US regains Ryder Cup with historically dominant performance over Europe
Having been beaten convincingly in 2018 at Le Golf National, France, the hosts were on top from the outset, racing into a 9-3 lead after the first three sessions.
Although the visiting Europeans hinted at a comeback on Saturday afternoon, the US was able to enter Sunday leading 11-5.
And during the Singles matches on Sunday, Collin Morikawa claimed the decisive half point to ensure the US had the required 14.5 points to regain the Ryder Cup and the famous trophy remained in the US.
Rory McIlroy set a good opening tone for the Europeans on Sunday, beating 2020 Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele, but after, it was a run of American winners, bringing the victory home for the hosts in impressive fashion.
For Morikawa himself, he’s had a breakthrough 13 months, winning two majors at the PGA Championship and the Open. But being the man to clinch the winning half point at the Ryder Cup means “everything,” according to the 24-year-old.
“It means so much, everything, wanting to make that putt, it was a great match against Viktor (Hovland),” he told the media afterward.
“I don’t think he really missed too many shots. I had to earn my birdies. But to clinch this and bring the Cup back to home soil, it feels so good.”
It’s the first time the US has won back-to-back Ryder Cups on home soil since 1979-1983.
After Daniel Berger beat Matt Fitzpatrick in the final singles match, it clinched a 19-9 victory for the US team, the biggest winning margin in Ryder Cup history.
The US surpassed the previous record of nine points. Under the modern scoring setup with 28 points available over the three days, the previous largest winning margin was nine points, which was achieved once by the US in 1981 and twice by Europe in 2004 and 2006.
No team since 1979 has won 19 points in a single Ryder Cup.
Stricker called his team the “greatest team of all time” in the presentation ceremony afterwards.
“You are trying to make me cry, aren’t you … this is very special, growing up a couple of hours from here, to be with these guys,” an emotional Stricker said.
“This is a new era right here, they are young, motivated, they came here determined to win. We put them in their groupings, communicated with them, there were no ra-ra speeches — am I going to give them a ra-ra speech? They are the best in the world.
“I have never won a major, but this is my major right here.”
Strong from the start
The value of experience or the benefit of being unscarred by previous bad experiences?
Those were the options weighed up by team captains Steve Stricker and Padraig Harrington.
The two opted for differing approaches, with Stricker picking six rookies in his team while Harrington turned to the tried-and-tested veterans who have had success in recent years.
And from the opening session of foursomes, Stricker looked vindicated. The pairings he chose won three of the four matches, giving the hosts the perfect start as they aimed to reclaim the Ryder Cup after losing it three years ago.
For Harrington and his team, it only got worse from there.
In Friday’s afternoon fourballs and Saturday’s morning foursomes, the US went 3-1 in both sessions, building an impressive 9-3 after three sessions.
It was the largest lead for either side after three sessions of the Ryder Cup since the US led by 7 points in 1975.
The Europeans showed some fight Saturday afternoon, splitting the four matches 2-2 but leaving a momentous effort needed to mount a comeback.
McIlroy, who had previously had an unsuccessful time of it, looked back to his best in the opening singles match Sunday, impressively beating Schauffele 3&2 to add to his extensive resume.
But McIlroy needed some help from his teammates, but it wasn’t forthcoming against some impressive US golf.
Patrick Cantlay, the FedExCup Playoff winner earlier this month, was unflappable in his victory over Irishman Shane Lowry, and Scottie Scheffler was dominant in beating world No. 1 Jon Rahm.
Unfortunately for the Europeans, the star-studded US team didn’t let up, with Bryson DeChambeau also recording an impressive victory.
And that meant it was left to the 24-year-old Morikawa to wrap up the one-sided victory. Playing another Ryder Cup rookie with plenty of potential, Viktor Hovland, he remained nonplussed, losing the last hole to the Norwegian but reaching the required 14.5 points to regain the trophy.
The imperious Dustin Johnson created his own bit of history in beating Paul Casey, becoming just the third player ever to win all five of his matches in one Ryder Cup.
Justin Thomas wrapped up a comfortable victory against Tyrrell Hatton, before Ian Poulter gave the European fans something to cheer for, beating Tony Finau.
For the experienced Poulter, who remains unbeaten in Ryder Cup singles with the victory, it was an emotional moment, as he sunk to his knees immediately afterward.
Brooks Koepka claimed another US point before Lee Westwood claimed a rare point for Europe.
Jordan Spieth and Tommy Fleetwood halved their high-quality encounter before Berger won the record-setting point, the largest Ryder Cup margin of victory since 1979.