Tour Confidential Daily: Is this U.S. squad the best golf team, ever?

September 30, 2017

The Americans didn’t let up on Saturday at the Presidents Cup, and it’s simply a matter of time before they clinch on Sunday. In fact, this U.S. squad has been so dominating, we have to ask—is this the best golf team, ever?

Alan Shipnuck: Time will tell. It certainly has the potential to be. But this is like winning the NFC Championship game—gotta dust the Euros next year in golf’s Super Bowl and then we can have a serious discussion about it.

Jessica Marksbury: Totally agree, Alan. The team looked awesome on paper and delivered in a big way. But it certainly didn’t seem like the Internationals put up much of a fight, did it? Hard to tell if the U.S. is just that good, or if the Internationals are just that bad. I’m leaning toward the former.

Jeff Ritter: They could be, but I think those European Ryder Cup teams from 2002-14 were golf’s greatest dynasty. I mean, they won back-to-back Cups by nine points, including a road game. This is a huge week for the U.S., and they’ll head to Paris next fall as the favorite. That week can’t get here fast enough.

Josh Berhow: It’s good, but you need a bigger sample size. And, nothing against the International boys, but they just haven’t brought much this week. That makes it much harder to draw a comparison. That said, if you want to be a dominant force, you can’t just squeak by the teams you should beat—you have to make a statement. And that’s happening this week. So it’s a good start.

Joe Passov: For the greatest golf team of all time, this old-timer is sticking with the 1981 Ryder Cup team, which included Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Raymond Floyd and Hale Irwin. Oh, and throw in multiple major winners Ben Crenshaw, Larry Nelson and Johnny Miller, plus past and future U.S. Open winners Jerry Pate and Tom Kite, respectively, and that year’s British Open winner and player of the year, Bill Rogers, and you have the ultimate team. Bruce Lietzke was the 12th player—and he had already amassed three victories that season, on his way to 13 lifetime wins. It’s no wonder they thumped Europe 18 1/2 to 9 1/2.

Josh Sens: Best team ever? Sorry, but I’ll hold off on the Trumpian hyperbole. No doubt this squad was loaded and administered an epic beatdown. But they did so against an International team whose leading players were mostly off their games. So tough to draw comparisons between eras, but look at Team USA from 1975 alone. Palmer, Nicklaus, Casper, Floyd, Irwin, Nicklaus, Weiskopf, Trevino, Johnny Miller and on. Hard to top that lineup.

Dylan Dethier: Without getting too existential, yeah, they’re better at golf than any team has ever been; the level of play everywhere is greater now than it has ever been. Greatness in team match play is largely relative, and assuming the Americans don’t get rolled tomorrow, they’ll lay claim to one of the most dominant performances ever, too. They feed off one another, too, in a way that makes their team feel better than just the collection of individuals. The play from the International side hasn’t been particularly inspiring, and let’s wait for all precincts to report at next year’s Ryder Cup, but this squad is like, really good.