RECORD-BREAKING: USA win 43rd Ryder Cup beating Europe 19-9
The United States regained the Ryder Cup with a record-breaking win as they beat Europe 19-9 at Whistling Straits.
Trailing 11-5 heading into Sunday’s 12 singles matches, Padraig Harrington’s European team needed a comeback greater than 2012’s ‘Miracle at Medinah’ to retain the trophy, with the home side requiring just three-and-a-half points.
But, although Rory McIlroy belatedly found some form to beat Xander Schauffele in the opening match, the scoreboard was soon a sea of American red as Steve Stricker’s side stormed to an utterly dominant 19-9 victory - the biggest winning margin in the modern era.
The writing had been on the wall over the first two days of American dominance and victories for Scottie Scheffler over the previously unbeaten Jon Rahm and Patrick Cantlay against Shane Lowry took them to the brink of victory.
Bryson DeChambeau, who eagled the first hole after driving the green, ended Sergio Garcia’s unbeaten record with a 3 and 2 victory to make it 14-6 and it fell to Collin Morikawa to effectively secure victory with eight matches still on the course.
The Open champion’s birdie on the 17th guaranteed him half a point against Viktor Hovland – subsequently confirmed on the last – and the home celebrations, which Justin Thomas had started by downing beer on the first tee on Saturday afternoon, could officially begin.
World number two Dustin Johnson’s victory over Paul Casey made him the first American player to compile a perfect 5-0 record since Larry Nelson in 1981, while there were also wins for Brooks Koepka, Thomas and Daniel Berger.
Ian Poulter maintained his proud unbeaten singles record with a 3 and 2 win over Tony Finau and Lee Westwood beat Harris English, while Tommy Fleetwood halved his match with Jordan Spieth.
Matt Fitzpatrick looked set to halve his match with Berger and ensure the winning margin only equalled the previous best of nine points, only to dump his approach to the 18th into Seven Mile Creek in front of the green.
“We are disappointed but the US played well,” Harrington said. “They outplayed us, they were a strong team that got their plan right and got some momentum going. We always knew it was going to be a tall order.”
Asked if he regretted any of his decisions, Harrington added: “No, that’s the one thing that I have. I’m very comfortable with all the decisions. It’s a small consolation but it is one.”
McIlroy had been benched for the first time in his Ryder Cup career after two defeats on the opening day and lost again on Saturday afternoon, but birdied the first hole against Olympic champion Schauffele and was never headed.
Asked to describe the challenge of playing in front of the partisan crowd, McIlroy struggled to compose himself before saying: “I love being a part of this team and I wish I could have done more for them this week.
“I’m glad I put a point on the board for them but I just can’t wait to get another shot at this.”
McIlroy, who famously described the Ryder Cup as an “exhibition” before making his debut at Celtic Manor in 2010, added: “I’ve never cried about what I’ve done as an individual, I couldn’t give a s***.
“It’s been a tough week but the more and more I play in this event I realise it’s the best event in golf bar none. No matter what happens after this I am proud of every single one of the players that played this week, I am proud of our captain and vice-captains.”
Rahm had been in brilliant form over the first two days, partnering Garcia to three wins and also halving his match alongside Tyrrell Hatton, but ran into an inspired Scheffler who birdied the first four holes and never eased up.
Lowry briefly led against FedEx Cup winner Cantlay but never recovered from losing the fourth, fifth and sixth and eventually lost 4 and 2.
Cantlay was one of six rookies on the US team and warned Europe that the new generation of American stars would provide stiff opposition for years to come.
“This is definitely different,” Cantlay said. “I woke up this morning and I was trying to tell the guys, let’s get to 20 points because this is going to be the next era of Ryder Cup team for the US side.
“We have a lot of young guys and I think they are going to be on teams for a long time and I wanted to send a message.
“I think the young guys on this team get along really well. Everybody gets along. The atmosphere is light but I know everyone has that killer instinct and we are going to bring that to future cups.”
Victorious captain Stricker praised his side for making the journey to Whistling Straits for practice rounds a fortnight ago and even suggested their unity extended to the feuding DeChambeau and Koepka.
“They had a mission this week and you could tell, they played great and they came together”, Stricker said. “I mean, Brooks and Bryson wanted to play together, that’s how much it came together. That shows a lot about this whole team.
