Ryder Cup grades: How every player (and captain) performed in Rome
Team Europe is your 2023 Ryder Cup champion. After a 6-6 split in the Sunday singles session, the Europeans officially took back the Cup with a 16.5-11.5 victory. Their streak of wins on home soil will now extend beyond 30 years.
For the Americans, the week was rough. After falling behind 4-0 early, they never found their footing and could not close the gap. There was a brief moment Sunday afternoon when a comeback looked possible, but that was quickly thwarted as the Europeans took the title at Marco Simone.
Here’s how every player (and captain) performed in Rome.
In the absence of the likes of Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, Rory McIlroy stepped into a senior leadership role for the first time at this Ryder Cup — and he delivered in a big way. Playing all five sessions, McIlroy delivered four points for the Euros, his lone loss coming in a tense match against Patrick Cantlay and Wyndham Clark Saturday afternoon. Despite the small blemish on his record, the 34-year-old delivered the best week of his Ryder Cup career.
Tyrrell Hatton had a losing record in Ryder Cup play coming into the week, but he got back above .500 with a stellar few days in Rome. Three and a half points from the middle of the lineup will always play.
Viktor Hovland played like a man possessed this week. He went 1-0-1 on Day 1, and then opened Day 2 with a 9-and-7 beatdown of Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka. Although he lost his afternoon four-ball match, he came back strong on Sunday with a stress-free singles win to finish the week with 3.5 points.
Tommy Fleetwood was a crucial piece of the Europeans’ 2018 win in Paris, and his strong play was equally vital in Rome. He played four sessions and delivered 3 points, including the clincher in his singles match against Rickie Fowler. When the Ryder Cup is played on European soil, there are few players that elevate their play like Fleetwood.
Part of the Euro’s three-headed monster that includes Hovland and McIlroy, Jon Rahm also brought his A-game to Rome. He ranked second in strokes gained among the 24 competitors, and battled world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler to a halve in the first match of Sunday singles. Another excellent showing for the Spaniard.
The Scottish rookie did not lose in his three sessions, however his play wasn’t as tidy as the final tally indicates. He was the worst player on Team Europe according to strokes-gained data. A singles win was a nice way to end the week, but by that time, the Cup was all but decided.
Ludvig Aberg had plenty of hype coming into the week, and he showed some of those flashes of brilliance that made him a captain’s pick. His pairing with Viktor Hovland was particularly strong as they went 2-1-0 together, including their 9-and-7 win over Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka. Although Aberg dropped his final two matches of the week, it looks like he’ll be a part of many more European teams.
Justin Rose was a steady presence for Team Europe, but his highlight of the week came when he stole a half point in the Friday afternoon session to stifle the American’s momentum. His experience paid dividends as he stepped up when it mattered most.
Shane Lowry was solid (if unspectacular) in delivering 1.5 points for the Euros. His play might’ve been middling, but his role as a hype man (and enforcer) was where he delivered the most value.
The former U.S. Open champion caught a serious heater Friday afternoon as he scored the first point of his Ryder Cup career. However, he went winless in his other two matches.
Luke Donald didn’t rely on Sepp Straka too much as he only played foursomes and singles, but the Austrian still secured a point in the first session. A respectable Ryder Cup debut for the two-time PGA Tour winner.
The lone European player with a goose egg in the win column this week, Nicolai Højgaard was a bit overmatched in his first Ryder Cup appearance. Luckily, Team Europe did not need to rely on him too heavily, and he did not give away anything easy to the Americans.
Luke Donald pushed all the right buttons this week in Rome. From the course setup, to the pairings, to the motivational speeches and beyond, Donald proved his mettle in debut as a captain.
Max Homa brought his best stuff to Rome. He was the lone American with a winning record on the week, and a big reason why the final margin wasn’t even larger.
Patrick Cantlay was largely a no-show through the first three sessions. Then, HatGate became the talk of the grounds and he elevated his play to the next level. It was a strange week for Cantlay, but his play helped spark the Americans’ short-lived comeback bid.
It was a solid debut for the 36-year-old Ryder Cup rookie. He and fellow rookie Max Homa proved to be a formidable pairing.
Brooks Koepka had an up-and-down week, the low point being a 9-and-7 drubbing Saturday morning. He halved his other team match and remained unbeaten in singles play.
Many wondered if Justin Thomas would be able to find his game in Rome, but after four matches it appears his struggles have continued. He was among the bottom four players on the week in terms of strokes gained and was unable to create any magic with Jordan Spieth.
The reigning U.S. Open champ scored a point in four-balls thanks to Patrick Cantlay’s long bomb, but otherwise it was a quiet Ryder Cup debut.
Sam Burns scored an impressive win over Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg in four-balls, but he didn’t do much else.
Collin Morikawa was the other half of the pairing that took down the previously unbeaten Scandinavians, but like his partner, the rest of the week was a struggle. He remains without a win in his singles career.
Jordan Spieth looked completely lost at times in four-ball, leaving partner Justin Thomas on an island. A couple halves salvaged an otherwise disastrous week.
Scottie Scheffler might be the No. 1-ranked player in the world, but he sure didn’t look like it at Marco Simone. He played Jon Rahm to a draw in singles, but his putting was an issue all week.
Xander Schauffele might’ve gotten it done in singles, but it was against the Euros’ 12th man. Losses in three other sessions made for a horrendous week for Schauffele.
Rickie Fowler only appeared in two sessions, and he didn’t do much with that playing time (other than concede a putt that officially clinched the Cup for the Euros). His Ryder Cup record has now fallen to an awful 3-9-5.
Zach Johnson was supposed to be the figure that led the Americans to a historic victory. Instead, he’s the latest in a string of captains who took a beatdown in Europe. From his captain’s picks underperforming, to his questionable lineup decisions throughout, tough week for ZJ.