Captain PÁdraig Harrington
While even a Paul McGinley-level effort wouldn’t have carried Europe to victory, Harrington’s decision-making left a lot to be desired. He leaned on a struggling Paul Casey for the first three sessions, put arguably his worst two players, Westwood and Fitzpatrick, together in both foursomes sessions, underplayed more dangerous players like Shane Lowry and didn’t send a red-hot Sergio García out all five sessions. He captained like he had the luxury of a depth advantage, but the opposite was true.
2021 Record: 0-4-0
Career Record: 4-7-5
Casey will be seeing missed putts in his nightmares. He had three different partners in team play and none of the combinations were effective, setting a negative tone for the team. Casey’s overall Ryder Cup record has to be called into question now given that he hasn’t had a winning record in the competition since 2006.
2021 Record: 0-3-0
Career Record: 0-5-0
That’s twice now that Fitzpatrick has been overwhelmed by a Ryder Cup on a longer course that demands big-boy golf off the tee. This is an example of Europe needing to evaluate its selection process. Fitzpatrick is a better fit for a shorter, narrower course. Justin Rose would have been far more productive at Whistling Straits.
2021 Record: 0-1-2
Career Record: 4-2-2
Life after Moliwood is harsh. After going 4-1 in France with Francesco Molinari by his side, Fleetwood didn’t get the call for either foursomes sessions and then offered a disappointing two birdies across 35 holes of four-ball. He clearly wasn’t feeling it and that was a devastating blow for Europe.
2021 Record: 3-1-0
Career Record: 25-13-7
Coming in, it felt like his game would suit Whistling Straits — a long course that rewards superb driving — better than most of his teammates. That expectation was met and then some. García found a spectacular partnership with Jon Rahm and, despite his advanced age and the rugged terrain everyone had to traverse, probably should have been given the opportunity to play in all five matches.
2021 Record: 1-2-1
Career Record: 2-4-1
There were reports early in the week of Hatton struggling during practice rounds and it showed as he was a bit all over the place at Whistling Straits. Hatton threw in some key shots in team play but then would disappear for long stretches. You have to wonder why he got the call for Saturday foursomes given the inconsistency. He and Casey finished at 1 over despite a hole-out eagle by his teammate.
2021 Record: 0-3-2
Career Record: 0-3-2
Only Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson and Hovland played all five matches. The first two did incredibly well, but Hovland did not play his best at the right times and had bad luck as well. His foursomes pairings were a combined 3 under, which was respectable and could have won depending on the opponent. But in four-ball, he managed one back-nine birdie in a combined 17 holes. Two winnable matches slipped away.
2021 Record: 1-2-0
Career Record: 1-2-0
Lowry brought passion in limited action. The fact he played less than Tyrrell Hatton and Paul Casey was a misstep by Pádraig Harrington. It would be a surprise if the Irishman, who is only 34 , doesn’t factor heavily into the plans two years from now.
2021 Record: 1-3-0
Career Record: 12-12-4
Europe was never going to win the Cup without an engaged McIlroy. They got the anemic version of the Ulsterman as he didn’t even reach the 16th hole in any of his team matches. McIlroy had played all 26 sessions in his Ryder Cup career before being benched on Saturday morning. He’s not the cleanup hitter anymore.
Career Record: 15-8-2
It’s time to reassess automatically adding Poulter to every Ryder Cup team just based on reputation. There's no denying he was incredible for a long time, but he’s gone 3-5-2 since 2014 and he’s turned into a liability given how much distance he gives up off the tee. (Poulter was 185th on the PGA Tour in driving distance last year.) He’ll be 47 when the next Ryder Cup comes around and it may be in Europe’s best interest to have him there as a vice captain instead of a player.
2021 Record: 3-1-1
Career Record: 4-3-1
He’s the undisputed best player in the world. To hit the ball like he does while rolling the rock like Brad Faxon, it’s a formidable combination. Europe won’t have the partnership of Rahm and Sergio García forever, but there’s no reason why their 2023 plan for Marco Simone shouldn’t start with the Spanish duo.
Career Record: 21-20-6
The lovable Englishman’s fruitful Ryder Cup career should now come to a close, at least as a player. He has gone 5-9-0 in his past four Ryder Cups and 1-5-0 in the past two. He’ll be 50 by the time the next match occurs. It’s time for the younger guard of European players to run with the torch.
Career Record: 0-3-0
Wiesberger had a couple of tough draws in team play when he had to face the Justin Thomas/Jordan Spieth pairing and Dustin Johnson/Collin Morikawa wrecking crew, but it felt like he played better than his record. On a list of things that went wrong for Europe, he wouldn’t make the top five.