‘A special day’ for America, as Europe relinquish the Ryder Cup in record defeat
Europe suffered a record 19-9 defeat in the Ryder Cup as the USA cruised to victory at Whistling Straits.
Open champion Collin Morikawa claimed the winning half point in the fifth of the 12 singles matches as the home side reached the 14.5 points they needed early on Sunday.
European veterans Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter were both reduced to tears despite winning their matches.
“This is a special day for everyone here involved,” said US captain Steve Stricker “The Ryder Cup means a lot to everybody, your side and our side. We finally put in a dominant performance.
“These guys played great, they deserve it, they were fired up to be here and it showed.”
The US eclipsed the record 18.5-9.5 victories twice enjoyed by Europe and once by the Americans.
Scottie Scheffler, in match three, drew first blood against world No 1 Jon Rahm with two opening birdies while Bryson DeChambeau enjoyed a stunning start after launching his drive 354 yards into the heart of the first green and eagling to go ahead against Sergio Garcia.
Shane Lowry, in the second match, birdied the second but missed the green at the short third and Patrick Cantlay levelled things up.
McIlroy, already playing much better than in the previous two days, was doing the job his captain sent him out to do after going two up through four, although it was another Schauffele mistake in missing the green which handed him the hole.
Rookie Viktor Hovland won the first hole without having to putt after Morikawa took three to even get on the green, meaning after an hour’s play Europe were up in two, down in two and all-square in one.
Rahm, Europe’s best player this week, was four down through four but got one back when Scheffler hit his ball into the water at the par-five fifth,
McIlroy had earlier found the same lake but gave himself a real confidence boost by holing a lengthy par putt for an unlikely half.
However, with every match out on the course Europe were behind in five of the top-seven matches with McIlroy, two up, the only one to have blue on the board.
Rookie Bernd Wiesberger, veteran Ian Poulter, yet to register a point this week, and Sheffield’s Matt Fitzpatrick – all one up – were the only players who had managed to put blue on the board.
Lowry and Rahm were three down to Cantlay and Scheffler, while Garcia was two down to DeChambeau, who seemed unbothered by his trip to the lake at the fifth to halve his lead over the Spaniard.
When he swapped his driver for a three-wood at the 339-yard next the crowd groaned.
“Guys, I’m still going for the green. Calm down,” was the big-hitting American’s response.
Morikawa (one up) and Justin Thomas (two up) also led against Hovland and Tyrrell Hatton. Rahm, Europe’s best player this week, was four down through four but got one back when Scheffler hit his ball into the water at the par-five fifth,
McIlroy let out a huge roar after holing a 13ft birdie putt to go three up with four to play but few of his team-mates had much to cheer about.
The Northern Irishman eventually closed out a three and two victory with a birdie at the 16th – the first time he had played the hole all week – but his point to make it 11-6 looked like being the only one in the opening seven matches.
Rahm gave himself something to fight for with a birdie at the 14th to be three down, with Lowry three down with three to play a hole ahead of him.
But the red wave started to arrive when Scheffler tapped in for a four and three victory over Rahm, who looked burned out by the end after his previous efforts.
And once it started the United States’ points began to roll in, with Lowry conceding a four and two win to Cantlay to put the hosts within one-and-half points of reclaiming the trophy.
With Garcia, Hovland and Casey all staring down the barrel of defeats it seemed that confirmation would not take long.
Garcia’s fight ended at the 16th with a three and two defeat to DeChambeau to put the USA on the brink.
“He is an unbelievable player in matchplay and I knew it would be a tough fight,” the American told Sky Sports.
“Getting started hot off one, that was a great start and something which pumped me up for the rest of the round.
“I fed off of it (the crowd) every single shot. They were electric. It’s an atmosphere you don’t get very often but one you appreciate when you do.”
Morikawa’s brilliant approach to a couple of feet at the short 17th set up a birdie to go one up and guarantee the United States the half-point they needed, although he still had to go down the last to officially confirm the victory.
Hovland denied the Open champion the outright victory after hitting his approach to six feet with his opponent only able to get on in three.
The Norwegian earned himself a half-point but it was academic as the American celebrations had already started having reached the 14.5 required to take back the Ryder Cup.
Koepka beat Wiesberger two and one, Thomas beat Hatton four and three while Johnson became only the third man in Ryder Cup history to win all five games in a single Ryder Cup match with a one-up win over Paul Casey.
Poulter secured his first point of the week, and maintained his proud unbeaten individual record, with a three and two win over Tony Finau.
Afterwards the 45-year-old Englishman, a captain’s pick playing in his seventh and potentially final event, looked emotional as he crouched by his bag on the 16th green.
“You put a point on the board and that’s all very nice but it doesn’t mean anything,” he told Sky Sports.
“Unbeaten in singles is nice personally but this is a team week and it is deflating.
“As a senior player in the team you don’t really think there is many more left. I wanted to come here this week and give everything and in the first two days I didn’t manage to do anything.
“Today was to give something back but you just don’t know if you get the chance to go again.”
The United States have regained the Ryder Cup after a record 19-9 victory over Europe at Whistling Straits.
Here, we look at how the action unfolded on the final day.
(All times BST)
1704: Rory McIlroy gets the action under way by teeing off first in the opening match against Xander Schauffele.
1916: With at least one hole having been played in all matches, Europe are up in four, down in five and all square in three.
2036: McIlroy completes a 3 and 2 victory over Schauffele to register a point for Europe, but the Americans still lead 11-6.
2048: Jon Rahm succumbs to a 4 and 3 defeat at the hands of Scottie Scheffler and Shane Lowry goes down 4 and 2 to Patrick Cantlay moments later, leaving the US 13-6 ahead.
2119: Bryson DeChambeau puts the Americans 14-6 ahead and on the brink of victory by completing a 3 and 2 win over Sergio Garcia.
2135: Collin Morikawa wins the 17th hole to go one up in his match against Viktor Hovland, securing at least half a point and effectively winning the Ryder Cup.
2147: Dustin Johnson narrowly misses a long putt on the 17th that would have officially clinched the Ryder Cup by securing his win over Paul Casey.
2151: American victory is officially confirmed despite Morikawa losing his final hole against Hovland and finishing all square in his match, with the score moving to 14.5-6.5.
2158: Brooks Koepka birdies the 17th to complete a 2 and 1 win over Bernd Wiesberger and make the score 15.5-6.5.
2202: Tyrrell Hatton goes down 4 and 3 to Justin Thomas and the Americans increase their lead to 16.5-6.5.
2203: Johnson makes the score 17.5-6.5 and becomes only the third player to win five matches from five at a Ryder Cup by beating Casey 1up.
2208: Ian Poulter secures a consolation point for Europe with a 3 and 2 victory over Tony Finau, making the score 17.5-7.5.
2242: Lee Westwood brings another belated European point with a 1up victory over Harris English, reducing the gap to 17.5-8.5.
2252: Tommy Fleetwood and Jordan Spieth concede putts to each other on the final hole to halve their match, making the score 18-9.
2300: Matt Fitzpatrick loses 1up to Daniel Berger, confirming the US as winners by a record margin in the modern era, 19-9.