“From day one, it was about out-preparing (Europe), right, getting the guys here, getting them on the same page. This is a new era for USA golf. They are young. They come with a lot of passion, a lot of energy, a lot of game. They are just so good.”
Ryder Cup Win - Final Day Timeline (all times BST)
1704: Rory McIlroy gets the action underway by teeing off first in the opening match against Xander Schauffele.
1916: With at least one hole having been played in all matches, Europe are up in four, down in five and all square in three.
2036: McIlroy completes a 3 and 2 victory over Schauffele to register a point for Europe, but the Americans still lead 11-6.
2048: Jon Rahm succumbs to a 4 and 3 defeat at the hands of Scottie Scheffler and Shane Lowry goes down 4 and 2 to Patrick Cantlay moments later, leaving the US 13-6 ahead.
2119: Bryson DeChambeau puts the Americans 14-6 ahead and on the brink of victory by completing a 3 and 2 win over Sergio Garcia.
2135: Collin Morikawa wins the 17th hole to go one up in his match against Viktor Hovland, securing at least half a point and effectively winning the Ryder Cup.
2147: Dustin Johnson narrowly misses a long putt on the 17th that would have officially clinched the Ryder Cup by securing his win over Paul Casey.
2151: American victory is officially confirmed despite Morikawa losing his final hole against Hovland and finishing all square in his match, with the score moving to 14.5-6.5.
2158: Brooks Koepka birdies the 17th to complete a 2 and 1 win over Bernd Wiesberger and make the score 15.5-6.5.
2202: Tyrrell Hatton goes down 4 and 3 to Justin Thomas and the Americans increase their lead to 16.5-6.5.
2203: Johnson makes the score 17.5-6.5 and becomes only the third player to win five matches from five at a Ryder Cup by beating Casey 1up.
2208: Ian Poulter secures a consolation point for Europe with a 3 and 2 victory over Tony Finau, making the score 17.5-7.5.
2242: Lee Westwood brings another belated European point with a 1up victory over Harris English, reducing the gap to 17.5-8.5.
2252: Tommy Fleetwood and Jordan Spieth concede putts to each other on the final hole to halve their match, making the score 18-9.
2300: Matt Fitzpatrick loses 1up to Daniel Berger, confirming the US as winners by a record margin in the modern era, 19-9.
Stricker praises USA unity in Ryder Cup win
United States captain Steve Stricker hailed the new-found unity of his triumphant Ryder Cup side after their record-breaking victory over Europe at Whistling Straits.
World number two Dustin Johnson became the first American player since Larry Nelson in 1981 to compile a perfect 5-0 record as the home side cruised to a 19-9 success, the biggest winning margin in the modern era.
Europe won by nine points at Oakland Hills in 2004 and The K Club in 2006, while the United States also won by the same margin at Walton Heath.
“It was a special week all the way around,” Stricker said. “I don’t know what else to say.
“I’ve said it a number of times all week long and how these guys came together, and how that started two weeks ago when they showed up for the practice round here.
“I could see the camaraderie then. I could see the willingness to prepare and get ready for this event prior to us even arriving. A lot of these guys have played a lot of golf with each other. They have grown up with each other. It’s a special group of guys.
“This didn’t start just two weeks ago. This started months ago. For me, two-and-a-half years ago.
“It’s been on my mind ever since I was announced to be captain. I wanted to make a special week for these guys. I’ve been part of a few teams and I know how it can go.
“I’ve been on a losing team and I’ve been on a winning side and we just want these guys to enjoy the experience. And as you can tell up here right now, it looks like they have enjoyed the experience.”
Stricker even went as far as to claim Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka had wanted to put their simmering feud aside and play together, although the briefest of hugs they had shared earlier beside the 18th green did not make that wholly convincing.
“I felt like as a whole we came together and did something amazing,” DeChambeau said on the USA's Ryder Cup win. “This is a start to new generation. I think we are going to be doing some incredible things moving forward.
“I’ll tell you, from winning the Ryder Cup, this is possibly way better than any tournament I’ve won in my entire life, the group of people, the collective game of golf, it’s so much bigger than just a singular tournament.
“It’s about people coming together and doing something special for the game of golf. And I couldn’t be more proud of captain Strick and everybody putting their hearts out and making it the coolest experience I’ve ever had in my golf career.”
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