Image Credit: [Sky Sports]
Europe beat a star-studded US team to reclaim the Ryder Cup in Paris 17½ – 10½.
This weekend witnessed Europe beat team USA 17½ – 10½ at a thrilling, but one-sided, contest in Paris. The hosts thus regained the coveted trophy after their 17-11 drubbing in Minnesota last time out. Team Europe, with its formidable mix of experience, teamwork and form, have a great record in recent memory, having won eight out of the previous eleven editions of golf’s greatest tournament. Whilst the USA may have star players, such as Jordan Spieth, the in-form Tiger Woods and the legendary Phil Mickelson, Europe always have a better team spirit. That was on display yet again this weekend and was crucial to the final result.
Going into the weekend’s golf, the hosts were indeed favourites. But, as this special tournament has shown down the years, anything, absolutely anything, can happen. The blue team, captained by Thomas Bjørn, were initially 3-1 down after the traditional Friday morning fourballs format, although Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood managed to beat Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed. It is these solitary points that make huge differences. Indeed, in the afternoon, a rejuvenated European side managed to win all four foursomes pairings, leaving the opening day’s scorecard showing 5-3 rather than the 4-4 it would have had it not been for that aforementioned crucial point from Messrs Molinari and Fleetwood. The momentum was with Bjørn’s men going into the Saturday, the day which always sets the tone for the final day. Europe won the first session of fourballs 3-1, before the afternoon’s fourballs finished 2-2, leaving the Europeans with a lead of 10-6 going into the final day’s singles matches.
10-6, is, by no means, an impossible lead to come back on. Just 6 years ago, at the Miracle of Medinah, team Europe were losing by the exact same scoreline but still ended up victorious. This time around, the visitors won three out of the first four singles matches, drawing the other one, leaving Jim Furyk’s side only 10½ – 9½ down meaning just one point was now in it. Despite the nervousness, the hosts held their own, winning the next five individual matches, thanks to great golf from Ryder Cup veterans Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari and Henrik Stenson. Just as it had been at the Miracle of Medinah, Molinari would be the one who reached the famous 14½ points needed to win.
In the end Europe would win by a stunning seven point difference, 17½ – 10½, with Furyk conceding that the hosts played as a team, whereas team USA did not. Molinari also became the first European player to win the maximum amount of points that an individual can win (five), whilst Sergio Garcia became the highest points scorer in Ryder Cup history, overtaking Sir Nick Faldo’s record. All in all, it was another example of Europe’s teamwork and experience beating USA’s individual egos, demonstrating why Europe have been dominant of late in this famous tournament.
By James Felton