US finishes strong to reclaim the Ryder Cup

Rickie Fowler

After becoming social media’s favourite bachelor, Rickie Fowler was in the thick of action during the after-party.

For the first time since 2008 and just the second time this century, the US won the Ryder Cup on Sunday, beating Europe, 17-11, at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Think of it: a 17-11 victory for the United States led by his ground-shaking 10 birdies in a single round, after all of the squabbling and blaming, and the heaping of expectations.

“For us to go to Europe and try to win the Cup is a whole different feat”, Mickelson said.

Team mates, families and friends poured out onto the green to celebrate. One member of the crowd was reportedly ejected from the course for derogatory comments aimed at the four-time major victor and he says that some of the comments crossed the line.

“It is the first time with this many rookies since 2010 (when they won by a point at Celtic Manor) and you will see a lot of these rookies come back and play again next time”.

The Americans lost for the third straight time in 2014 at Gleneagles, and it was team divided over everything from how the captain was selected to how the team should be built. And for the first time since 2008, the Ryder Cup is staying in America.

He thought there had been too much of that in the captaincy of Davis Love III at Medinah in 2012.

They did not trail at any point and were actually leading during 45 holes of their matches.

Patrick Reed shook his fists with fury for every big putt he made.

McIlroy rolled in a long birdie bomb and roared in delight, playing to the suddenly silenced crowd by putting his hand to his ear and shouting, “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you”, in extravagant fashion.

Despite losing his intense singles showdown on Sunday to Patrick Reed, McIlroy seemed unaffected by it all and urged his team to take it all “on the chin” – although he did note being able to start drinking at half 7 in the morning hardly helped the situation.

Danny Willett says the behaviour of some home fans at the Ryder Cup proves his brother’s controversial magazine article was right.

At that point, McIlroy could only laugh.

Reed’s 1-up win gave him a US -leading 3.5 points from his five matches. “It was hard”, he said. I didn’t make any birdies on the back nine, which you can’t do against a guy of that quality. They were saying Rory hadn’t been down in a match all week. But I know they’ve given their all, everything they could for the badge on the shirt.

“It was a thrill for us to watch him play”. It was a fun and hard-fought match for both of us. Team Europe can go home with heads held high.

The concept worked with Love selling the idea of “team” and watching as his squad built a three-point lead going into the Sunday singles at Hazeltine, one less point than the US enjoyed at Medinah. Love saved some of his better players, most notably Dustin Johnson, for later in the day. Reed squared the match by driving the fifth green to 8 feet for eagle, and he kept the tee until the 18th.

Earlier singles triumphs by Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Brandt Snedeker and rookie Brooks Koepka plus a vital half point from Phil Mickelson had put the U.S. team on the brink. Former European team captain Paul McGinley suggested that Mickelson had put the Americans “under massive pressure”, and cornered himself. He and Garcia played superbly.

Reed’s gutsy showing in all five matches was exceeded only by his bravado.

Tiger Woods was on that Ryder Cup Task Force geared toward getting players more involved and had strongest influence of any of the five assistants.

“That’s my cue to shut up”, Mickelson said. Here is how players on both sides reacted to the result..

“So I did not do the fitting this year”.

At least one teammate suggested that Mickelson’s self-made predicament may have motivated the U.S.

Mickelson was also a key member of the task force, having scathingly criticized the tactics of 2014 captain Tom Watson immediately after the USA loss at Gleneagles, saying that the players had been left out of the process.

“It was awesome”, Garcia said of a match that featured 19 birdies. I camped out in the bleachers on the short-ish – 180 yards – par 3 for more than two hours, waiting for players to arrive that afternoon. It was definitely a negative.

“He’s the reason why I got my point today”, Snedeker said. I tried to deliver.

Moore, edged out by McIlroy for the Tour Championship in the playoff, had been Love’s final pick, but justified his selection at the last, winning the last three holes against veteran Westwood with an eagle, birdie, par finish.

“I’m a lightweight as it is”, he said.

Europe never really had a chance. This is complete joy. “But I’m sure he is up there looking down on us all with a smile on his face”. “It’s been a blast and I’m just proud to be on this team”.