The 2018 Ryder Cup was dramatic for a short while during the Sunday singles matches, but in the end, Europe rolled to a clear 17.5-10.5 victory after entering the day leading 10-6. The United States team certainly made the hosts earn the victory with a downhill string of early points and half points, but in a flurry at the end, the Euros took back the trophy after losing it two years ago and kept the U.S. from winning on European soil for the first time since 1993.
It felt close for a while (and it was on the scoreboard), but after losing the first session 3-1 on Friday morning, Europe went on to win the next four with a combined score of 16.5-7.5. It was an absolute thumping for the U.S., which came in as one of the better teams in this event's history. It was also the Americans' worst loss at this event since 2006 when they fell 18.5-9.5 at the K Club.
Sunday singles -- Europe wins 17.5-10.5 overall
USA wins 1UP
USA wins 3&2
Europe wins 2&1
|Tony Finau||Tommy Fleetwood||USA wins 6&4|
|Dustin Johnson||Ian Poulter||Europe wins 2UP|
|Jordan Spieth||Thorbjorn Olsesn||Europe wins 5&4|
|Rickie Fowler||Sergio Garcia||Europe wins 2&1|
|Phil Mickelson||Francesco Molinari||Europe wins 4&2 (clincher)|
|Patrick Reed||Tyrrell Hatton||USA wins 3&2|
|Bubba Watson||Henrik Stenson||Europe wins 5&4|
|Bryson DeChambeau||Alex Noren||Europe wins 1UP|
With victories from Justin Thomas, Tony Finau and Webb Simpson -- plus a half point from Brooks Koepka -- the Americans moved to within 10.5-9.5 of the Europeans, which led the Ryder Cup since Friday afternoon onward. The Yanks would only win one point the rest of the day.
After Thomas, Finau and Simpson provided hope, a handful of other matches teetered toward the U.S., and a path to victory was at least visible. However, the United States could not afford to let any of the matches in the middle topple Europe's way as captain Jim Furyk front-loaded his singles with guys who were playing better golf. The back end looked dicey from the start.
Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson badly needed to flip their matches against Jon Rahm and Ian Poulter, respectively, and they didn't. Europe got two full points from them, and it was all but over. When Rahm downed Woods 2&1 on the 17th hole with his fourth birdie of the day and Poulter took world No. 1 Johnson at the 18th 2UP, the only question left was who would do the final deed. The answer was somewhat humorous.
Phil Mickelson, who struggled all week and helped engender the task force that led to the selection of this team, hit a ball in the water on No. 16, took off his hat and conceded to Francesco Molinari. The point means Molinari is just the fourth man to go 5-0-0 in a Ryder Cup and the first to ever do it in the same year he won a major. Woods and Mickelson combined to go 0-6-0 in the Ryder Cup, and Woods' 0-4 mark made him the fourth to do that in a single Ryder Cup since 1979.
"I don't even think I can quantify to let you guys know how much it means," Poulter told NBC after he got Europe to 13.5 points. "You see it in the emotion when we hole putts. You see it in the emotion of the fans. To be able to represent Europe is extremely special. To be able to win this thing back is even more special."
Europe closed with more victories from Henrik Stenson over Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia over Rickie Fowler and Alex Noren over Bryson DeChambeau. They ended up winning a singles session they only had to halve. The ensuing celebration was more or less a parade. Fleetwood ran laps, Stenson toasted and Molinari insisted that he wishes it had been Garcia who had the holed the final putt to become the all-time points earner in Ryder Cup history. Noren ended it with a bang.
For the United States, it was a big week of questions with few answers. Why did Woods go 0-4-0 a week after winning the Tour Championship? Why did Johnson look listless for most of the event? What's going on with Watson? And on and on we go.
For Europe, it's yet another in a long line of machine-like performances. They took advantage of a course that fit their games, never panicked and forced the U.S. to need a miracle on Sunday. They didn't get it, and as a result the Euros have won a seventh Ryder Cup in their last nine tries.
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