As Team Europe conducted their final press conference at the Ryder Cup a week ago, most of them were thinking about the longterm future, but a few of them must have been thinking about the short term,. It was already Monday in Scotland.
Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry and Tyrrell Hatton all competed at the Ryder Cup in Wisconsin, but were also all in the field at the Dunhill Links Championship, which is played annually on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Carnoustie, and Kingsbarns. So, too, were assistant captains Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer, as well as captain Padraig Harrington. And while their Ryder Cup desires didn’t pan out at Whistling Straits, the majority of those who made the trip found plenty of success back across the pond.
Hatton was the high man on the leaderboard, finishing second, just two shots behind a resurgent Danny Willett. “Obviously I was quite tired after the Ryder Cup. So if you told me at the start of the week I’d end up finishing tied second, obviously I’d been quite happy with that,” Hatton said afterward. When you shoot 29 on the back nine at Carnoustie, like he did Thursday, he was naturally ‘quite happy with that.’
Lowry made waves with some early-week comments on the American team, but eventually backed it all up with some stellar play as well, firing a pair of 67s at the Old Course and Kingsbarns. After tying for 4th, he was asked about for some thoughts on his future plans. “I’ll be on the couch the next few days,” Lowry said. You’ll catch no blame from us there.
Fleetwood was not far behind his Ryder Cup teammates, shooting a 64 of his own at Carnoustie and finishing with a 67 at St. Andrews to finish T7 in the event. Just 30 years old, Tommy Lad was less affected by the tiring commute back to Europe. He actually saw it all as a boost of energy he could take forward. “I think last week was a very motivating week, and I enjoyed the energy that I got from my teammates and The Ryder Cup in general and everything that it brought.”
It’s clear to see the Ryder Cup isn’t just a one-week affair. Between the hangovers, the tiring travel schedules and social media posts from all sides preaching “family,” the Ryder Cup seems truly different. Just like Brooks Koepka said.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the man in charge of the European roster, Padraig Harrington, had the toughest time at the Dunhill, missing the cut. He blamed a lack of practice, and no one will disagree. His assistant captains, Donald and Kaymer, both made the cut on their own.