Neutral observers are rare when it comes to the Ryder Cup, one of the most highly charged occasions in sport, but most would agree Sunday’s win by the United States gave the team competition a timely jolt.
Ryan Moore’s win over Lee Westwood was enough to secure victory for the Americans but the highlight of a day of action-packed, high-octane, good walk NOT spoiled (only improved) action was the clash between Europe’s Sergio Garcia and the American veteran Phil Mickelson. “Any time I can get in front of the crowd and especially the Americans and have the red, white and blue on, it just fuels me”.
This time, when Moore’s putt dropped to beat Westwood with all but three matches already finished the members of the usa delegation rose from their spots on the grass and clapped hands or hugged.
Andy Sullivan, idle since the opening morning loss with McIlroy in foursomes, started brightly mat two-up after three but watch Brandt Snedeker roll in birdie putts to eventually prevail 3 and 1.
“We have.a group that have gotten much closer over the past seven days, a group that you could possibly all see again in two years’ time”, said McIlroy.
Team USA captain Davis Love III speaks during the closing ceremonies after the single matches in 41st Ryder Cup Hazeltine National Golf Club.
“It is unfortunate because I think 85 per cent of the people are great and I love playing in America but that 15 per cent is really bad and it makes them look bad”.
Convinced, Woods pushed captain Love to use Reed – who went 3-0-1 as a rookie two years ago – and partner Jordan Spieth in Saturday’s final slot. “There’s a year and a half of planning going into it and the whole backroom team and the support that I’ve had from the European Tour has been fantastic”. McIlroy is Europe’s unquestioned leader, a three-time major victor who is ranked third in the world and one of the best drivers of the ball in golf. “They took me in their arms and let me be a part of it”.
“Just because we got kicked around for so long, you keep losing, you feel like you’ve got to do something different”, said Love.
That leaves Bjorn as the clear favourite to take charge and accept the challenge of winning back the trophy in Paris in 2018.
RYDER CUP veteran Sergio Garcia has said that the behaviour of some fans at Hazeltine left him ashamed for his USA girlfriend.
“We’re not going to win every one, but we’re going to have a better attitude going forward”.
Europe got excellent work in the top of the order from rookies Thomas Pieters and Rafa Cabrera Bello, but the perceived weakness of the bottom half of Darren Clarke’s singles order proved to be all too accurate.
Snedeker finished the week with the Americans’ best record, 3-0. He won the British Open and a silver medal at the Rio Olympics and now has kick-started Europe’s campaign to come back from a big deficit in singles.
Tiger Woods was on that Ryder Cup Task Force geared toward getting players more involved and had strongest influence of any of the five assistants. “We’ve got a good game plan”. Reed answered with a 25-foot birdie to halve the hole, wagged a finger at McIlroy and they shared fist bumps, laughs and pats on the back.
“Setup-wise, this course can be as tough as you want it to be, there’s no doubt about it”, he said.
But with Patrick Reed leading the way, the home side began to turn the tide. Stenson won on 16 when Spieth stepped in a water hazard and his ball moved, prompting him to surrender the hole and the match.
The world number three was also at his hollering and shouting best against Reed but he acknowledged that perhaps he over-did the excessive reactions.