Sept. 21-26, 2021 Whistling Straits, Kohler, WI
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Having only played in one Ryder Cup back in 2016, Thomas Pieters managed to shine despite defeat for Team Europe.

As he turns 28 today, we look back at his impressive debut on US soil.

The young Belgian, who was only 24 years of age at the time, won four of his five matches while forming a formidable partnership with Rory McIlroy.

This impressive showing at Hazeltine Golf Club saw Pieters set the record for the most points earned by a rookie, surpassing the previous haul of 3½ set by Paul Way (1983), Sergio Garcia (1999) and Paul Lawrie (1999).

However, his Ryder Cup career didn’t get off to the perfect start as he fell to a 5&4 defeat to Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson, who was World Number Two at the time, alongside Lee Westwood in the opening session of The 2016 Ryder Cup.

However, the afternoon fourball session would see the beginning of a formidable partnership between McIlroy and Pieters.

Facing the same American duo he had faced alongside Westwood in the morning, he and McIlroy comfortably beat the US pairing 3&2.

The following day the European partnership would pick up where they left off with two further victories.

The first came against Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler (4&2) in the Saturday morning foursomes session, with the afternoon fourball session seeing the European duo take down D. Johnson and Brooks Koepka 3&1.

With Europe trailing by three points heading into the final singles matches and being the third match out, Pieters knew he had to get points on the board early for Team Europe.

And that’s exactly what the Belgian did, defeating J. B. Holmes 3&2 to bring Europe within two points of Team USA.

This fifth appearance of the week also saw the Pieters become the first rookie to play all five matches across the week since Miguel Ángel Jiménez, Paul Lawrie and Sergio García at the Battle of Brookline in 1999.

Unfortunately, Team USA would dominate the majority of the remaining matches to run out 17-11 victors.

Despite the defeat, Pieters stood out and showed he has the passion and determination to be a Ryder Cup star in the future.

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