The Europeans had a stunning representation at the 2016 Masters. Seven out of the top 15 players were European, definitely breaking records and making Masters history. Not to mention Danny Willett who won the damn thing, becoming only the second Englishman to win the Masters.
Many probably think of this Masters as Jordan Spieth’s choke, undermining the true determination and talent of Willett. The fact that he was at 12th place last week should say something. He was already in the top 20 in the world ranking and with his first major win he’s moved up to 9th place.
Willett earned his green jacket and wears it well, leading the Europeans into an exciting year for the Ryder Cup. Even Darren Clarke, the European Captain, was extremely impressed.
“It was a wonderful week from a European perspective. With the winner Danny Willett and indeed Lee Westwood playing a lot better and Justin Rose and Matthew Fitzpatrick, there were so many Europeans up there in the top 10. So it was a very positive week for the Europeans.”
We’ve gone through the possible teams before but I think it needs some updating. These teams are based on the current standings:
1. Jordan Spieth
2. Dustin Johnson
3. Bubba Watson
4. Brandt Snedeker
5. Zach Johnson
6. Rickie Fowler
7. Phil Mickelson
8. J.B. Holmes
Although statistically speaking the American Team looks like the stronger team, but it has always looked that way. Over 20 years the American Team has only won twice, even with “better” individual players. Willett’s win could be the cherry on top of America’s down hill streak.
One thought is that the European Team has more chemistry. They have this sense of camaraderie that maybe the American Team just doesn’t have. This was made very clear by Patrick Reed, who has formed closer bonds with the Europeans than his own team mates. Then again, the team got together earlier this year at Jack Nicklaus’s house. Hopefully they got a good pep talk from Nicklaus that will fuel their asses into gear.
Jordan Spieth came in second at the Masters. Sure it’s not first and he had a real chance to break some records, but second place at the Masters is still an amazing feat. He may not see it that way, which can either be really good or really bad for the Ryder Cup. Either he can use this defeat as a push for winning the next tournament, or he can wallow in his misery and bring the whole team down. But I don’t think that’s in Spieth’s nature. I think he will bounce back and come back even harder. Remember, Jordan Spieth is only 22-years-old, he’s not done yet.
Rory McIlroy made it to Sunday of the Masters, showing that he’s still in the race, but he just couldn’t pull it together when he needed to. There are just so many good players at this time that it’s hard to say who will get their shit together when it’s time and who won’t.
If Dustin Johnson can learn to putt, he might be a huge asset for the American team. Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler. All wonderful players that need to get behind their teams and rally. So although the American team still has a fighting chance, this showing for the Europeans at the Masters definitely says something amazing about their team.
The Ryder Cup is in August but it really can’t come soon enough. A lot can happen in 4 months!