Special Envoy to Rome,
- Ryder Cup 2023: live results
- The world ranking of the best golf players
McIlroy, Rahm and Hovland tauliers at the rendezvous
McIlroy size boss. Lined up each time, the world number 2 has perfectly assumed his role as leader for his seventh Ryder Cup. Launched in the first games on Sunday to set the tone, he tamed the dangerous Sam Burns to bring back a 4th point to his team in 5 games. Jon Rahm, also a boss size. By snatching the half-point Sunday at the 18th against Scottie Scheffler, the Spaniard remained undefeated in this 44th edition with 3.5 points out of 4 possible and a warrior mentality. Indispensable, also, Viktor Hovland with 3.5 points out of 5. The Norwegian has perfectly forgotten his difficult debut in 2021 at Whistling Straits. The world No. 4 also played a big brother role for the very promising rookie Ludvig Aberg. The two men scored the biggest win in Ryder Cup history, 9&7 against Koepka/Scheffler.
Cantlay, against all odds
With rookie Max Homa (3.5 points in 5 games), Patrick Cantlay was one of the few satisfactions of the American team. Battered by the public because of the "gate cap" (see below), little helped by his privileged doubles partner (Xander Schauffele), the world 5th showed composure in the Roman furnace. Almost single-handedly, he gave hope to Team US on Saturday night by winning the fourballs thanks to three consecutive birdies that crucified the McIlroy-Fitzpatrick pair. And on Sunday, in singles, he was able to master Justin Rose, yet a hell of a match-play client. Hat.
Europeans on Sunday in Rome. PHIL NOBLE / REUTERS
Europe more united than ever
I'm very proud of my twelve players. From day one, we managed to create something strong between us," said Luke Donald, the European captain. At a press conference, the European heroes highlighted their solidarity and friendship. One team, one real one. Europe maintained its unbeaten streak at home thanks to doubles by setting a record with the first four foursomes won and not losing a single match in eight doubles on Friday. A first. Behind the stars (McIlroy, Rahm, Hovland), the lieutenants have perfectly fulfilled their contract. Like Tommy Fleetwood who brings the point of victory. And veteran Justin Rose was perfect in doubles. Not to mention Tyrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick who have been prime partners for Rahm and McIlroy.
A perfect course for the event and the atmosphere at the rendezvous
So of course the Marco Simone Golf & Country club is not as impressive as the Golf National, theater of the 2018 edition. Nevertheless, it remains a hell of a course cut for this event. And its setting, the hilly region of Lazio (eastern suburbs of Rome) is more enchanting than the landscape of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines... With notably its par 4 of the 16 reachable in 1, the Roman course offered a lot of spectacle in its epilogue. Birdies and also balls in the water. As for the 18th, it kept all its promises. We will not forget the three half-points snatched by Europe on this green thanks to putts from elsewhere from Rahm, Hovland and Rose. The Ryder in madness. The Ryder Cup as we like it. Birdies, spectacle, an atmosphere sometimes worthy of a football stadium. The "Europe, Europe" resonated louder and louder, shouted in particular by the 6000 spectators of the imposing grandstand of hole number 1. The "Europe's on fire, USA is terrified!" was also a fashionable song, taking up the famous Freed From Desire, by the Italian Gala, brought up to date by the epic of the Blues of football in Qatar.
The bankruptcy of American foursomes
The Americans conceded their seventh consecutive defeat on European soil where their last success dates back to 1993. An eternity. And as is often the case, it was in the foursomes that they failed. They have conceded seven of their eight games played in this format. The Americans may regret having neglected their preparation: they came, and still not all, just one day last month scouting the Marco Simone... Unlike their European rivals, the Americans have played little since late August and the epilogue of the season on the PGA Tour. Calendar problems that have weighed them down. A pillar of the American team for ten years, Jordan Spieth has been ghostly. His association with his friend Justin Thomas did not have the expected success with two losses and a draw. Disunited States...
The Scheffler fiasco
The best player in the world has had a waking nightmare in Italy. The Texans have taken only one point in four games. Associated with Brooks Koepka, he suffered a historic defeat against the young Scandinavian pair Havland-Aberg (9&7). Unregulated driving, unable to make a putt, we did not recognize the player who remains the undisputed boss of world golf for more than a year. In distress, the winner of the Masters 2022 did not hide his tears Saturday. He barely consoled himself the next day by sharing the points with Jon Rahm at the end of a hell of a showdown.
Jon Rahm CARL RECINE / REUTERS
Stars on the edge of their skin
Under tension and with skin flowers, the gladiators of the greens sometimes behaved like spoiled children under the Roman sun. We sometimes had the impression of being in a playground in this 44th edition. It is Brooks Koepka, bitter, who stigmatizes the behavior of Jon Rahm, guilty according to him of having behaved "like a child" when expressing his joy yet legitimate. It is Patrick Cantlay's caddie, Joe Lacava who bothers Rory McIlroy when putting on the 18th, it is the same McIlroy who has a violent verbal clash in a parking lot with another caddy following Lacava's borderline behaviour.
The "gate cap" in everyone's head
American journalists claimed that Patrick Cantlay would have asked to be paid to compete in the mythical event (which is contrary to the spirit of this competition). And in protest, the world 5 would have refused to wear the cap of the US team. An allegation strongly denied by the person concerned on Sunday. But the rumour quickly circulated among journalists and European fans. In the press conference there was not too much talk of sport and on the field the atmosphere sometimes turned to circus games. Very teasing, European fans regularly took off their cap and turned it, when the Californian was about to putt. A behavior at the limit of fair play. The vice-captain of the old continent Nicolas Colsaerts even had to intervene on the green of the 16th, to put an end to the dance of caps ...
Patrick Cantlay ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP