Picture: 123RF/DEKLOFENAK
Picture: 123RF/DEKLOFENAK

Kohler — The US, led by a new generation, reclaimed the Ryder Cup on Sunday, thrashing holders Europe 19-9 to herald what could be an era of domination by the Americans at the biennial competition.

Having romped to a commanding 11-5 advantage after the foursome and four-ball sessions, the Americans entered the singles needing just 3½ points to reach the target required to hoist the little gold trophy.

Collin Morikawa, a 24-year-old Ryder Cup rookie, ended Europe’s faint hopes of a comeback when he birdied the 17th to go one up in his match with Viktor Hovland, guaranteeing the US a deciding half-point.

The youngest member on the US team and a two-time Major winner would make it official a few minutes later with a par on 18 to end the match in a tie, sending a thundering chant of “USA, USA” rumbling across Whistling Straits.

“To clinch this and bring it back on home soil feels so good,” said Morikawa, one of six rookies on the 12-man US team. “The guys pulled through; we didn't let up.”

The 19-9 rout was the largest margin of victory in the 28-point Ryder Cup format, which began in 1979. It was just the second time in six competitions and third in 10 that the US had claimed golf’s most coveted team title. Never before in 42 previous Ryder Cups had a team come back from more than a four-point deficit on the final day and Padraig Harrington’s men, while defiant, never threatened to make history.

Whistling Straits provided a stunning backdrop and perfect party spot for 40,000 mostly flag-waving American fans, who flooded into the links-style Pete Dye jewel on the Lake Michigan shoreline on Sunday, ready to celebrate.

Morikawa sent the party into overdrive but it would be some time before all his teammates could join in. Seven matches were still out on the course to be completed with the margin of victory the only thing left to be decided. Given their commanding lead, there were worries about a lack of intensity by the US players, but a raucous crowd on the first tee assured their batteries were fully charged heading out.

Needing something magical, Harrington turned to a player who had so far provided little of it at Whistling Straits, tasking a winless Rory McIlroy with sparking a European fightback.

McIlroy, who laboured so badly in the foursomes and four balls that Harrington stood down the Northern Irishman for the first time in his Ryder Cup career, was first out against Olympic champion Xander Schauffele and found a spark, going two up after four holes and never trailing in a 3&2 win.

But behind McIlroy, an American red wave was forming on the scoreboard as Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia and Shane Lowry, who had accounted for most of the European points in the foursomes and four balls, failed to fire.

Patrick Cantlay defeated Lowry 4&2 and Scottie Scheffler slew Europe’s best Rahm 4&3.

Scheffler, a captain’s pick who is still without a PGA Tour win, was handed the daunting task of taking on the world No 1 and did not wilt from the challenge, going four up on the Spaniard after four holes and never letting him back into the match.

Big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau, the crowd favourite with his monster drives, pounded Garcia into submission 3&2 to leave the US a half-point from mission accomplished.

Who would get that crucial point was a toss-up between several matches, but Morikawa got the honour when he nearly aced the 17th, leaving a short tap-in that secured nothing short of a draw.

Reuters

subscribe

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.