USA Takes Back the Ryder Cup

Adam Xiao

The 41st Ryder Cup went above and beyond expectations as the United States on Sunday, October 4th, won its first crown since 2008, winning the Sunday singles 7.5-4.5 to capture the cup by a 17-11 margin (the United States’s largest winning margin since 1981).

The Americans led by three points entering the final day and pulled away from the Europeans despite early challenges on Sunday. The first match of the day set the tone, as Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy pumped up the strong crowd of 50,000 people with a spectacular display of golf and emotion on their front nine. Reed pulled ahead on the back nine and hung on for a 1 Up victory with a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th to give the Americans their first point of the final day.

From then on, the tide turned and the blue flags (European) that covered the scoreboard early, turned to red (USA). The Reed-McIlroy matchup was the most emotionally charged match of the day (the match was compared to the famous Ali-Frazier fight) and the golf was no doubt incredible on the front nine, but the Phil Mickelson-Sergio Garcia match turned out to be the best golf played all day and arguably the whole week. Although the match was halved (and the only match halved on Sunday), both players shot 63 with a combined 19 birdies total!

The Europeans won three of the first four matches, as captain Darren Clarke sent out his veterans and hot players out first to put up points for the Europeans. However, the depth of the Unites States proved to be way too much for the Europeans as the Americans started to get rolling in the middle of the afternoon, posting win after win after win until they reached 14 points. From that point, only a half-point was needed to claim the Ryder Cup for the Americans.

The final point to clinch the Ryder Cup came from Ryan Moore, the last captain’s pick. Moore put up a grand total of 2.5 points during the Ryder Cup, including a 1 Up singles victory over Lee Westwood in which he came back from being 2 Down with three to play by eagling the 16th after a beautiful second shot onto the par 5, birdieing the tough par 3 17th, and two-putting for par on the final hole.

The United States is now home to the Ryder Cup for the first time since the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla, and Davis Love III improves to 1-1 as the American captain, getting revenge for the American collapse at the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah where the Americans blew a 10-6 lead going into Sunday singles and ended up losing 14.5-13.5.

This victory for the United States was a fitting tribute to the legendary Arnold Palmer, who passed away a couple of days earlier.



Match by Match Results of 41st Ryder Cup (Courtesy of Golf Channel Digital)

Overall: U.S. 17, Europe 11

Day 3 singles
U.S. 7 ½, Europe 4 ½

Patrick Reed (U.S.) def. Rory McIlroy, 1 up
This was perhaps the greatest singles match in the history of the Ryder Cup through eight holes where they were trading blows like prized fighters. But it fizzled a little and both were clearly weary near the end. A Reed birdie on the par-5 16th hole was the final dagger.

Henrik Stenson (E) def. Jordan Spieth, 3 and 2
This match lived up to the hype but was overshadowed by the one ahead between McIlroy and Reed. A costly bogey for Spieth on the 13th hole put him 2 down, a margin that was too big to overcome against the man who has played as well as anyone in the world this summer.

Thomas Pieters (E) def. J.B. Holmes, 3 and 2
Pieters was sensational from beginning to end. On this day he collected seven birdies and completely overpowered a powerful Holmes. The victory gave the European rookie a 4-1 record. This won’t be the last time we see Pieters on a European Ryder Cup team.

Rickie Fowler (U.S.) def. Justin Rose, 1 up
Rose looked tired. Really tired. This was his fifth match of the week and he lacked firepower. Fowler should’ve won easier than he did but neither player had more than a 1-up advantage at any point in the match. Fowler called it a “pillow fight.” Sums it up.

Rafa Cabrera Bello (E) def. Jimmy Walker, 3 and 2
Another good match that no one was paying any attention to because others were higher profile. Both players had six birdies but Walker was too wayward at times and made four bogeys. Cabrera Bello didn’t lose a match all week, going 2-0-1.

Phil Mickelson (U.S.) vs. Sergio Garcia, halved
All the focus was on Reed-McIlroy early, but this may be the best complete singles match in Ryder Cup history. The two combined for 19 (yes, 19!) birdies. Garcia birdied the last four holes and Mickelson birdied four of the last five. A fitting result, although halves, in general, stink.

Ryan Moore (U.S.) def. Lee Westwood, 1 up
This match clinched the Ryder Cup for the Americans. Westwood was 2 up with three holes to play but Moore won all three holes to win the match. It wrapped up an abysmal week for Westwood (0-3) and continues a remarkable two-week stretch for Moore (2-1).

Brandt Snedeker (U.S.) def. Andy Sullivan, 3 and 1
Snedeker was the only undefeated American (3-0) and putted lights out all week. He was emotionally charged and delivered with key shot after key shot. Sullivan was scrappy but two bogeys in the last four holes cost him dearly. He ended the week 0-2 but played better than that indicates.

Dustin Johnson (U.S.) def. Chris Wood, 1 up
Surprisingly, this was close. DJ never had more than a 2-up advantage, but he did make seven birdies. Wood got off to a hot start but couldn’t sustain that momentum. The cup was already decided over the last couple holes so this result didn’t matter.

Brooks Koepka (U.S.) def. Danny Willett, 5 and 4
Believe it or not, this match was actually close through eight holes. But from that point forward Willett made two bogeys and Koepka collected two birdies. It got out of hand quick. Koepka shined in his first Ryder Cup, Willett went 0-3 and never found form.

Martin Kaymer (E) def. Matt Kuchar, 1up
This match was the last one on the course and was inconsequential. Kaymer won the 15th hole with a birdie to go 1 up and they halved the final three holes. Kaymer didn’t play well at all this week and collected his first and only point here against Kuchar.

