become accustomed to finishing the week with decent individual points tallies. Some of the more established Team Europe players were not able to replicate their world-class performances of recent Ryder Cups in Hazeltine, but make no mistake about it, they will be eager to make up for that when the American team come to Le Golf National.