Talented US men’s golf team tires of Europe dominating Ryder Cup

Team USA captain Steve Stricker, left, and Zack Johnson have some fun during a practice day for the Ryder Cup at the Whistling Straits Golf Course in Sheboygan, Wis., on Wednesday. (AP photo)

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — The Americans bring the type of credentials that make them favorites in just about every Ryder Cup, and this year is no different.

All but one of their players is among the top 20 in the world — the lone exception is Ryder Cup rookie Scottie Scheffler at No. 21. Six of them are major champions. They have the FedEx Cup champion and the Olympic gold medalist on their side.

It just rarely translates into winning the Ryder Cup, and only Europe seems to have the answer.

A few Americans at least tried to find an explanation.

“They just play better. It’s really simple,” Dustin Johnson said Wednesday. “Whoever plays better is going to win. I mean, it’s not rocket science.”

Team USA's Scottie Scheffler hits from the rough on the 14th hole during a practice day for the Ryder Cup at the Whistling Straits Golf Course on Wednesday in Sheboygan, Wis. (AP photo)

Patrick Cantlay, whose thoughts tend to run a little deeper, took a longer view when searching for reasons why Europe has won nine of the last 12 times in the Ryder Cup.

Cantlay has been playing gin rummy since he was a teenager and referred to a few books he has read on the game, throwing in some analogies to the roulette wheel and flipping coins for good measure.

This wasn’t rocket science, either, but it was far more entertaining.

“If you play enough gin hands, a 1 or 2% difference in skill translates to almost an assured win over many, many, many hands of gin,” he said. “But you could have a big difference — maybe a 60 to 40% skill level difference — and gin is still chancy enough to where you could play 10 hands and lose six or seven of the hands than someone much worse than you skill-wise.”


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