Team Europe made it three in a row as they defeated the USA 16 ½-11 ½ in the 40th Ryder Cup on Sunday afternoon.
It was down to the rookie, Jamie Donaldson to win the trophy. His approach shot on the 15th was two feet from the hole with his opponent Keegan Bradley’s ball lay 20 feet away.
“Pick it up. They’ve won,” said captain Tom Watson. Bradley obliged and sent the crowd and the waiting team members into a flurry. With this victory it means that Europe have won eight of the last ten editions of this tournament.
Donaldson the hero
The Welshman was one of the top performers this weekend amassing three points out of four. His partnership with Lee Westwood, the most experienced player in this Ryder Cup, was a great call. It gave the rookie the confidence he needed and helped him deliver much needed points. Their only defeat as a pairing was to Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan on the Saturday morning fourball.
When the draw was made for the singles session, Donaldson versus Keegan Bradley stuck out. Bradley, an undefeated rookie in 2012, had lost his first match with his partner Phil Mickelson on Friday afternoon and was surprisingly left out on Saturday. Some would have said this match would go to the wire. That wasn’t the case. Donaldson had taken to this tournament like a duck to water and went on to score a five under par in 15 holes. His game couldn’t have been more perfect with the approach on the 15th showing his qualities as a top player and a future Ryder Cup staple.
McIlroy and McDowell set the mark
There had been much talk in the lead up to this event about the relationship between Rory McIlroy and his fellow countryman, Graeme McDowell after the former brought his friend into a legal case against his former management company. On the 17th hole, after Graeme McDowell had just defeated the highly rated Jordan Spieth, it was McIlroy who was there to congratulate him after his victory. The two embraced as both had just recorded impressive and very important points for Europe.
McDowell was first out this morning. He was one over going through the front nine but his opponent Spieth had been impressive there and notched up a lead of three. That all changed though on the back nine. McDowell knew he had to get points on the board and he made his move. He birdied the 11th and 15th while the American collapsed and bogeyed the 10th, 12th and 13th handing McDowell the victory on the 17th.
McIlroy on the other hand, was on fire, decimating his friend Rickie Fowler 5&4. It was the perfect display from the World number 1, earning his third point out of a possible five. The opening three holes of birdie, eagle and birdie were immense and showed the talent of man who won back-to-back majors this summer.
The morning was not that rosy though as the leaderboard was dominated by the red of USA with the likes of Spieth and Patrick Reed leading the way. However, once McIlroy secured his victory followed by McDowell it was all Europe.
As for the Americans, their four victories came thanks to Patrick Reed, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar and Jimmy Walker defeating Henrik Stenson, Stephen Gallacher, Thomas Bjorn and Lee Westwood respectively.
Reed in particular was really fired up. After being heckled on the opening tee, the rookie fired back when after draining his par putt on the 7th, putting his finger to his lips to quiet the crowd. Boos rained down on the young Texan.
“What in the world is he doing? He’s going to incite a riot,” said golfing legend Jack Nicklaus on Sky Sports after the Reed incident. It helped Reed initially as he took the lead again on the 8th. However, after going 2 up on the 12th, the Swede hit back and after tying the match on the 15th, he suffered a narrow defeat on the 18th to the brash American.
All the talk now will be to 2016, where Hazeltine National Golf Course in Minnesota will host the 41st Ryder Cup. There will also be a lot of speculation as to who can lead America to their first Ryder Cup win since 2008. One man mentioned for the captain’s job is the man who led that last winning American side, Paul Azinger. He has already received the backing of one of the top tour players, Jason Dufner and expect many to follow suit.
Questions will be asked about the possibility of Paul McGinley continuing in the role. The European players spoke highly about the Dubliner with Sergio Garcia stating he took a modern approach to the captaincy.
However, all of that is for another day. As for now, Europe reign again and players, staff and fans alike will be partying well into the night as they celebrate their biggest winning margin since 2006 at The K Club.
Sunday Singles Results
Match 1: Graeme McDowell def. Jordan Spieth 2&1
Match 2: Patrick Reed def. Henrik Stenson 1UP
Match 3: Rory McIlroy def. Rickie Fowler 5&4
Match 4: Justin Rose A/S Hunter Mahan
Match 5: Phil Mickelson def. Stephen Gallacher 3&1
Match 6: Martin Kaymer def. Bubba Watson 4&2
Match 7: Matt Kuchar def. Thomas Bjorn 4&3
Match 8: Sergio Garcia def. Jim Furyk 1UP
Match 9: Ian Poulter A/S Webb Simpson
Match 10: Jamie Donaldson def. Keegan Bradley 4&3
Match 11: Jimmy Walker def. Lee Westwood 3&2
Match 12: Victor Dubuisson A/S Zach Johnson
Europe: 16 ½ USA: 11 ½