Zach Johnson (U.S.) def. Matthew Fitzpatrick, 4 and 3
This was an ugly match and, thankfully, one that not many watched. If it would have come down to this one Europe was always going to be in trouble. Johnson only made three birdies on a day when birdies were flying everywhere. Fitzpatrick was overwhelmed and made four bogeys.

Day 2 fourballs
U.S. 3, Europe 1

Rory McIlroy-Thomas Pieters (E) def. Brooks Koepka-Dustin Johnson, 3 and 1
McIlroy and Pieters moved their record to 3-0 together this week. This one was billed as a heavyweight bout with all four players among the longest hitters in golf. It was great but Europe had more firepower. Pieters was 7 under and McIlroy was 4 under. They were sensational.

J.B. Holmes-Ryan Moore (U.S.) def. Danny Willett-Lee Westwood, 1 up
Neither team had more than a 1-up advantage all day and it was pretty decent golf considering that it got lost in the shuffle of the other higher-profile matches. Westwood played well through 10 holes but missed two crucial, short putts late in devastating fashion. Holmes made seven birdies.

Phil Mickelson-Matt Kuchar (U.S.) def. Martin Kaymer-Sergio Garcia, 2 and 1
Have to hand it to Mickelson. He went two matches this day. After getting smoked in the morning he was remarkable down the stretch and birdied three of the last four holes to close it out. It was Kuchar early, Mickelson late. Garcia was essentially fighting alone as Kaymer continued to be out of sorts.

Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed (U.S.) def. Justin Rose-Henrik Stenson, 2 and 1
Oddly, Spieth and Rose were afterthoughts in this match. Stenson played great but Reed was otherworldly. Honestly, this had to be the best Reed has ever played. He drained putts all over the lot, holed out for eagle on the sixth hole and did everything he needed to do. It was an amazing performance.

Day 2 foursomes
Europe 2 ½, U.S. 1 ½

Rory McIlroy-Thomas Pieters (E) def. Rickie Fowler-Phil Mickelson, 4 and 2
Europe was 3 up after seven holes and Mickelson drained a long par putt on No. 8 to keep it from going to 4. The Americans then won the next two holes to pull close. But McIlroy and Pieters were both animals throughout and there was no way they were going to be denied.

Brandt Snedeker-Brooks Koepka (U.S.) def. Henrik Stenson-Matthew Fitzpatrick, 3 and 2
Match was close all along and was all square on the 13th tee. But Snedeker and Koepka both made incredible putts over the next three holes and put it out of reach. After Reed-Spieth, surprisingly, this has been the second-best U.S. duo.

Justin Rose-Chris Wood (E) def. Jimmy Walker-Zach Johnson, 1 up
This one was way closer than it should’ve been. Europe was 3 up after 13 and then played tight and sloppy. It went to the last hole but Johnson hit his approach over the back of the green on a hole the Americans had to win for any hopes of a halve.

Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed (U.S.) vs. Sergio Garcia-Rafa Cabrera Bello, halve
Biggest shocker of the week. Hands down. Not because it ended up as a halve, but because of how it happened. The U.S. was 6 under through 12 holes and 4 up at that point. But they bogeyed three consecutive holes (Nos. 13-15) and squandered all momentum. Huge, huge momentum swing. Felt like a victory for Europe.

Day 1 fourballs
Europe 3, U.S. 1

Henrik Stenson-Justin Rose (E) def. Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed, 5 and 4
The Americans made six birdies and got absolutely smoked. Stenson made five birdies and Rose made four to avenge a morning foursomes loss to the same U.S. team. Set the tone for Europe in the afternoon.

Sergio Garcia-Rafa Cabrera Bello (E) def. J.B. Holmes-Ryan Moore, 3 and 2
How do you know it’s the Ryder Cup? Because Sergio Garcia makes important putts. The all-Spanish duo combined for seven birdies and easily won. Holmes was out of sorts and Moore held his own but couldn’t do it alone.

Brandt Snedeker-Brooks Koepka (U.S.) def. Martin Kaymer-Danny Willett, 5 and 4
Seven total birdies for the Americans helped produce the rout. Willett made only two birdies but Kaymer played horribly. The two-time major champ recorded a score for his team only three times in 14 holes.

Rory McIlroy-Thomas Pieters (E) def. Dustin Johnson-Matt Kuchar, 3 and 2
McIlroy played with his second different rookie of the day. This one was closer than it should’ve been. Europe was 4 up after 13 but the U.S. won the next two holes when Europe tightened up. Ultimately the hot start (five birdies in the first seven holes) was the difference.

Day 1 foursomes
U.S. 4, Europe 0

Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed (U.S.) def. Henrik Stenson-Justin Rose, 3 and 2
The best U.S. team was just too much to handle and made five birdies including one from 20 feet on the 16th hole to end the match. Both Spieth and Reed were spectacular. Europe only made one birdie.

Phil Mickelson-Rickie Fowler (U.S.) def. Rory McIlroy-Andy Sullivan, 1 up
Americans were 2 down after six holes and 2 down after 14 holes. But they somehow won the next three holes to secure the match. There was tons of pressure on Mickelson and this was Fowler’s first outright win in the Ryder Cup.

Jimmy Walker-Zach Johnson (U.S.) def. Sergio Garcia-Martin Kaymer, 4 and 2
Walker made a key par save on 12 to get the match to even, then the Americans won the next four holes in a row. Europe only made two birdies in a match where they were heavily favored.

Dustin Johnson-Matt Kuchar (U.S.) def. Lee Westwood-Thomas Pieters, 5 and 4
Europe was horrid with bogeys on the first two holes and a double bogey on the seventh. Europe didn’t hit a fairway in the first nine holes. Pieters was overwhelmed. Westwood was mediocre.