Caddie Confidential: Why has Europe dominated Ryder Cup in recent years?

Caddies explain what it is that has made Europe so good in the Ryder Cup. Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the ninth installment of our “Caddie Confidential” series, with monthly, inside-the-ropes perspective from dozens of Tour caddies on rotating golf topics. Up this month: we tackle all things related to this week’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin.

While the United States holds a commanding 26-14-1 overall lead in the Ryder Cup standings, looks can be deceiving.

For example, that record includes 1927-1977 when the U.S. did most of its dominating against a weaker Great Britain/Ireland team. Since the U.S. opponents were expanded to all of Europe in 1979 — in an effort to make the matches more competitive — the story reads quite different.

Since then, Europe leads 11-8-1. That includes victories in nine of the last 12 contested, most recently in France in 2018.

There’s no doubt about it: There’s just something about the European side that works better than what the U.S. has been able to muster, even though — on paper — one would reasonably expect the Americans to shine. But what is it?

That’s the very question we asked of the caddies we polled and promised anonymity in an effort to get their most honest answers.

From a caddie’s point of view, what is it that has made Europe so much more successful in the Ryder Cup these last few decades?

Check out this selection of responses from caddies:

Lack of ego.

The hiding of players who are struggling.

The team unity is so much better on the European side.

The players are close and friends and don’t let competition skew that perspective.

Team chemistry and unity. They just care more.

Putting. That chemistry angle is bullshit. Both teams have a great time.

They want it more. They have a better team bond. It means more to them; they cry when they win!

They are closer as a unit.

Politics. I think the rest of the world looks at USA as a joke. So, they bond better to win and it means more to them than the Americans.

They have a great feeling for camaraderie and team values.

Everyone has a theory, mostly themed around the European team camaraderie and friendships. I think it’s just a snapshot in time and if America wins the next four Ryder Cups it’s not going to mean Europe all the sudden lost that camaraderie.

Easy! Team concept!

They play as a team like their favorite soccer teams.

Interested in more from our September 2021 installment of Caddie Confidential? Be sure to check out which team the caddies believe will win the Ryder Cup, as well as caddies’ favorite Ryder Cup moments.

You can view all the results from our entire Caddie Confidential by clicking here.

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