From A (Sergio!) to F (Tiger…), grading the performance of all 24 Ryder Cup players

September 30, 2018

The pressure-packed exam is over and it’s time to administer the final grades. Pens down, please. Here are marks for all 24 players in the 2018 Ryder Cup.

 

TEAM USA

Bryson DeChambeau, D-

After winning two events in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, the captain’s pick rookie came up empty in the cauldron of the Ryder Cup, going winless in three tries for the week. His most sparkling moment was his final approach shot in Sunday singles, which he stuffed on 18 for a conceded birdie. But even that was upstaged by an Alex Noren bomb.

Tony Finau, A-

Team USA’s four captain’s picks combined to win just two points the entire week. Both came from Finau, whose solid play included a 6-and-4 singles romp over one of Europe’s studs, Tommy Fleetwood.

Rickie Fowler, C-

Paired with DJ, Rickie won his opening match on Friday morning but spent the rest of the week either running into buzzsaws or getting in his own way. Down the stretch in singles against Sergio Garcia, he hit water balls on three consecutive holes, punctuated by a splash on the par-3 16th that didn’t come anywhere near dry land.

Dustin Johnson, C-

As rumors swirled of troubles in his personal life, DJ displayed flashes. But mostly what he showed was distracted-looking golf. Not nearly up to par for the World No. 1.

dustin johnson ryder cup
Dustin Johnson led Ian Poulter late in their match, but Poults came alive and won the match 2 up.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Brooks Koepka, B

Ryder Cup records can distort reality. And on balance, Koepka played better golf than his 1-2-1 showing suggests. Sitting him on Friday afternoon was one of several calls by the U.S. braintrust that were quickly second guessed.

Phil Mickelson, F

After a woeful Friday foursomes session, Mickelson sat out all of Saturday and then put up a Sunday singles stinker, bogeying four of his first seven holes before bowing out to Francesco Molinari 4 and 2. To add to the indignity, Lefty rinsed his tee ball on the par-3 16th. His on-the-spot concession gave team Europe the clinching point.

Patrick Reed, D+

Yeah, he won his Sunday singles match over Tyrell Hatton, but in going 0-fer in partner play, Captain America was anything but his historically heroic Ryder Cup self.

Webb Simpson, B+

Though his play was wayward in Friday foursomes, Simpson bounced back with a strong Saturday. His Sunday was even better, as he put the blitz in singles on Justin Rose, winning 3 and 2.

Jordan Spieth, B

He scorched the course on Friday morning with five birdies in his first seven holes. But from that point on, it was hot and cold for Spieth. Then, on Sunday, he got torched by Thorbjorn Olesen (5 and 4) when his team needed him most.

Justin Thomas, A

By far the star performer on an underperforming team, Thomas was entrusted with the lead match on Sunday and took down Rory McIlroy in a taut contest. Heading into the event, it was hard to think of a player so accomplished as a Ryder Cup rookie. Sure enough, he didn’t play like one.

Bubba Watson, D

Has there ever been an American player who looks less comfortable in Ryder Cup competition? It’s hard to think of one. It’s also hard to think of a meeker showing than the one Bubba put up in Sunday singles, wherein Henrik Stenson waxed him, 5 and 4.

Tiger Woods, F

After mounting one of the most inspiring seasons in the history of the game, Woods was a thoroughly uninspired 0-4. That’s 0-4! He’s Tiger Woods!

 

Team Europe

Paul Casey, B+

We suspected it wasn’t good news for Team USA when Casey regained his European Tour status to got back into the fray as a captain’s pick. In his return to Ryder Cup competition, Casey went 1-1-1, but that half point was in Sunday singles, and it was crucial, as it came early in the day against Koepka, in a match the Americans badly needed to win.

Tommy Fleetwood, A

At some point over the weekend a meme went around that showed the long-haired Fleetwood in Christ-like beatific light. Maybe not the second-coming, but he sure looked great in his first Ryder Cup.

Sergio Garcia, A

After a subpar season for Garcia, some questioned his selection as a captain’s pick. Sergio’s answer? He went 3-0, en route to surpassing Nick Faldo as the winningest player in Ryder Cup history.

Jon Rahm Sergio Garcia Ryder cup
Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia had lots to smile about on Sunday night.
Ian Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrell Hatton, B-

Widely regarded as a weak link on the European team, Hatton wasn’t exactly a world-beater. But he didn’t have to be. And besides, he earned a point, which is more than several Americans can say.

Rory McIlroy, B-

In playing all five sessions, Rory swung on both ends of the spectrum, alternating between inspired and erratic. What may stand out in memory, though, is his implosion on the 18th hole in Sunday singles, which seemed reflective of a season in which McIlroy has wilted when it matters most.

Francesco Molinari, A+

Paired with Fleetwood, he beat Tiger Woods three times, as well as the dynamic duo of Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. He then poleaxed Mickelson in Sunday singles to complete a 5-0 MVP week. The Sunday win? It proved to be Europe’s clinching point.

Alex Noren, B

Maybe not spectacular but very steady. And as a Ryder Cup rookie, everything his captain could have asked for.

Thorbjorn Olesen, B+

After losing his opening match while paired with a struggling McIlrory, Olesen sat out the action until Sunday singles, when he bludgeoned Spieth, 5 and 4.

Ian Poulter, B

He may not be quite the Ryder Cup killer that he once was, but he’s still plenty deadly in crucial moments. In Friday foursomes he helped reinvigorate McIlroy, and in Sunday singles he took down Johnson to run his career Ryder Cup record to 12-4-2.

Jon Rahm, B

Winless heading into Sunday singles, Rahm notched a clutch point for his team by beating Woods. Then again, everyone beat Tiger Woods this week.

Justin Rose, B+

A Rose is a Rose is a Rose, and he was again this week, playing rock-solid partner golf before falling to a red-hot Simpson in Sunday singles.

Henrik Stenson, A-

Plagued by injuries this season, the big Swede more than earned his keep as a captain’s pick, winning all three of the matches he played.