Rory McIlroy saves Europe from full debacle

Just 188 days from the Ryder Cup in Rome.

by Andrea Gussoni
Rory McIlroy saves Europe from full debacle

188 days from the Ryder Cup in Rome, and if we take the Match Play World Cup that is being held these days at the Austin Country Club in Texas (USA) as a standard, the omens for European golf in the face of a new edition of its biennial matchup against the American are dismal.

Rory McIlroy, results

Of the eleven players from the Old Continent who signed up for the event, only one, the Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, made it past the group stage. Removing his three wins, the balance of the rest of the Europeans was seven wins, 21 losses and two draws.

The Austrian Sepp Straka, the Irish Shane Lowry, the Swede Alex Noren and the English Tyrrell Hatton, all potential members of the team for the Ryder, were bottom of their group. Straka and Hatton, to make matters worse, left empty-handed.

Not half a point. Jon Rahm, who along with Rors (to whom he will give up second place in the ranking on Monday to move to third) should be the spiritual leader of the dressing room at Marco Simone Golf, went off the rails with defeats against Billy Horschel and Rickie Fowler.

Two good match play players, yes, but none at their best, the first mired in a losing streak (four missed cuts in his last six tournaments) and the second still immersed in a restructuring of his swing that this season is beginning to offer fruits.

Only in the defense of the fort was McIlroy who this Saturday defeated Australian Lucas Herbert (3&2) first, in the round of 16, without too much trouble. He then found a tougher nut to crack along the way, the American Xander Schauffele.

What in the Ryder of two years ago was a more or less comfortable duel choked him this time. The Californian arrived, who had two rental strokes in the first nine, sending the 13th, trap hole. A Machiavellian par 4, 260 meters from tee to green.

A trifle for professionals if it weren't for the fact that, to reach it, you have to go over the Colorado River. A manual of the risk/reward concept, pure tragicomedy, pure Pete Dye. Rory hit a shot that crossed the green and Xander got wet instead.

It was the beginning of the end. The death certificate was signed by McIlroy with a 12-foot birdie putt at 18. His rival this Sunday in the semifinals will be the American Cameron Young, unbeaten so far. On the other side of the table is the defending champion, Scottie Scheffler, who beat J.T.

Poston (one up) in the morning session and then sentenced Jason Day (2&1), one of the sensations of the tournament and a golfer who points to things Big this 2023, it seems that the physical problems that had been weighing him down, with one of the blows of the tournament, a pitching wedge on the beautiful par 3 of 17 that landed two inches from the hole, seems to have been forgotten.

He will meet Sam Burns, who got rid of Patrick Cantlay (2 & 1) first and Mackenzie Hughes (3 & 2) later. Only he can ruin what would be the ideal final, McIlroy against Scheffler. The one and the three of the world, face to face.

A Europe against the United States anticipated to six months of a Ryder that either things change a lot or it seems that it is going to look like the previous one.

Rory Mcilroy Ryder Cup