Steve Stricker. © Eoin Clarke | Golffile
The numbers do not deceive and are to start to tremble. The United States will count next week in Whistling Straits with the best team in its history in the Ryder Cup since the world ranking exists, the most mathematical scale that we can use to measure the true level of the two squads. The first Ryder cup In the world ranking era was held in 1987, as this ranking began to function a year earlier. Since then, counting on the present edition of 2021, 17 have been held and never USA had such a powerful team. (These numbers have been made by adding the world rankings of all the players the week of the Ryder Cup).
Cotton does not cheat. Steve Stricker he will have eight world top ten at his command, the highest number ever in any of the teams. The second time there were more top ten players on the planet was on the 2018 American team in Paris. Six concentrated there. Europe has never had more than five top 10s and it was in 1991 and 1999. Interestingly, in both editions the United States won. It is seen that the favorite poster does not suit the Old continent.
Let’s get back to the data. If we add each of the positions in the world ranking of the players of both teams, it turns out that the United States accumulates 106 points. It is the lowest figure in its long history. It surpasses the Paris team by 28 points, the second strongest according to the world ranking. Meanwhile, Europe is going up to 361 points. It is the ninth strongest in its history and it only has one world top ten, that is, the number 1 in the world (Jon rahm). It is the fourth time that Europe has only one member of the world top 10.
If we subtract the figure for Europe, those 361 points, from that of the United States, the 106 mentioned above, it turns out that the figure that explains the difference between the two teams today is 255 points. We already anticipate that it is very big. So much so that never in this century was there so much distance between the United States and Europe. Only in 2002 there was more difference, but that figure is a bit misleading, since in that edition those who had qualified in 2001 played, before the suspension for the devastating attack on the Twin Towers. In other words, between 2001 and 2002 its world ranking changed a lot. In fact, if we look at the one they had in 2001 the week that Ryder was due to play, the difference was just 147 points.
The data put on the table expresses an objective reality. The United States has its best team ever and the difference with Europe is abysmal. Another piece of information to influence this idea. Scottie scheffler, number 21 in the world is the best worst player in the history of Ryder. Never did the United States or Europe have a ‘Player Number 12’ with such a good world ranking. Scheffler has ousted Jim Furyk, who came as the worst North American at the 2012 Ryder Cup in 23rd place. So much so that Scheffler has a better ranking than eight components of Europe.
This is what mathematics says, but then the reality of the competition can be very different. Europe has never faced such a powerful monster, but it has defeated others that were also very scary. In fact, of the six best teams the United States has ever had at the Ryder Cup, five lost to Europe. Only those from 1999 managed to save the honor … and we already know what that Ryder from Brookline. Europe is used to going to the Ryder with the sheepskin and it shouldn’t be a problem. In this sense, in the world ranking era Europe has won the Ryder eleven times, always going with an inferior team on paper, and has lost only five times, two of them with a superior team than the United States.
With all that, what we mean is that the numbers make it clear that the favorite poster corresponds only and exclusively to the United States, although Europe has become an expert in eating this label with potatoes. We’ll see if he succeeds again, this time against the best rival he has ever faced.
Other fun facts about the history of the Ryder in the world ranking era:
– In ten of the seventeen editions the number 1 in the world was in the Ryder Cup, five on the United States side (three times Tiger Woods and twice Dustin Johnson) and another five on the European side (Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo, Rory McIlroy twice and Jon Rahm). Of those ten times, only three times did the team that had the Number One win (McIlroy in 2014 and 2012 and Tiger Woods in 1999). Good challenge for Rahm.
– The lowest ranked golfer to ever play the Ryder Cup is Lee Westwood, who was ranked 148th in the strange outlier in 2002. The worst ever in America was Hal Sutton in the same year. It came in 125th place.
– On two occasions one of the two teams has had in its ranks Numbers 1, 2, and 3 of the world ranking. The first time occurred in Europe in 1991 (Woosnam, Olazábal and Faldo) and the second in the United States in 2006 (Tiger, Mickelson and Furyk). Interestingly, both times the rival team won.
– It is the third time in history that a Spaniard (Jon Rahm) arrives as the best player in the world ranking in the Ryder Cup. The first two were Seve Ballesteros in 1987 and 1989, editions to which he arrived as Number 2, behind by Greg Norman. Obviously, the United States is the only country that can boast of having had the best Ryder player more times.