Shaking off three consecutive defeats, the United States recaptured the Ryder Cup on Sunday, ripping Europe 17-11 for their most decisive triumph since 1981 in the biennial team golf showdown.
Cup newcomer Ryan Moore, selected with a captain’s pick only a week earlier, won the last three holes to defeat England’s Lee Westwood 1-up and secure the trophy by giving the Americans an unbeatable edge in a tension-packed test at Hazeltine.
‘To score the clinching point in the Ryder Cup is just incredible,’ Moore said. ‘I can’t digest what just happened. I was trying my hardest not to let my team down.’
Moore was 2-down before an eagle at 16, birdie at 17 and conceded par at 18, admitting, ‘I just wanted to hit a couple of good shots coming in.’
Earlier singles triumphs by Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Brandt Snedeker and rookie Brooks Koepka plus a vital half point from Phil Mickelson had put the US team on the brink.
‘We’ve got a memory and life experience that we will cherish forever,’ said Mickelson, who made 10 birdies in halving with Spain’s Sergio Garcia.
US captain Davis Love, the 2012 captain whose team suffered its greatest collapse in Ryder Cup history to fall, and the task force that spent two years revamping the US Cup program saw their effort rewarded.
‘I’m just proud of these guys,’ Love said. ‘They had pressure on them for the last two years. I’m proud of every one of them. Unbelievable golf.’
The ‘Miracle at Medinah’ was still on the minds of many as the US began putting the painful loss deeper into the past.
‘We did this for our captain. He had a tough go four years ago,’ said US star Jordan Spieth.
The Americans had dropped six of the past seven and eight of the past 10 in the rivalry.
‘We’ve been criticized for eight or 10 years for not coming together,’ Love said. ‘I’m so proud of them. We were kicked around for so long. You realize you have to do something.’
But they were already talking about defending the trophy in France in 2018.
‘Hopefully there’s a change in the Ryder Cup,’ Spieth said. ‘We’re looking forward to going to Paris and trying to win one over there.’
Europe captain Darren Clarke, whose players led early in eight of the 12 concluding singles matches, called the loss ‘incredibly disappointing.’
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