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What’s going on with the USA Ryder Cup team?

With team-mates at war in the press and allegedly squaring up to each other in the locker room, the USA Ryder Cup team is in meltdown, writes National Club Golfer’s Alex Perry.

The USA Ryder Cup team, you might remember, won the 2016 edition of the matches comfortably. It sparked a US-wide campaign to herald this current group as one that will go on to win Ryder Cup after Ryder Cup.

Well, it didn’t quite work out like that. The American team, with only a handful of changes from the one that won 17-11 at Hazeltine, came over to Le Golf National and managed to get beaten by an even larger margin. Since then, the US team has imploded. In an interview with the New York Times, Patrick Reed said he was sat in the losing team press conference and seething with his team-mates and captain.

“I was about to light the room up like Phil in ‘14,” he said, referring to 2014 when Phil Mickelson controversially criticised captain Tom Watson on the most public of stages. The reason for his upset was the team being asked why Reed and Jordan Spieth, who had proved to work so well together at previous Ryder and President Cups, split up. Spieth replied that the whole team had discussed it, while captain Jim Furyk said it was his call.

“The issue’s obviously with Jordan not wanting to play with me,” Reed noted. “I don’t have any issue with Jordan. When it comes right down to it, I don’t care if I like the person I’m paired with or if the person likes me as long as it works, and it sets up the team for success.”

As for his captain, Reed wasn’t happy with being benched for two sessions. “For somebody as successful in the Ryder Cup as I am, I don’t think it’s smart to sit me twice,” he added. Elsewhere, close friends Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka played seven times between them on the opening two days, but only played together once – losing the Saturday afternoon foursomes to Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson.

According to L’Equipe, the pair fell out on the plane en route to Paris and were then pulled apart by team-mates during the after-party when tempers flared again, with Koepka threatening to “flatten” Johnson. Koepka, for his part denied any rift. “As far as camaraderie, it was fine, it was perfect,” he said. “The problem is [the media] trying to find a reason why we lost and the simple reason is we just didn’t play good enough.”

Compare that to the European team, who revealed in their press conference that they had started a WhatsApp months ago to get the camaraderie started early from their various corners of the globe. Then there was Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari blowing kisses to each other across the room.

If the USA want to start competing at the Ryder Cup any time soon, they need to start by sorting out their differences off the course. Whoever their next captain is has got one hell of a job on his hands. And whoever our captain is must be rubbing his hands together.



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