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PGA Tour Confidential: Europe wins Ryder Cup with epic rally in Sunday singles

Rory McIlroy, Medinah
Robert Beck / SI
Rory McIlroy rolled into Medinah 10 minutes before his tee time ... and beat Keegan Bradley 2 and 1 in singles.

Godich: Bubba Watson got the crowd going at the first tee all three days, hitting his tee shot while the fans roared. Folks seem to be pretty much divided on this one. Did you like it? And is there a place for it in golf?

Hanger: There is a place for it in events like this, if the players are asking for it and it's all in good fun. When Poulter and Bubba both teed off to cheers on Friday, it was about as fun a moment as I've ever seen at a golf tournament. Totally loved it. That said, we won't see it again until the next Ryder Cup, if then.

Morfit: I have no problem with it if it's confined to the first tee of the Ryder Cup. Why not? It's sort of fun and everybody has to deal with it. McDowell said it was worse when all he heard was deafening silence.

Hanger: That's an interesting point from GMac. What better way to shake that first tee, oh-my-god-everybody's-staring-at-me feeling than to embrace the moment and have them cheer a little?

Herre: I liked it - something different, something oddly appropriate only in the Ryder Cup and only if the player asks the fans to cheer.

Garrity: I think it's fine, if you're goading the fans to make a racket while you hit, but totally unacceptable if you rile them up for an opponent's shot. And, of course, I despise those idiot fans who yell silly stuff at impact.

Shipnuck: It was great here but would be forced at the GHO. Once every couple of years is about right.

Ritter: Loved it. Would also be good to see it at Presidents Cups.

Dusek: Do I like it? Yes. Do I think it helped Bubba? Maybe (he missed the fairway Sunday). In such a pressure-filled environment, do you want to break from your routine? I don't think it would be a good idea week-to-week because, frankly, a lot of first tees are pretty lame.

Reiterman: It was only on the first tee, and it got the home crowd going, so why not? Loved it.

Van Sickle: Golf needs to be more fun and lose a little of its stodgy reputation. I thought it was great. Except by Sunday, it was a snowball that turned into an avalanche. It was all about getting the crowd cheering and less about hitting the fairway. It was great when Poulter matched him on Saturday. If there's a place in golf for this, though, I don't know where it is other than the Phoenix Open.

Wei: I thought it was awesome. Constant noise isn't the problem. It's the abrupt interruption (like a camera click or clueless marshal yelling quiet please) that throws them off.

Gorant: No problem with the first tee thing, but there was a little more cheering for bad shots by the Euros than I would have liked.

Wei: Exactly. I was embarrassed as an American. It was horrendous.

Hanger: Oh come on. If you're watching a football game, you cheer when the other team fumbles or drops a pass. If you're rooting for your team, it's only natural to cheer when something goes their way, and that includes things going badly for the other guys. Happens in Europe too.

Shipnuck: You had to be out there. The crowds were really obnoxious. A little spontaneous cheering when the visiting side makes a miscue is fine, and it does happen in Europe. Here it was more like jeering. And when the European crowds make comments to the American players, they tend to be clever and with a bit of a wink. At Medinah, the yahoo factor was pretty high.

Wei: The amount Sergio was harassed with stupid comments made me hope he'd win his matches.

Hanger: OK, that does sound bad. I rescind my "Oh come on" but still think it's fine to cheer a little for bad shots.

Shipnuck: Sure, it's spontaneous and the fans are excited about what might come next. There was some of that, too.

Tell us what you think in the comments section on Facebook: What's your take on crowds cheering during shots on the first tee? Should it happen at more events?

Godich: Which player was your most pleasant surprise? And the most disappointing?

Herre: Love the Duf, and have to admit I was wrong about D.J. -- he made a bunch of putts while going 3-0. Sad to see Stricker go out like this (I'm sure this will be his last Ryder Cup).

Shipnuck: Kaymer, obviously. Back from the dead! Tiger was the dud of all duds.

Hanger: I didn't think Dustin Johnson would come out of this 3-0, and I didn't think Tiger would be 0-3-1. Woods ran into a buzzsaw on Saturday, but still, that was disappointing.

Wei: Kaymer, and I loved Colsaerts. Most disappointing: I hate to say this because he's such a great guy, but Steve Stricker.

Dusek: I knew Jason Dufner was going to be a stud, so that was not a surprise. I'll take Justin Rose as the most pleasant surprise and Steve Stricker as the biggest disappointment.

Garrity: Keegan Bradley exceeded my expectations -- he made Phil look like a kid again! But Tiger had to be the most disappointing. He was unlucky in a couple of matches, but come on, he couldn't beat Molinari when Molinari made five bogeys! And then he threw away the tie! Terrible.

