2017 Awards: Landmark Moment #4

As 2017 draws to a close it’s time to reflect on some of the highlights and low-lights of another fascinating year in the game. 

We’ll be nominating Bouquets, Brickbats and Landmark Moments over the Christmas period including this extraordinary performance by the US Presidents cup team.

American golf writer Alan Shipnuck was subjected to howls of abuse recently when he penned a column suggesting the Ryder Cup was dead.

Shipnuck’s thesis, presented only partly tongue in cheek, was that the current crop of US players is so strong that Europe’s aging stars are in for at least a decade of beating.

Not surprisingly, European fans took the bait and the column quickly went viral as non-American followers of the game made their feelings known.

Sadly, though, Shipnuck might have a point.

What may turn out to be a landmark moment in international team competition came at October’s Presidents Cup in New Jersey courtesy of a truly remarkable display of golf by Team USA.

Incredibly, the 12-man US squad stood on the brink of victory after just three days of the four-day competition, an almost unthinkable performance at the elite levels of the game.

Their dominance was jaw-dropping against a team of Internationals who, while admittedly not matching the firepower of their opponents, were nevertheless all accomplished players in their own right.

Featuring a mix of youth and experience and boasting a talent level that is off the charts, the 12-man US team looked, and played, like an unbeatable unit.

The US even had the services of Tiger Woods as an assistant to team captain Steve Stricker.

From Dustin Johnson to Kevin Chappell it was hard to find a weakness and it showed as they steamrolled an International side that included Hideki Matsuyama, Jason Day and Adam Scott.

There was much hand-wringing in the aftermath as analysts and commentators threw out ideas to try to make the matches more competitive and compelling.

But the truth of the week is that while the International team didn’t play their best, the outcome would likely have been similar even if they had.

In the under 30 camp, the US team featured: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka, Daniel Berger and Rickie Fowler.

Their ‘veterans’ were World Number One Dustin Johnson ably assisted by Matt Kuchar, Charley Hoffman, Kevin Kisner and Phil Mickelson.

Throw in the possibility of Tiger Woods returning to the fray in 2018 and it’s difficult to see how any team, European or International, will stand a chance over the next 10 years.

When historians look back in 20 years’ time, they may well end up pointing to the 2017 Presidents Cup as the moment that ushered in a new era of American dominance in international team golf.

And for all the cat-calling and insults sent his way, it will be Alan Shipnuck who ends up having the last laugh.


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