Ryder Cup niggle: Where did Darren Clarke go wrong?

The Scoop

Should the European skipper have done anything differently at Hazeltine?

Steve Carroll: So the Americans have won the Ryder Cup and inflicted upon Europe the heaviest defeat since Walton Heath in 1981.

It was a hard watch on Sunday as Darren Clarke’s boys were handed a 17-11 spanking by the USA at Hazeltine and the inquests are already beginning.

Just as long as we don’t set up a Task Force.

The skipper claims he wouldn’t have done anything differently – from the selection of wildcards to the pairings for the fourballs.

Would you? Was he right to pick Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood? Should Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Chris Wood have played on Saturday afternoon?

Should be have played his rookies differently?

The larger question, of course, is would it have made any difference?

Dan Murphy: In the cold light of day, Clarke was desperately short of options before a ball was struck and even more so after the opening session. I think Westwood, Kaymer and Pieters were the right wild cards – he just needed huge weeks from the former two and sadly both were out of form. I do wish he had played Sullivan, Wood and Fitzpatrick once more apiece just to get them into the game but it’s easier said than done when you are up against it from the start against an in-form USA team.

James Savage: There were a few things Clarke could have done differently but, ultimately, USA were the stronger side man-for-man and seemed to hole more putts when it mattered.

clarke

The killer session for me was Saturday afternoon and Clarke had to name his picks for that when Garcia and Cabrera-Bello were down in their match with Reed and Spieth.

Had he been able to name his picks after that match, I’m certain Rafa would have been out with his fellow Spaniard in the fourballs.

Chris Wood may have got another run out too after his win.

Clarke was let down a bit by Westwood and Kaymer but they were his wildcard picks so he can’t really complain.

And you feel for Danny Willett who was paired with those players in each of his matches on the first two days.

Willett should have gone out with Sullivan or Chris Wood instead of Westwood. Sergio should have played with Rafa.

Clarke could and perhaps should have been a bit bolder with his wildcard picks and ultimately his picks once the matches had begun.

It may have made the victory a little less convincing for the Americans but I very much doubt it would have affected the overall outcome.

SC: That’s a very detailed list. Maybe you could form your own Ryder Cup task force…

Mark Townsend: All sorts you could go at but if you’re going into the singles only having played one match, that match should at least be a fourball.

Asks far too much of anyone to get into the flow of it all at 3pm on Sunday.

Georgina Simpson: For me, Darren’s pairings were an issue.

Danny should have played with Westwood on the first morning.  I think they may have both played better had that happened and had they got a point from that session.

Garcia and Rafa had some special Spanish connection that made them a great partnership.

Lee Westwood – unfortunately when the pressure was on he did what he seems to do in them situations – like three putting 16 at The Masters. I think that may have been his last Ryder Cup, however good his iron play is.

Clarke

I thought we played well. We just didn’t hole our fair share of putts coming down the closing straight.

Jordan Elliott: I think on the whole the USA were far superior to the European team, so no matter what team Clarke fielded or what pairings he chose, the inevitable was to be expected.

However, I was a little disappointed with the strength in depth on the final day. It seemed that we had all of our so called “big guns” at the front of the field and we left the weaker/less experienced players to finish the running.

With no past Ryder Cup experience this could have been disaster.

Luckily, we weren’t relying on Fitzpatrick, Wood and Sullivan as the result was already decided.

SC: Wasn’t Clarke forced into that because Europe were three points behind? He had no choice but to stack the order…

JE: Either way, it wouldn’t have mattered as our team was much weaker, as the result showed. There was lots of red on the board towards the end of the field.

Jamie Millar: Taking Westwood was a mistake for me. Seems like he only got the pick because was Clarke’s mate. He has been exceptional in previous Ryder Cups but surely that has to be his last playing involvement in one?

All in all, we were beaten by the better team and stronger team.

JS: In hindsight, Pieters and Willett on the opening morning would have been good but he was never going to put two rookies out.

James Broadhurst: Beef should have gone! It wouldn’t have made a difference to the outcome. I actually don’t think anything would have changed the outcome, the majority of the American players were just too good.

But at least Beef would have been more entertaining than Westwood or Kaymer.

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