SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – (Wire Service Report) – Europe fended off a rally by the United States during Sunday’s singles to win the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National near Paris.
Thorbjorn Olesen of Europe
Europe began the day with a 10-6 lead, but saw the Americans chip away at that cushion with Justin Thomas beating Rory McIlroy 1-up out of the gates and the U.S. picking up 3 1/2 of the first four points.
Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen righted the European ship with a 5 & 4 rout of Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm put the U.S. on the ropes when he birdied the 17th hole to beat Tiger Woods 2 & 1. That gave the Euros 12 1/2 of the 14 1/2 points they needed to win the Cup and they led four of the six matches remaining on the course.
Woods finished the Ryder Cup with an 0-4-0 record, and Dustin Johnson didn’t fare much better. A few minutes after Woods’ defeat, Johnson lost 2 & 1 to Ian Poulter, putting Europe within a point of the victory.
At that point it was just a matter of determining who would seal the deal for Europe, and it became all but official when Sergio Garcia and Francesco Molinari guaranteed themselves at least a half a point on the course.
In a somewhat fitting – albeit anticlimactic – manner, Europe unofficially extended the U.S. Ryder Cup drought on foreign soil to at least 29 years when Phil Mickelson missed a birdie putt on No. 15 to go dormie against Molinari with three holes to play. Mickelson, playing in his record 12th Ryder Cup, has now been a part of six losing U.S. teams in Europe while Molinari capped the first 5-0-0 record by a European since the event went to a five-session format.
The victory became official when Mickelson hit his tee shot on No. 16 into the water. With Molinari safely on the green, Mickelson removed his hat, shook hands and conceded the match without ever leaving the tee box.
“Hard to describe, I’m just so proud of everyone on the team,” Molinari told NBC Sports on the course. “An amazing group of guys. Any one of us would have deserved to have clinched the point for various reasons. This team has been incredible from the start. We were determined to do the job, and nothing was going to stop us. And you saw it on the course.”
Alex Noren poured the final salt in the Americans’ wounds when the 36-year-old Ryder Cup rookie drained a lengthy birdie putt on the 18th hole to beat Bryson DeChambeau and extend the Europeans’ rout to a final tally of 17 1/2 to 10 1/2.
Woods and Mickelson, the two veteran captain’s picks, went a combined 0-6-0 in Paris, while Johnson’s 1-4-0 record was the worst ever in a Ryder Cup by a world No. 1 player.
“The incredible pride that I feel to play the way I did,” Rahm told NBC Sports. “To beat Tiger Woods – I mean, I grew up watching that guy. Last week I was making a video from the East Lake clubhouse, just watching him win his 80th event. To play the golf that I did … a lot of emotions. There’s a lot of people that I was playing for, but more importantly for myself, and the pride and the humbleness I feel right now is beyond indescribable.
Poulter, a pick by European captain Thomas Bjorn, improved to 5-0-1 in Ryder Cup singles and 14-6-2 overall.
“I don’t think I can even quantify to tell you guys how much it means,” said Poulter. “You see it in the emotion of 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.”
Garcia, another captain’s pick, earned his 25 1/2 career Ryder Cup point, passing Nick Faldo for the most in history.
“To be a part of a European Ryder Cup team, all of them, it’s amazing,” said Garcia. “You can’t describe … there’s not enough money to buy it.
“I love everything about it. There’s nothing like it. There’s no other week where you open your chest to the guys you’re playing against week in and week out, and that’s what we do here. We fight as hard as we can for each one of us. And because of that, we’ve been able to be very successful.”
Then there was Molinari, who joined Arnold Palmer, Larry Nelson and Gardner Dickinson as the only players to go 5-0-0 in a single Ryder Cup. Four of those came with Tommy Fleetwood, whose only blemish was a Sunday loss to Tony Finau, and while fellow rookie Jon Rahm rebounded from a disappointing group stage to continue Woods’ misery in Paris.
Meanwhile, Jim Furyk will return to the United States as the sixth consecutive captain to fail to win the Ryder Cup on foreign soil. Europe has now won or retained the Ryder Cup in 15 of the past 18 events.
“I have to tip my cap to the European side,” he said. “I mean, they played great golf. My team fought hard, I’m really proud of them. End of the day, I think we dip out cap. Thomas did a better job than I did, they’re team played great. There’s not much else to say.”
(United States vs. Europe)
Justin Thomas vs. Rory McIlroy (Thomas won 1-up)
Brooks Koepka vs. Paul Casey (Halved)
Webb Simpson vs. Justin Rose (Simpson won 3 & 2)
Tiger Woods vs. Jon Rahm (Rahm won 2 & 1)
Tony Finau vs. Tommy Fleetwood (Finau won 6 & 4)
Dustin Johnson vs. Ian Poulter (Poulter won 2-up)
Jordan Spieth vs. Thorbjorn Olesen (Olesen won 5 & 4)
Rickie Fowler vs. Sergio Garcia (Garcia won 2 & 1)
Phil Mickelson vs. Francesco Molinari (Molinari won 4 & 2)
Patrick Reed vs. Tyrrell Hatton (Reed won 3 & 2)
Bubba Watson vs. Henrik Stenson (Stenson won 5 & 4)
Bryson DeChambeau vs. Alex Noren (Noren won, 1-up)
–Field Level Media