By Sam Curtin
Padraig Harrington’s Europe fell to a record 19-9 defeat in Whistling straits to a star-studded USA team which featured 8 out of the world’s top 10. With it, the US won just their 4th title in 11 attempts. For Europe, their lack of form and world class players finally caught up with them and their golden era came to a conclusive end.
Despite this, Shane Lowry did Ireland proud in winning a point for his team while also displaying the passion and fight that everyone loves the Ryder Cup for. Despite being outclassed in his other two matches, Lowry embraced the red-hot atmosphere at a hostile venue which featured very few European fans due the Covid-19 travel restrictions. While Rory McIlroy failed to catch fire until his singles victory, he did appear to be hurt by his performance in his post-match interview and will be keen to return to Rome in two years’ time.
Speaking of which, one of the main reasons why the future is bright for Irish golf is that Adare manor is due to host the 2027 edition of the competition which will be the centenary of the event. Owned by JP McManus, the whole resort reopened in 2017 after a makeover after one of the biggest restoration projects ever seen in this country. This years’ captain Harrington, who won there in 2007 at the Irish Open, has said “It’s second to none. A fantastic design, fantastic development, with the hotel and clubhouse. There’s nothing better.”
The last time Ireland hosted the event was in 2006 at the K club in Kildare which received great reviews from supporters of both teams. Hopefully the same will be said of Adare in 2027 as it is the only global sporting event Ireland has been able to hold alongside the Irish Open (also golf) in recent years. It will generate an enormous amount of money for the economy from tourism and is a fantastic opportunity to showcase our way of playing here. The JP McManus Pro-Am which is due to take place in July of next year will provide the perfect trial run for how the course will play and how the event will operate. It will also give spectators an opportunity to see the best players in the world playing in Ireland with the likes of Tiger Woods having previously competed in the event.
How many Irish will feature on home turf? Lowry and McIlroy will hope to feature while there is a decent chance Graeme McDowell could captain the side. Kinsale’s own John Murphy is an outside bet if he can build on his performance in the Dunhill championships last week where he finished in the top 10 and was in contention for the title going into the last day. Mallow’s James Sugrue could also be an outsider if he can build on his start to professional life in which he has already played in multiple majors. Arguably the talent coming through does not match our golden generation of players which we have seen win multiple majors between them but there hopes for a contingent which can compete at least, for wins on the European Tour.
On the women’s side, Leona Maguire will be in her prime by then and should be one of the key players on the Solheim Cup team and competing regularly for majors. Maguire won a record 5 points for a rookie in the recent event and is certainly beginning to make good on her promise as an amateur when she was ranked number one in the world. Hopefully we can begin to see more Irish women playing on the LPGA and European Tours alongside Maguire and Stephanie Meadow, a successful pro in her own right. One would imagine Maguire’s success will whet the appetite for many.
Back to events of a fortnight ago, the future for the Ryder Cup looks set for a period of US dominance, with dozens of capable players to choose from. Europe needs to find fresh blood as the likes of Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter come to the end of their careers. While it may come too early for Rome in 2023 and even New York 2025, the European renaissance may arrive in Limerick 2027, a place that currently knows a thing or two about winning.