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billy foster

Billy Foster: Team USA were ‘in trouble’ before the Ryder Cup began

Legendary caddie Billy Foster said Europe’s team bonding compared with the USA at the Ryder Cup is like “Halifax Town and Manchester City”

 

Billy Foster knew Team USA were in trouble before the Ryder Cup started.

Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele and Jordan Spieth plus 11 caddies didn’t attend America’s pre-event scouting mission in Rome.

Europe’s full squad of players and bag carriers travelled to Marco Simone for their prep trip before the 44th Ryder Cup, which “said it all” to Foster.

The legendary looper, now 16 Ryder Cups into his career, believes the US absences and lack of team bonding were symptomatic of “how it’s always been.”

“I’ve been in that American locker room on a couple of occasions and the camaraderie, and the team bonding is not in the same stratosphere, it’s like Halifax Town playing Manchester City,” he told NCG on the From the Clubhouse podcast.

“They’ll never have that. You could argue on paper that they have better players, but I have to say, the team bonding in that locker room is as good as it’s ever been.

“You’ve lost some great characters like Poulter and Garcia who have been massively inspirational in that locker room.

billy foster

“Certain players stood up. Rory stood up massively, Shane Lowry stood up massively, Jon Rahm. They’re filling in the shoes that have left the locker room.

“You go in the caddie’s team room at times and they’d be stood on the tables singing Sweet Caroline and American Pie, carrying on getting clattered – proper team bonding.

“They’re all tucked up in bed, but that’s the way it’s always been. You know what said it all to me was in practice a couple of weeks before the Ryder Cup, in Europe, there were 12 players and 12 caddies. America sent nine players and one caddie.

“That said it all about team bonding for me, they were in trouble as soon as I heard that. They’re chalk and cheese when it comes to team bonding.”

Foster, who caddies for 2022 US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, also foresaw the excellence of Ludvig Aberg before Luke Donald chose him as one of six captain’s picks in Rome.

Fitzpatrick was drawn with the Swede at the RBC Canadian Open where Foster was quite impressed by the young sensation who scored two points in four matches.

“I sent Luke Donald a message on the Friday night, after playing with him in the first two rounds, saying this lad is Henrik Stenson’s love child – keep your eyes on him,” he said.

“Sure enough he delivered, but you lose the likes of Westwood, Poulter, Stenson, Garcia and McDowell, people like that – great players.

“You thought where is the next breed coming from, but you get the likes of Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland and Fitz to a certain extent stepping up to fill those shoes that have been vacated over the last few years.”

Despite a tense Sunday afternoon, Europe won 16.5 – 11.5 which was their 10th victory in the last 14 renewals.

billy foster

What about the Ryder Cup pay debate?

Patrick Cantlay became the subject of a debate about Ryder Cup pay that sparked during the tournament and has rumbled on since.

It was reported after the event that Cantlay said he wanted to be paid like PGA of America executive Julius Mason in a conversation with US TV reporter Steve Sands on the 1st tee box in Italy.

European captain Donald completely rejected the thought of being paid to compete against America when quizzed on the subject during the event.

Foster went further and said a European player would likely be ridiculed by his peers if they wanted money to play for Team Europe.

The Yorkshireman has caddied for Seve Ballesteros, Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood in his career and, speaking from his experience, this is not the first time the Ryder Cup pay debate has reared its head.

“I actually wore a shirt – it might’ve been ’99 at Brookline,” he added. “I wore a shirt with the European logo on saying “we play for pride, not money,” so they’ve obviously been banging on about that for 20-odd years that they want paying for it.

“If any European lad came out saying they want paying, they’d get battered in the locker room by his fellow caddies and players. That’s not the way Europe works.”

NOW READ: Edoardo Molinari: Joe LaCava gave Europe ‘fuel’ to win the Ryder Cup

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What you do think was the main reason Europe won the Ryder Cup? Tell us on X!

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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