Europe slump to a record Ryder Cup defeat as USA run riot

Steve Stricker’s side dominate Sunday singles to take the trophy back to the US

Team United States celebrates with the Ryder Cup after defeating Team Europe 19 to 9 at Whistling Straits. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Team United States celebrates with the Ryder Cup after defeating Team Europe 19 to 9 at Whistling Straits. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

 

USA 19 Europe 9

Night follows day. The sun rises in the east. On a contrived links by the shores of Lake Michigan, the inevitability of the United States winning this 43rd Ryder Cup proved akin to a scientific truth, eventually sealed by a record score of 19-9. There would be no miracle, no comeback for the ages.

This time, Europe - the dominant force for the past two decades - were well and truly trumped, outplayed and outclassed, by an American team, one powered by eight players from the world’s top-10, who had taken a grip through two days of foursomes and fourballs and duly inflicted a painful death on any outrageous European hopes. No dreamland, just a nightmarish defeat for Pádraig Harrington and his men.

The dagger hung tantalisingly over Europe’s prone body for much of a final day of singles until finally and inevitably the deed was done, as Collin Morikawa - one of a six pack of young rookies on the USA team - delivered the fatal insertion. Morikawa’s halved match with Viktor Hovland was ultimately the point at which the home team, urged from tee-to-green by a frenzied crowd, moved beyond the winning line.

From early, almost from the time the gates were opened and those fans raced through the darkness to secure seats in the horse-shoed grandstand around the first tee, where some Irish managed to hang a giant tricolour as if to offer defiance, the USA - carrying in an 11-5 advantage - took one inevitable step followed by another towards victory, their first since 2016 and for just the third time in the last 10 matches.

Bryson DeChambeau eagled the first in his match against Sergio Garcia. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Bryson DeChambeau eagled the first in his match against Sergio Garcia. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The end of an era of European dominance, and the start - possibly? - of a new era of American dominance given the age profile of the home team. At an average age of 29, it constituted the youngest team in the Ryder Cup’s history. Young bloods who delivered, their power exemplified by Bryson DeChambeau’s driving of the first green and rolling in a putt for an eagle two as if to affirm their mastery.

“They had a mission this week and you could tell, they played great and they came together. I mean, Brooks and Bryson wanted to play together; that’s how much the team came together . . . 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,” said American captain Steve Stricker.

Little surprise, so, that the victors savoured every moment of the success; that even Brooks Koepka and Dechambeau found it in themselves to hug and to make up; and, in contrast, Europe’s players were, in a number of cases, reduced to tears. Rory McIlroy shed tears, pointing the finger solely at himself for not delivering enough on the course. Ian Poulter, too, cried after succeeding to keep his remarkable singles unbeaten record intact but all in vain and all when the match was long lost.

McIlroy had managed to finally get a win on the board after days of misery with a 3 and 2 win over Xander Schauffele.

But that win provided a small crumb of comfort. In the decisive matches that followed, Patrick Cantlay - who’d won $15 million in lifting the FedEx Cup earlier this month - beat Shane Lowry by 4 and 2; Scottie Scheffler took down Europe’s strongman Jon Rahm by 4 and 3; DeChambeau outdueled Sergio Garcia by 3 and 2 . . . and, then, Morikawa, proving his fallibility with a missed putt on the 18th which led to a halved match with Hovland, secured the half point that brought them to the point of no return. Winners!

Other wins would follow. For Dustin Johnson over Paul Casey. For Koepka over Bernd Wiesberger. For Justin Thomas over Tyrrell Hatton and, in the last match, for Daniel Berger over Matt Fitzpatrick.

“To clinch this and bring the Cup back to home soil, it feels so good,” admitted Morikawa. “We know paper means nothing, it really doesn’t. Even though we knew we had a very strong team and a lot of guys in the top-10 in the world, it means nothing until you hit that first tee shot. We pulled through, didn’t let up . . . I don’t think it’s just a win. I think this is a dominant win.”

Dustin Johnson won five matches out of five over the three days. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Dustin Johnson won five matches out of five over the three days. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

With the outcome a done deal, there would be some fight at the tailend of the matches. Poulter - for one - extended his fine singles record. A win over Tony Finau, in possibly the Englishman’s final Ryder Cup as a player, meant a personal singles career path of six wins and one halved. Lee Westwood’s win over Harris English ensured that the USA would be deprived of the opportunity to reach 20 points but that wasn’t to matter as Berger made it 19 with his win in the final match to secure the record.

“We’re disappointed, but the US played well. Look, they outplayed us, a strong team. They got their plan right. They got some momentum going. They just outplayed us at the end of the day,” said Harrington.

For Lowry, after announcing his arrival as a Ryder Cup player with team DNA coursing through his blood in a brilliant display in Saturday’s fourballs, his singles proved an enthralling battle which came to a close on the 16th with the hatless Cantlay the victor. Having savoured the event, even in defeat, it will make him determined to be a part of the team in Rome in 2023.

Friday results – Morning foursomes

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth lost to Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia 3 and 1

Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa beat Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland 3 and 2

Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele beat Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter 5 and 3

Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger beat Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick lost to 2 and 1

USA 3 Europe 1

Afternoon fourballs

Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele beat Paul Casey and Bernd Wiesberger 2 and 1

Bryson DeChambeau and Scottie Scheffler halved with Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton

Tony Finau and Harris English bt Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry 5 and 3

Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay halved with Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland

USA 3 Europe 1

Saturday results – Morning foursomes

Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger lost to Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm 3 and 1

Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa bt Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton 2 and 1

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth bt Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger 2up

Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay bt Lee Westwood and Matthew Fitzpatrick 2 and 1

USA 3 Europe 1

Afternoon fourballs

Tony Finau and Harris English lost to Shane Lowry and Tyrrell Hatton 1up

Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth lost to Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia 2 and 1

Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau bt Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland 3 and 1

Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa bt Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy 4 and 3

USA 2 Europe 2

Sunday singles

Xander Schauffele lost to Rory McIlroy 3 and 2

Patrick Cantlay bt Shane Lowry 4 and 2

Scottie Scheffler bt Jon Rahm 4 and 3

Bryson DeChambeau bt Sergio Garcia 3 and 2

Collin Morikawa halved with Viktor Hovland

Dustin Johnson bt Paul Casey 1up

Brooks Koepka bt Bernd Wiesberger 2 and 1

Tony Finau lost to Ian Poulter 3 and 2

Justin Thomas bt Tyrrell Hatton 4 and 3

Harris English lost to Lee Westwood 1up

Jordan Spieth halved with Tommy Fleetwood

Daniel Berger bt Matthew Fitzpatrick 1up

USA 8 Europe 4

Overall score: USA 19 Europe 9

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