Shipnuck: And you could make the argument that seeing Tiger's getting off to a fast start would have given his team a lift. Instead he was two down at the blink of an eye.

Van Sickle: Colsaerts was awesome. He was a barely a rumor in the States before this. He hits it long and high and all those putts he made -- redonkulous. Most disappointing probably has to be Tiger. He is the No. 2 player in the world, and though he had flashes, you've got to win at least one match out of four.

Reiterman: The winning point came from Martin Kaymer. No one saw that coming. Woods-Stricker have to share the blame, especially Stricker. Woods played well for stretches but only had ½ point to show for it.

Morfit: Woods actually played better than pretty well. Love said in the presser that according to his and his assistants' calculations, he'd have been leading the tournament through the first two days if it had been stroke play. (Not that that will help ease the sting, but still.)

Shipnuck: It ain't stroke play. Match play is all about the moment, and Tiger couldn't get it done twice on 18. Also, in a team event, interpersonal dynamics are key, and his brooding presence is a buzz-kill for the crowd and his teammates.

Godich: How about Rory going from the parking lot to the first tee and playing golf like that? That is a process we can all admire.

Garrity: That was beautiful. Every golfer's nightmare, and he went right out and threw three early birdies at Bradley. That's two more birdies than Tiger made all day, and Rory still had oatmeal on his chin.

Van Sickle: Tiger calls it cold-shafting. Most of us do it all the time. It's a little easier at 23 when your body is still a rubber band instead of a Jenga puzzle.

Hanger: The staff was dubious of Rory's story, and the more I think about it, I am too. He'd been in Chicago for days, and he has teammates and a captain and a caddie and probably an entourage in tow. How does he not get the right match time?

Shipnuck: The Hangover 3: Rory's Lost Hour.

Godich: Plus, even if he had the time right, when exactly was he planning to get to the golf course?

Hanger: Right. He said he usually just takes about 40 minutes to warm up, but with the traffic issues in Chicago I heard about from you all, it still seems fishy.

Van Sickle: Rory was late getting to the course even if he really did think his time was an hour later. No excuse.

Garrity: So you're saying it wasn't oatmeal?

Hanger: He didn't look like he'd had a late night. I think he was probably shopping for Ferraris or something and just lost track of time.

Tell us what you think in the comments section on Facebook: Who was your biggest surprise and disappointment at Medinah?

Godich: Finally, who captains the respective squads when the Ryder Cup heads to Gleneagles in Scotland in 2014? And who wins?

Shipnuck: David Toms and Paul McGinley. Europe wins. Europe has a young team and won't lose anyone important while this aging U.S. squad is going to get a full makeover. Actually, that's probably a good thing.

Hanger: Phil's the playing captain, he rooms with Keegan Bradley, and the Americans get routed.

Herre: I'll go with Phil as a playing captain for the U.S. and either Darren Clarke or Paul McGinley for the Euros.

Reiterman: David Toms and Darren Clarke. Europe wins big.

Van Sickle: It had figured it to be David Toms, but I hear Fred Couples is now in the running, and backed by Davis. Fred would be a good fit for an away game. The Euros? Pick any one of their assistant captains. They'd all be good. Does it really matter whether it's Bjorn or McGinley or Jimenez? What I'd like to see, not that it's relevant, is Zinger vs. Monty. That'd be great fun!

Dusek: Toms has won the proper major to be considered for captaincy, the PGA Championship, so I like that pick. Darren Clarke also seems like a logical choice. I'm not quite ready to concede the match to the Europeans because I think the U.S. has plenty of young talent as well.

Ritter: Toms and McGinley are the favorites, but maybe five losses in six Cups will force the U.S. to get creative and try Phil as a playing captain. Either way, it's hard to imagine the U.S. winning in Scotland, but a lot can (and will) change in two years.

Morfit: Think how much has changed on the American team in just the last 14 months. Keegan? Dufner? Snedeker? That's the big upside for the Americans. Their Ryder Cup outlook, despite a loss today, looks considerably rosier than it did in the bad old days of 2004 and '06.

Wei: Yeah, good point. This was my first Ryder Cup, but this American team felt like a "team," even more so than the Europeans, to be honest.

Godich: Good point, Cam. Others like Mahan, Rickie Fowler and Nick Watney will be hungry. I'll say it: U.S. in an upset.

Morfit: I like it. I'll second that. Loads of talent flooding in for the Americans right now. Name to watch: Luke Guthrie. Guy could be the next Keegan. Just sayin'.

Tell us what you think in the comments section on Facebook: Who will be the next captains? Who wins?


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