Bunker Mentality

Ryder Cup: Winners and Losers

The Ryder Cup was one of the greatest in history and here we pick out our winners and losers.

Celebration ... (Getty Images)

WINNERS

Seve Ballesteros: The patron saint of the European team; his presence was everywhere and his inspiration guided the team on to a most improbable victory.

Ian Poulter: The heart of the team, a borderline lunatic whose cluch, aggressive play on the greens kept the Europeans in the match when they had every right to bail out and look to 2014.

Martin Kaymer: The most ridiculed of the European team ended up being the guy who clinched it all. It was a bit of sweet redemption for Kaymer, who hasn't had much to celebrate since his 2010 US PGA Championship win.

Sergio Garcia: After failing to qualify for the 2010 team, Garcia played his way back onto the 2012 squad and showed he deserved to be there.

Rory McIlroy: Not many guys could roll out of bed and win a Ryder Cup match, but that's almost literally what McIlroy did. The legend grows.

Jason Dufner: One of the few Americans to come through this mess largely unscathed, Dufner showed he's got the stones and the salt to be a major champion someday. Others who belong in this category include Bubba Watson and the Johnson boys.

Keegan Bradley: Nobody was more hyped for the Ryder Cup on the American side, and though he fell in singles, Bradley was nonetheless a bright spot for the USA and gives the Americans hope going forward.

The 17th and 18th at Medinah: If the Masters doesn't start until the back nine on Sunday, the Ryder Cup didn't begin until the final two holes on Sunday afternoon. And time after time, Americans arrived either 1up or all square, and left with nothing. Unbelievable. These two holes are the reason the Cup is flying back to Europe.

LOSERS:

Steve Stricker: Yeah, not such a good week for Stricker. Forget his missed final putt; for most of the weekend, Stricker looked overmatched. Tough way to go for a classy guy.

Jim Furyk: The knock on Furyk was that he had trouble in the clutch this year, and there's no place for a guy to hide in the Ryder Cup. It could be a long time before he and Stricker recover from this week.

Tiger Woods: He played well enough, at times, to win, but he was little more than a bit player in this entire production. That's not what the Greatest Player of His Generation should be doing.

Davis Love III: Let the second-guessing begin! Should Love have picked Hunter Mahan over Furyk? Should he have played the unbeatable team of Bradley/Phil Mickelson on Saturday afternoon? Should he have switched up the order of his singles to "hide" certain of his captain's picks? Plenty of questions, with no answers.

The unnamed Illinois trooper: Come on, man. Why'd you have to get Rory there on time?

The Medinah crowd: This one could go either way, really. The crowd got grief from the Europeans for its profanity and crassness, but that's only because the Euros were losing most of the weekend. There were moments when the crowd was uncharacteristically still when a bit of noise would have helped, and cheering when opponents' shots find the water is pretty weak. Still, earsplitting volumes are always welcome at the Ryder Cup.

All right, your turn. Who were your winners and losers from this year?

By Jay Busbee