The Americans were simply a team, and they finally won back the Ryder Cup.
And although S ergio Garcia showed incredible nerve to follow Phil Mickelson in for a birdie on the 18th and halve their match – which featured an wonderful 19 birdies – Snedeker’s win over And y Sullivan left the U.S. needing just half a point for victory. They played all four sessions in the first two days, taking on Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson – the Olympic gold and silver medalist, respectively – in three of those matches and winning twice.
Watson said some of the USA team members called him before the biennial event to seek his support. But after being on the wrong side in eight of 10 Ryder Cups he knew what the issues were and had plenty of ideas about how they could be fixed.
Europe, going for its fourth straight victory, never really had a chance. That U.S. team is considered the best team ever assembled with 11 major champions.
“I know the rookies didn’t have the greatest first Ryder Cup but at the same time they will have learned a lot from it and a lot of them will play in Paris in two years’ time”.
Ultimately, this wasn’t about measuring against the past as much as it was building to the future.
After wins for Colin Montgomerie (2010), Jose Maria Olazabal (2012) and Paul McGinley (2014), Clarke is the first losing captain since Nick Faldo at Valhalla in 2008. He made sure everyone felt like they were an important part of the team.
“The pressure started when some dumb ass opened his mouth two years ago in the media center”, Mickelson told reporters at the team press conference after victory in Minnesota.
In a week which began with the passing of Arnold Palmer, the sport played the greatest tribute to his memory in engaging in a golfing contest full of respect between both teams and riddled with moments of enormous quality.
The golf was equally great. Reed squared the match by driving the fifth green to 8 feet for eagle, and he kept the tee until the 18th. Reed chipped across the par-3 17th green and lost the hole with a bogey, but sank a five-foot birdie putt on 18 to win. Showed fleeting glimpses of his best form but was comfortably beaten by rookie Rafa Cabrera-Bello in the singles, which rather summed up his week.
Sweden’s Stenson beat Jordan Spieth, Pieters of Belgium topped JB Holmes and Spain’s Cabrera-Bello defeated PGA Championship victor Jimmy Walker – all by 3 and 2. By then, it was ominous. 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. “He loves golf so much, he’s passionate about it”.
The U.S. task force looked in detail at every aspect of the Ryder Cup and tried to learn lessons from Europe’s winning blueprint.
On a brilliantly sunny day, the United States side capitalised on their greater depth to close out victory as they faced four of Europe’s six rookies in the late matches, winning all of them.
Team USA broke Europe’s stranglehold on the Ryder Cup, but it’s all for “naught” if the Americans don’t build a hegemony of their own, according to veteran Phil Mickelson.
The Americans have not won in Europe since 1993 at the Belfry when Watson had been the captain.