Ryder Cup highs and lows: Jon Rahm stands out for Europe and first tee will live long in memory


Derek Lawrenson’s Ryder Cup highs and lows: Jon Rahm is Europe’s standout player, the first tee will live long in the memory and Steve Stricker should have told off partisan crowd for booing


HIGHS

First tee

The first tee on Friday morning is always special. This one produced the best couple of minutes I can recall.

By the dawn’s early light, a few spectators had begun an a capella version of the American national anthem, and were quickly joined by the lucky 3,000 more who had seats. It was in tune and, with the sun rising in the background over Lake Michigan, very affecting.

Whistling Straits provided a stunningly picturesque backdrop to the 2021 Ryder Cup

Lambeau Field

A real sporting bucket list moment going to see the Green Bay Packers play. For a lad from Liverpool, the similarities with another football team who represent the beating heart of a city was striking. 

Not sure about the aluminium bench seating, mind. Imagine sitting there in December when the temperature is comfortably in the minus double digits?

Jon Rahm

It says everything about his impact over the first two days that even the Americans applauded him on to the first tee for the singles. It was like watching Seve reincarnated. Impervious to the crowd and using the snub for PGA Tour player of the year to show he’s head and shoulders above the rest. 

Jon Rahm was by far Europe's standout player and finished the Ryder Cup with 3.5 points

Jon Rahm was by far Europe’s standout player and finished the Ryder Cup with 3.5 points

The world No 1 won both his foursome matches alongside fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia

The world No 1 won both his foursome matches alongside fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia

LOWS 

First tee booing

A new tradition and let’s nip it in the bud right now. It was disappointing Steve Stricker didn’t come on to the first tee and appeal to the fans; Lee Westwood needs to make a quiet mental note before his captaincy stint in Rome. That said, the European fans wouldn’t boo the opposition, would they?

Ugly behaviour

Justin Thomas is a much nicer bloke than the nutter who joined Daniel Berger on the first tee and handed out beers to the crowd. As for Brooks Koepka’s hounding of two referees, it should be written into the captain’s agreement that such behaviour constitutes a loss of the hole.

Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger were criticised for drinking beer on the first tee on Saturday

Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger were criticised for drinking beer on the first tee on Saturday

Concession spats

Why do we have to have histrionics when a short putt is not conceded?

Why not knock it in, take your grievance to the next tee and smash it miles down the middle? I like Dustin Johnson’s attitude. He gave every putt under 4ft — and after two days was the only player with four points out of four.

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