While the victorious European Ryder Cup team is still celebrating their resounding victory over the mighty American team, the Yanks are looking for scapegoats to blame for their dismal struggling performance in Rome.
And where the skills of Europe’s non-playing captain Luke Donald are widely praised, the long knives are out for Zach Johnson, who critics say has failed miserably in his bid to end America’s thirty-year winning drought in the Italian capital .
Johnson is accused of panicking when, on the first day of the prestigious team tournament last Friday, Europa put the Yanks on notice and took a huge lead of five points.
Europe was finally the boss on Sunday with 16.5-11.5 after enjoying a lead of six points at one stage on Saturday.
Apparently, after Friday’s struggling performance, Johnson changed the predetermined combinations of the players with which the Yanks would face the Europeans without consulting those involved.
He is also blamed for the team’s lethargic appearance and that there was absolutely no fire under anyone. Furthermore, the Yanks were apparently hampered by a split in the camp and Johnson was not up to the task of curbing these problems.
The beleaguered Johnson dealt with his team’s lackluster performance after the first day and explained that several of his team members were unwell. This forced him to change his plans about the intended combinations.
He never gave any further explanations after that.
Speculations that Patrick Cantlay caused a rift in the camp locker room due to his unhappiness over the compensation of the participating players were denied by Cantlay and Johnson and dismissed as fake news.
Cantlay and his great friend Xander Schauffele would apparently have sat separately from the other players in the dressing room. Cantlay also reportedly refused to wear the Yanks’ team cap in protest of the players not being paid.
The Ryder Cup participants each receive an amount of $200 000 (about R3.8 million) of which they can donate half to charities of their choice.
The other half is distributed by the Ryder Cup organizers.
Although the claims that Cantlay was unhappy about the players’ compensation were denied, Schauffele’s father, Stefan, threw a stick into the pigeonhole on Monday with new allegations in The Times.
According to Schauffele Sr. his son was almost kicked off America’s team because he and Cantlay questioned certain aspects of the players’ contracts with the Professional Players Association of America (PGA).
The three aspects involved seemed to involve the players’ compensation packages.
The dispute was settled only days before the US team’s departure to Italy.
This seems to explain why Schauffele and Cantlay missed the US team’s practice visit to the Marco Simone track early last month. At the time, it was argued that the two players could not attend the scouting visit to Italy due to personal reasons.
However, it now appears that the two Yanks’ participation in the 44th biennial international team tournament was still in the balance.
In 2018, when Europe defeated the Americans in France with 17-11, there was also apparently a split in the camp.
The alleged disagreement between Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka reached breaking point on the Yanks’ flight back to America with the two golf stars reportedly physically tackling each other. The disagreement apparently started with an argument before the tournament between the two players’ other halves about who is the team’s top player.
Johnson and Koepka were bosom friends at the time, but have apparently not been so close to each other since then.
Either way – guilty or not – Johnson will be replaced as Ryder Cup captain as usual. The big favorite to take over the reins from him is apparently Tiger Woods.
As for Donald, it suddenly appears that European golf’s new golden boy is strongly in the running to lead a second campaign.
Bernard Gallacher, who led Europe in 1991, 1993 and 1995, was the last person to get more than one chance as the European team’s non-playing captain.
- Additional source: ABC News