Stat attack!: Ryder Cup review


With some time to reflect on the 40th Ryder Cup, which ended with a third-straight European victory before churchgoers on the West Coast had time to pray for an American victory at their morning services, the most important stat from the week might be the fact that European captain Paul McGinley is now 12-1 in team matches. In leading Europe to a dominant 161/2-111/2 victory at Gleneagles, McGinley outshined his American counterpart, Tom Watson. Perhaps it’s time we looked at the 47-year-old Dubliner as a key reason for Europe's dominance of this event in recent years. The only Cup McGinley wasn’t a part of since 2002? You’re right. It was 2008, the only American win in that span.

Paul McGinley’s career record as a member of European team competition

 Year Event Role Won/Lost
 2014 Ryder Cup Captain Won
 2012 Ryder Cup Assistant captain Won
 2011 Seve Trophy Captain Won
 2010 Ryder Cup Assistant captain Won
 2009 Seve Trophy Captain Won
 2009 Royal Trophy Player Lost
 2007 Royal Trophy Player Won
 2006 Ryder Cup Player Won
 2006 Royal Trophy Player Won
 2005 Seve Trophy Player Won
 2004 Ryder Cup Player Won
 2002 Ryder Cup Player Won
 2002 Seve Trophy Player Won

No majors, no mystery for McGinley

This is the fourth time since 1995 that the winning captain had never won a major, and the seventh time in 30 years that the winning captain had fewer major titles than the losing captain. The only American on that list is Paul Azinger, who led the U.S. to victory in 2008 over a Nick Faldo-led European squad at Valhalla.

Ryder Cup winning captains with fewer major titles than the losing captain: 1985-2014

 Year Winning captain (majors) Losing captain (majors)
 2014 Paul McGinley, Europe (0) Tom Watson, U.S. (8)
 2010 Colin Montgomerie, Europe (0) Corey Pavin, U.S. (1)
 2008 Paul Azinger, U.S. (1)            Nick Faldo, Europe (6)
 2002 Sam Torrance, Europe (0) Curtis Strange, U.S. (2)
 1995 Bernard Gallacher, Europe (0) Lanny Wadkins, U.S. (1)
 1987 Tony Jacklin, Europe (2) Jack Nicklaus, U.S. (18)
 1985 Tony Jacklin, Europe (2) Lee Trevino, U.S. (6)

The U.S. flops in foursomes

The American’s loss was primarily the result of abysmal play in foursomes, in which the U.S. failed to win any of the eight matches. Their 0-6-2 record was the worst in that discipline since a 1-3-4 mark in 2006. In the previous three Ryder Cups the Americans had a winning record in foursomes, combining for a 11-9-4 record.

This was the first time since 1967 that a team failed to win at least one match in a style of play in the Ryder Cup. That year the Europeans were 0-7-1 in four-ball play.

U.S. record in foursomes since 2002

 Year Record
 2014 0-6-2
 2012 5-3-0
 2010 3-4-1
 2006 3-2-3
 2006 1-3-4
 2004 2-6-9
 2002 4-3-1

McDowell’s perfect performance

Individually, Graeme McDowell was the only player who was unbeaten and untied in the matches, posting a 3-0-0 mark, including a 2-and-1 win over Jordan Spieth in singles. Justin Rose (3-0-2) and Victor Dubuisson (2-0-1) were also unbeaten for Europe, while Patrick Reed (3-0-1) never lost for the U.S.

One the other hand, American Bubba Waston and Europe’s Stephen Gallacher were the only players to fail to earn any points. Watson was 0-3-0 and Gallacher was 0-2-0 in limited play.

