The slogan in evidence all around Hazeltine National Golf Club was “Where Legends Are Forged,” and there is no doubt that the 2016 Ryder Cup that ended yesterday with a 17-11 USA victory will go a long way to launching and cementing the legends of a number of players from both squads. To us—and you can post your opinions below—these were the players who made the most significant statements over the past few days.
Patrick Reed. Two years ago at Gleneagles, as a Ryder Cup rookie, he went 3-0-1. This year he was 3-1-1, including a key 1-up victory in the lead singles match over Rory McIlroy. No one got more excited or, more importantly, rose to the occasion like Reed. It’s as if donning the red, white, and blue turns him into some kind of superhero—Captain America, perhaps?—and we’re likely to see him at the forefront of these team matches for a long time to come.
Thomas Pieters. The 2016 Ryder Cup rookie sensation for Europe went 4-1-0, and as a captain’s pick, no less. The cool, quiet Belgian, only 24 years old, should have gained enormous confidence from his play and is someone to watch on the world stage from now on.
Rory McIlroy. A few months—make that weeks—ago, we were wondering what ever happened to Rory. Then he won the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup and despite losing in the opening Foursomes and the final Singles, was the heart and soul of the European team, stoking the crowd, playing stellar golf, and acting like the leader we expect him to be well into the future.
Phil Mickelson. How does he continue to get psyched up for this, and at 46 years old? His 2-1-1 record was built on outstanding, and unusually accurate, play that included one clutch putt after another. Many questioned his involvement in forming and running the team, but Phil didn’t just talk the talk: He walked the walk and in his 11th Ryder Cup appearance proved that no one is better at turning controversy into conquest. Love him or hate him, you simply have to marvel. Expect to see him as the Ryder Cup captain very soon.
So who would you give a gold star to? Tell us who and why in the “Feedback” section below. And let the hype for 2018 begin.