Ahead of the Ryder Cup, tensions ran high as Europe looked to regain the trophy following a 17-11 defeat at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in 2016. However, there was no need to worry as Europe gained a measure of revenge over the US, securing a 17 ½ – 10 ½ victory.
They thrashed the Americans and were more than deserving of their victory at Le Golf National in France, in what was an exciting tournament.
It was Open champion Francesco Molinari who got Europe over the line, as he became the first European to have picked up five points in a single Ryder Cup tournament. The Italian had secured victory against Phil Mickelson, one of the US’s wildcards, and this saw Europe reach the magic total of 14 ½.
Heading into the final day at 10-6 down, the Americans started well, gaining 3 ½ of the first 5 points available. The threat of a comeback was on in many ways, but Europe hit back as John Rahm, Ian Poulter, Thorbjorn Olesen, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and Francesco Molinari all won their singles matches to see off the threat.
There’s no denying that Europe had started the week as the underdogs, with their American counterparts having 11 of their players currently ranked inside the world’s top 17. They had also managed to pick up a total of 31 major titles between them too, but Europe had spirit, and it showed.
The course at Le Golf National was also pivotal, as the Americans were used to something completely different on the PGA Tour. Out of all the Americans, only three of them had played at the course previously, while the European players had over 200 rounds between them played at Le Golf National, and in a way, it showed. Europe looked a lot calmer in play, which saw their spirit shine through with great aplomb.
On Europe’s victory, American captain Jim Furyk said, “We got some momentum, but the Europeans responded well as they have all week.” He went on to say, “Europe did a good job on a gold course they know pretty well but they did a great job playing it. They hit key shots and knocked in the clutch putts. But it’s been a wonderful week.”
There was disappointment for a rejuvenated Tiger Woods in Paris, as he picked up zero points from his four matches. Having won his first tournament for five years, many expected him to shine for the Americans, but after having a chance to strike back against Jon Rahm, he was left disappointed and empty handed.
The winning moment could have been delivered by any of Molinari, Garcia or Stenson, but it was the Italian who stepped up to the mark. Mickelson, another US player to head home with zero points on the board, conceded on the 16th after hitting his tee shot straight into the water, with the winning moment then secured.