Players who were unbeaten and untied in the Ryder Cup since 2004

 Year Player Team Record
 2014 Graeme McDowell Europe 3-0-0
 2012 Ian Poulter Europe 4-0-0
 2012 Dustin Johnson U.S. 3-0-0
 2006 Scott Verplank U.S. 2-0-0
 2006 Darren Clarke Europe 3-0-0
 2006 Luke Donald Europe 3-0-0
 2006 Jose Maria Olazabal Europe 3-0-0

Players who failed to earn any points in the Ryder Cup since 2004

 Year Player Team Record
 2014 Bubba Watson  U.S.  0-3-0
 2014 Stephen Gallacher Europe 0-2-0
 2012 Steve Stricker U.S.  0-4-0
 2012 Peter Hanson Europe 0-2-0
 2006 Brett Wetterich U.S.  0-2-0
 2004 Kenny Perry U.S.  0-2-0
 2004 Fred Funk U.S.  0-3-0

Westwood reaches milestone

Lee Westwood, playing on his ninth Ryder Cup team (his squad has won seven times), became the eighth player to win at least 20 individual matches. Westwood’s milestone win came in Saturday’s foursomes, when he and Jamie Donaldson beat Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar, 2 and 1. Westwood is tied for third among Europeans with 20 wins and his 23 points is fourth in team history.

Most individual points in Ryder Cup history

 Player Team Points
 Nick Faldo Europe 25
 Bernhard Langer Europe 24
 Billy Casper U.S. 23.5
 Colin Montgomerie Europe 23.5
 Lee Westwood Europe 23
 Arnold Palmer U.S. 23

Most individual wins in Ryder Cup history

 Player Team Wins
 Nick Faldo Europe 23
 Arnold Palmer U.S. 22
 Bernhard Langer Europe 21
 Billy Casper U.S. 20
 Lanny Wadkins U.S. 20
 Colin Montgomerie Europe 20
 Lee Westwood Europe 20
 Seve Ballesteros Europe 20

On the other hand, Jim Furyk lost his 20th match during 2014, finishing with a 1-3-0 record to fall to 10-20-4 all time. He is one loss ahead of Phil Mickelson on the all-time list for Americans, and one shy of the all-time Cup record held by Europeans Christy O’Connor Sr., and Neil Coles.

Most individual losses in Ryder Cup history

 Player Team Losses
Neil Coles* Europe 21
 Christy O’Connor, Sr* Europe 21
 Jim Furyk U.S. 20
 Nick Faldo Europe 19
 Phil Mickelson U.S. 19
 Tiger Woods U.S. 18

*Played as Great Britain-Ireland

First-timers shine for the U.S.

If there was a bright spot for the American team is was the play of rookies Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and Jimmy Walker. The trio combined for a 6-2-5 record, including a 4-0-2 mark in four-ball play. Reed was the only player without a loss for the U.S.

European rookies also had a wining record, led by Jamie Donaldson (3-1-0), who clinched the Cup for Europe with his singles win over Keegan Bradley, and Victor Dubuisson (2-0-1), who didn’t lost a match. 

Points breakdown at the Ryder Cup

 U.S. Four-ball Foursomes Singles Total
 Veterans 4-4-2 0-11-1 2-4-3 6-19-6
 Rookies 4-0-2 0-1-3 2-1-0 6-2-5
 Captain's picks 2-1-0 0-3-0 0-1-2 3-5-2
 Europe Four-ball Foursomes Singles Total
 Veterans 4-6-4 8-0-4 4-3-2 15-9-10
 Rookies 0-2-0 4-0-0 1-1-1 5-3-1
 Captain's picks 0-3-1 3-0-0 0-2-1 3-5-2

Individual rookie performances at the Ryder Cup

 Player Four-balls Foursomes Singles Total
 Patrick Reed 2-0-0 0-0-1 1-0-0 3-0-1
 Jordan Spieth 2-0-0 0-0-1 0-1-0 2-1-1
 Jimmy Walker 0-0-2 0-1-1 1-0-0 1-1-3
 Jamie Donaldson 0-1-0 2-0-0 1-0-0 3-1-0
 Victor Dubuisson 0-0-0 2-0-0 0-0-1 2-0-1
 Stephen Gallacher 0-1-0 0-0-0 0-1-0 0-2-0

Note: All stats and historic numbers are from the PGA of America Media Guide.