U.S. Open

Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2)

Sunday Superlatives

Ryder Cup 2023: 8 historic firsts* you didn't realize happened on Sunday (*Not really)

October 01, 2023

Richard Heathcote

The final score might not indicate it, but there was plenty of drama on Sunday at the 2023 Ryder Cup. There was also a fair amount of history made. Sort of.

We're not just talking about the boring stuff that goes in the record books. That will show the Europeans won 16.5 to 11.5 to extend their home winning streak in the biennial event to three decades. Impressive stuff, no doubt, but we're digging a little deeper here at The Loop to bring you nuggets of info—specifically, Ryder Cup firsts*—that Elias Sports Bureau can only dream of (*Again, sort of). See for yourself:

First tie between two golfers who cried earlier in the week: Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm


Maddie Meyer/PGA of America

Not that there's anything wrong with that. We saw Scheffler's tears after that historic drubbing he and Brooks Koepka took on Saturday, but he bounced back to tie Jon Rahm in singles on Sunday. After, it was Rahm who admitted to openly weeping multiple times earlier in the week when Luke Donald showed the team inspirational videos. But on Sunday, it was only birdies flowing between these top two players in the world.

First 8-handicapper to earn a point in singles: Jordan Spieth


Mike Ehrmann

We kid, we kid, but according to Data Golf—not to mention the good old naked eye—the three-time major champ was easily the worst player on either team the first two days. But he came back on Sunday and birdied 18 with thousands of fans circling the green to tie his match against Shane Lowry. It didn't really matter, but it had to feel good—especially for a guy who has to return home to changing a lot of diapers.

First caddie to spur a Ryder Cup rally AND lose a Ryder Cup in 24 hours: Joe LaCava


Richard Heathcote

Again, we kid, but people push some crazy narratives out there. Like Ryder Cup captains, Patrick Cantlay's caddie became a much bigger storyline than he would have liked to. But you can't get credit for firing up Team USA AND blame for doing the same for Team Europe. Joe made a mistake and we're sure he feels bad so let's all just leave him alone. Besides, the heckling he's going to get from former boss Tiger Woods is punishment enough.

First player to win a singles match after nearly getting into a parking lot fight the previous day:


At least, we're pretty sure this is the case as Rory returned from that rowdy scene the day before to take care of Sam Burns and finish off a fantastic week. By the way, Burns might also be the first golfer with a mullet to lose a Sunday singles match. It's really a shame that John Daly never played in a Ryder Cup.

First player to win a singles match after a 9-and-7 loss the previous day: Brooks Koepka


Jamie Squire

OK, this is one is definitely true. And we know this because Brooks and Scottie Scheffler are the only players in Ryder Cup history to ever lose NINE AND SEVEN. Ouch. But both responded well 24 hours later with Scheffler's tie and Koepka's 3-and-2 win over Ludvig Aberg. Put that in your fancy bounceback stats.

First player to declare he's better than Europe's best player only to lose to Europe's worst player in singles: Wyndham Clark


Patrick Smith

To be fair to Wyndham, Robert MacIntyre certainly didn't play like Luke Donald's weak link. Still, if you talk the talk, you leave yourself open to criticism if you don't walk the walk. That being said, he can always say he was better than Rory McIlroy at the 2023 U.S. Open.

First player to take an unplayable penalty on the same hole he winds up holing the clutchest putt of his career: Max Homa


Mike Ehrmann

At least, it's hard to imagine such a bizarre scenario happening before on the final hole of a Sunday singles match. Either way, it was awesome. And so was Max's immediate reaction/admission:

You could have fooled us, Max.

First player to win 4-and-3 after inhaling an entire pizza in the team room the previous night: Viktor Hovland

What a legend. And what is that magical contraption he's hooked up to? Did the U.S. have access to those? If not, this entire event might be declared under protest.