Does Molinari's Open win make Europe Ryder Cup favourites?July 22, 2018 Opinion
Francesco Molinari ended the American domination of majors at The Open – but has it swung the Ryder Cup in Europe's favour? The Fourball team discuss
Alex: I asked Twitter on Saturday if they thought Rory McIlroy or Jordan Spieth would end their career with more majors, with a resounding response in the latter’s favour with a lot of chat about the former being too inconsistent. Then on Sunday McIlroy made more of a run at it while Spieth faded away. Who do you think ends up with more majors?
Dan: I’m happy to stick with Rory actually. It’s really, really hard to win majors and, in my opinion, that becomes more true with every passing year. Rory is undoubtedly less consistent than many of the game’s greats but when he’s hot he’s hot. And I think his win percentage is high when he is at his best. I actually don’t think he was quite at his best this week but still came very, very close to a second Claret Jug. As for Spieth, he has the knack of dragging himself into contention at majors. That’s priceless. But his game still has some holes in it for me and as long as his long game remains erratic then he is going to be susceptible to what happened here in the last round.
James: Rory needs to work on his wedges and his putting. Look at 18 on Sunday where he, Rose and Molinari all had the same shot in. When he really needed to hit it close, he couldn’t. The way he drove the ball at times just highlighted how much he needs to improve from inside 120 yards. And he needs to stop missing four-footers with such regularity. But I believe he can do it and still expect him to win more majors than Spieth. I still feel like Rory is capable of blowing away a field in major in a way only perhaps Dustin Johnson is also capable of.
Steve: Spieth hasn’t had his best stuff at all this season and, yet, he has still nearly won the Masters and the Open. He’s got a temperament and mental strength that I think still eludes McIlroy, who is brilliant when it’s his day.
When the major count is added up for the final time in their careers, it’s Spieth that I’ll wager on being ahead.
Dan: At last we have a European major winner again. Does that change the nature of the build-up to Paris and the Ryder Cup and who do you make the favourites at this point?
James: Not sure it will count for much come September but I’m sure Thomas Bjorn will be feeling a bit better about things. America are still strong favourites and rightly so because they have the best players from a world ranking point of view. There was also a very strong showing from Team USA at this Open Championship. Too many Europeans failed to show up this week which is a slight concern.
Steve: It’s a huge boost for Thomas Bjorn if you listen to the pundits but I’m not sure it really has any bearing, and I would have felt the same way if the Open had remained in American hands. Ultimately, the Ryder Cup is three days and whichever team plays – and more importantly putts – better will prevail. Who won what in the past has little to do with it. I like the make up of the European side at the moment, but the USA still look the stronger overall.
Alex: Americans could have won the last 20 majors and I would still have Europe as favourites. It’s a boring argument, but it’s relevant nonetheless: Look at Tiger Woods’ major record vs. his Ryder Cup record. It’s a boost, of course it is, but the Ryder Cup is like an FA Cup tie – form means nothing, home advantage plays a huge part, and anyone can win on their day. Anyway, it’s 1-1 between Woods and Molinari at Ryder Cups, so we need a decider…