Ryder Cup power ratings: The early winners and losers
The Ryder Cup. It is not just about the final score.
Okay, it is. But there is so much more that goes in to producing a winning team than just what you’ll see on the leaderboard on Sunday night.
Who shone and who shrank under the pressure of team combat? Who stole the show in their press conference? Which captain outdid the other?
Our Ryder Cup power ratings bid to break down the mystery that surrounds golf’s biggest team competition.
We’ll try and take you into the team room (not physically, we can’t get past security) and we’ll be your eyes and ears out on the course.
Every day, when the action gets under way, we’ll evaluate the action and give each player a rating based on how we think they got on at Hazeltine.
It’s been a long build up for Davis Love III and Darren Clarke. So how have the players been getting on the ‘phony war’ of the build up? Let’s get stuck in and find out.
1 Sergio Garcia 10/10
2 Rory McIlroy – 9/10
“I’ve always wanted to win for the captain”. Yes, it’s a cliché but Rory’s love letter to Darren Clarke in his press conference was not idle chit-chat. The skipper has been a hero to McIlroy since he was 10. It could provide the motivation he needs to dominate.
3 Justin Rose – 9/10
At the risk of this turning all teary, Justin Rose is also primed for Hazeltine brilliance. The 2002 PGA Championship was the last tournament his late dad, Ken, saw him play. “Anyone who knows me will be aware that thinking about my dad…helps to inspire me.” Watch out USA.
4 Lee Westwood – 8/10
If a curly mullet and a dark tan was enough to make Lee Westwood swoon after meeting Darren Clarke for the first time in 1993, what’s he going to put on the line for his big buddy this week? Expect Lee to go to the well and beyond for his big pal.
5 Andy Sullivan – 8/10
It takes a certain confidence to be making demands as a Ryder Cup rookie, but is Andy Sullivan ever going to shut up about his bromance with Rory McIlroy? You can play together, happy now?
6 Danny Willett – 8/10
“I’m going to go there as me, I’m not there as a Masters champion, I’m going there as a European team member trying to get points on the board.” I think you’ve got this Ryder Cup thing down to a tee, Danny…
7 Martin Kaymer – 7/10
The German is all business at all times and, in a team half full of rookies, his experience will be key.
You can’t question his nerve – he sunk the winning putt at Medinah, after all.
8 Henrik Stenson – 6/10
He’s out on the course, which is a positive. But until I see detailed X-rays and medical files, I’m still worried about that torn meniscus and much will rely on the Swede’s fitness. Reveal all, Doctor Clarke…
9 Thomas Pieters – 6/10
To bee, or not to bee. That is the question. The Belgian’s reaction to a bee sting stopped one of the world’s in-form golfers in his tracks. Can he pick up where he left off?
10 Matt Fitzpatrick – 6/10
Has been reflecting on how he watched the action at Gleneagles from his sofa. Now he’s in the thick of it. Looks a calm character but how will he cope when pitched into battle?
11 Chris Wood – 5/10
Where are you Chris? It’s hard to miss him usually, such is his giant frame, but the rookie has been noticeably low key so far. The Ryder Cup is no place for wallflowers.
12 Rafa Cabrera-Bello 4/10
Reportedly moaned after being downgraded on a recent flight to the States. Forced to slum it in economy, he didn’t even pay for the ticket. Ryder Cups aren’t about you, Rafa.
Darren Clarke – 8/10
Taking a leaf out the Paul McGinley school of captaincy, the European team room looks great and he’s winning on points after the opening media skirmishes. An assured start.
1 JB Holmes – 10/10
An American with an unbeaten Ryder Cup record would fetch millions on the open market. So step forward JB Holmes, the rarest of the rare. After brain surgery, this is a doddle.
2 Patrick Reed – 9/10
If Seve had his salute, Patrick Reed has the “shhh”. Think the USA will be out of cheerleaders without Bubba? I can’t wait to see what this guy does in his second Ryder Cup.
3 Rickie Fowler – 8/10
“Can you talk a little bit about facial hair in golf and your view of it?” If you can keep a straight face after your presser opens with that gem, then you deserve a glowing mark. Heck, give him a 9.
4 Jimmy Walker – 8/10
5 Dustin Johnson – 5/10
It’s always heartening to see the American ‘me, me, me’ attitude out in force so while DJ’s plea not to play with Mickelson may have been honest enough, it does nothing to dim attitudes of individualism.
6 Jordan Spieth – 5/10
There’s talk of him being the USA anchor and, if so, he’s going to need to start playing like the team’s star. Brilliant putting will always keep him in the hunt but I’d fancy Europe’s chances in foursomes.
7 Matt Kuchar – 6/10
Three Ryder Cups and no wins. Part of the culture of failure that’s dogged the USA this century, he’ll have to prove he can succeed where so many of his countrymen have failed.
8 Zach Johnson – 6/10
One of the few veterans in the side who can boast a half-decent record – he’s won as many as he’s lost – it’s still hard to see Zach playing any significant fourball role. So he’d better have his foursomes skates on…
9 Brooks Koepka – 6/10
Poor Brooks. He’s been pouring his heart out about having to watch European team victories, when he was playing in Europe. Diddums.
10 Phil Mickelson – 5/10
Team leader, big brother – the American’s are bigging up Big Phil. But the Ryder Cup veteran is under huge pressure at Hazeltine. His form’s not brilliant, it could be his last appearance and, oh yeah, he threw Tom Watson under a bus at Gleneagles.
11 Brandt Snedeker – 4/10
So that’s why you always wear a cap on the course. There were a few misfits in the USA Ryder Cup team photo, but Sneds’ mug shot wouldn’t look out of place in any wanted list.
12 Ryan Moore – 3/10
Has been the unwitting cause of one of the week’s stranger stories, Bubba Watson’s appointment as vice-captain. I still can’t work how he fits into his team. Can you?
Davis Love III – 5/10
Outfoxed by Darren Clarke at the opening press conferences, the normally considered Love III could have made a huge mistake with his ‘best ever’ comment. Just pin that on the wall, lads.