During every team event, there is always that one player who makes the others on their team play better. Some call this person a ‘leader’, others ‘the intangible’, or others ‘the man’. I have used those terms in the past, but over the past 15 years (through my many coaching opportunities) I have come to see this player as an anchor for success. More importantly, I have also learned that ‘the anchor’ is not always the same person, but generally some players continue to lead their team. The Ryder Cup is no different; both Team Europe and Team USA will have that one player that will drag, push, or lead their team to victory. After giving it some thought, I have decided on who I think will step up this weekend and try to be the anchor for their team.
During the last Ryder Cup (2018) the European anchor was Francesco Molinari. He was undefeated and scored 5 points for his team; Justin Thomas scored 4 for Team USA. Both these players were calm, focused, and let their golf game do the talking. Both players knocked off the big guns from the other team. Their efforts anchored their respective teams in attempts to win, but Molinari’s efforts was just too much for Team USA to handle. Both anchors were pivotal to their teams and this year’s Ryder Cup will be no different, but the player will be different.
I thought I would start with Team Europe. I have not chosen them to win this year, but I think their anchor will still play a critical role in their pursuit. His play might be the inspiration that makes me eat my words, but that is what an anchor does…..right? The obvious choices would be Jon Rahm or Rory McIlroy; their are proven champions and will play a pivotal role in the event, but this will not be their year to be an anchor. The anchor for Team Europe will be Shane Lowry. He is having a great year and being a Major champion will definitely give this rookie a leg up. He knows how to handle the pressure and his pleasant personality will be an asset to the entire team. When he gest charged up and starts winning his matches, his positive attitude and huge smile will be contagious.
Team USA follows my same logic. I think that Ryder Cup rookie, Patrick Cantly, is going to be the anchor for Team USA. He is the best player in the world right now and I think that he is going to carry his excellent play to Whistling Straits. To be successful, he has win his first match. If he does, then the stars will align for Cantly and the beneficiaries will be Team USA. Having said this, with six rookies, Cantly may not be the only rookie to try and earn the moniker of the anchor. The rookie group for Team USA will be the deciding factor to see if Team USA wins for the first time since 2008.
This year’s Ryder Cup is all about the rookies. I think we will see some great play, a few challenges, and a great deal of exciting action. The matchups will be critical and that is where the Captain and Vice Captains will have to step up their game. I will be interested to see their approach. I guess I will have to wait until Friday…..I am not sure I can. Can you?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!