US end losing streak
Newly fashioned, team-centric Americans thump Europe to to lift Ryder Cup
AMORE team-oriented US Ryder Cup squad took care of business yesterday, completing a 17-11 thumping of Europe to snap a losing streak and validate changes in their approach to golf’s top team competition.
More input from players, more continuity among the team leaders and an additional late captain’s pick were among changes made to the US system.
“We haven’t had a good run lately and I’m thrilled for them that they got the win,” said US captain Davis Love III.
“Proud of the way they competed all week. I’m proud of their attitude. But mostly proud of the way they came together as a family.”
Ryan Moore, added as the 12th player the day before the team was to arrive in Minnesota following his gritty runner-up showing at the Tour Championship, was the man who ended the long US wait for Ryder Cup redemption.
Team mates, families and friends poured out onto the green to celebrate.
The Americans had last won the biennial match play event in 2008 as Europe ran off three Cup victories in a row, extending their domination to eight of the previous 10 meetings.
“We are all gutted and disappointed,” team captain Clarke said after yesterday’s singles matches.
“The American guys played better than we did.
“In past Ryder Cups I have been part of, the European guys putted a little bit better. It is those little things that make the difference.
“They holed the putts when they had to and we lipped out. But that’s what happened the other way around for quite some time.”
Brandt Snedeker, who registered a 3-0 record, set Moore up for the winning point by claiming a 3 and 1 victory over English rookie Andy Sullivan.
On a brilliantly sunny day, the US side capitalised on their greater depth to close out victory as they faced four of Europe’s six rookies in the late matches, winning all of them.
The US victory charge came after some titanic early matches in which Europe, who frontloaded their best players at the top of the order, closed the gap to one point after entering the deciding 12 singles matches trailing by three.
Sensational shot-making and scoring made for great theatre in front of some 50,000 roaring fans.
Patrick Reed and Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, the hottest players and most demonstrative competitors on their respective teams, staged an outrageous contest of canyou-top-this in their opening nine.
Reed’s 1-up win gave him a US-leading 3.5 points from his five matches.
Later in the day, Cup veterans Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia waged an epic battle, with 19 birdies between them.
After a rousing finish in which the Spaniard closed with four birdies in a row and Mickelson birdied four of the last five holes, they appropriately ended up all square.
Henrik Stenson and rookies Thomas Pieters and Rafa Cabrera-Bello closed the gap for Europe, narrowing the US lead to 10 1/2 to 9 1/2, but the Americans held a big edge in the later matches.
Sweden’s Stenson beat Jordan Spieth, Pieters of Belgium topped JB Holmes and Spain’s Cabrera-Bello defeated PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker – all by 3 and 2.
The 24-year-old Pieters set a European rookie record by registering four points and became the first Ryder debutant since 1999 to play in all five sessions.
Reed and McIlroy set the tone for a brilliant day of golf, with the eighth hole producing an outstanding Ryder Cup moment.
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.
Reed then matched McIlroy by pouring in his 20-foot birdie putt to an explosive celebration by the crowd, and wagged his finger at McIlroy and waved his arms to whoop up even louder cheers.
As he walked off the green, Reed was met by a smiling McIlroy, who bumped fists with his rival in a classic Ryder Cup tableau. – Reuters/AFP
JB Holmes of the United States plays a shot on the 16th hole during singles matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club yesterday. –
Captain Davis Love III of the United States celebrates with vice-captains Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods and Tom Lehman during singles matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota yesterday. – AFPPIX