Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth believes closing the gap between the end of the PGA Tour season and the Ryder Cup would be beneficial for the US team.
Zach Johnson’s most defeated team in Rome did not play a competitive tournament after the conclusion of the Tour Championship on August 27 – a full month before the Rome event, which they lost 16.5-11.5.
Justin Thomas – who did not qualify for the season-ending FedEx Cup play-offs and therefore had even fewer opportunities to play – and Max Homa finished in fifth and seventh place respectively in the Fortinet Championship two weeks ago.
In contrast, all twelve members of Luke Donald’s victorious squad not only played in the prestigious BMW Championship at Wentworth on the DP World Tour, but were deliberately all grouped together for the first two rounds.
Tyrrell Hatton, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Tommy Fleetwood, Rory McIlroy, Ludvig Aberg and Sepp Straka all finished in the top 10.
Jordan Spieth believes the golf calendar needs to be shaken up to make American stars better prepared for the Ryder Cup
The United States were defeated this weekend, suffering a 16.5-11.5 defeat to Europe at the Ryder Cup
Luke Donald’s side have had plenty of time to prepare for the tournament, especially at the BMW PGA Championship earlier this year.
Other than a practice trip to Marco Simone earlier in September, there was little opportunity for the US team to get together, let alone play competitively.
“If you were to ask us when we wanted to play the Ryder Cup relative to our schedule, I think we’d probably say give us a week after the Tour Championship or two weeks after and then go, instead of five,” Spieth said .
‘It’s difficult for me to speak for the rest of the team. For me personally, I would like to feel pretty sharp going in and obviously individually I didn’t have the opportunity to even play at any of those events where I could do that.
‘But that’s just how I feel. Some guys have a few weeks off, do some preparation and play great after another time off.
‘I can only answer that question individually, and that wouldn’t happen this year.
“If it was tighter for our Tour Championship and/or even if it was later and we had more opportunity to get some rest and play more of an event or something, then it helps a little bit.
“If you look at how that played out at the BMW, one of the bigger events of the year, and 10 out of 12 finished in the top 15 or something like that, they were in great form.
“It has nothing to do with them having to play at that event. They were just playing really good golf and they brought that over here.”
Spieth’s close friend Thomas, one of Johnson’s controversial selections after a terrible run of form, said their preparation was no different to two years ago when they recorded a historic 19-9 win at Whistling Straits.
However, that was on home soil and their attempt to end a thirty-year winning streak in Europe may have required more attention to detail than one meeting last month.
“I thought it was really great of Zach and the PGA to have us come out here and do a little reconnaissance – obviously it wasn’t on display, but I thought it was really helpful,” he said.
‘It’s a very busy, long week with very different routines and schedules than you would have in a normal week.
“The loss we suffered this week has absolutely nothing to do with team camaraderie because this is probably the closest team I have ever been a part of.
‘Unfortunately we just didn’t play well enough. I didn’t feel like preparation was necessarily the problem.”
Speith teamed up with his good friend Justin Thomas (left) this weekend, but they were unable to lead America to victory
It was a tough loss for Zach Johnson (pictured) and his team, who dismissed the suggestion, saying, “The schedule is the schedule.”
Johnson rejected suggestions that rust cost his side the early initiative as Europe won the opening celebrations 4-0 and never looked back.
‘My first reaction would be no. There is also something to be said about resting and recovering and getting your game into a position where you can compete,” he said.
“These guys have won a lot of golf tournaments with weeks off, I’ve done that, so I don’t think so. Two and a half weeks ago we had preparation time here.
“The schedule is the schedule. You can’t control that. We try to control what we can control.
‘I thought I had a pretty appropriate plan. There may be some changes in there that I perhaps could have made, nuanced or changed.
‘But I’m not going to underestimate the preparation of these guys. Whether it was at home or here or wherever, I know they went to great lengths to hold the cup and bring it home.”