United States deliver dominant win over Europe to clinch Ryder Cup and usher in 'new era'

Hosts run away with a 19-9 victory at Whistling Straits for the largest ever margin of victory in the current 28-point format

The United States completed a dominant and record-breaking win over Europe to win the Ryder Cup on Sunday in what feels like a shift in the balance of power at the biennial team golf tournament.

The US arrived at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin with both their youngest team - with an average age of just over 29 - and highest ranked team (8.9) and they lived up to all expectations to deliver a 19-9 victory having held an 11-5 lead heading into the singles.

It was the largest ever margin of victory in the current 28-point Ryder Cup format, which began in 1979, and just the second time in six competitions, and third in 10, that the US had claimed golf's most coveted team title.

With half the 12-man US team comprised of rookies, there were concerns as to whether the newcomers would be able to survive in the gladiatorial arena that is the Ryder Cup against a European squad packed with experienced veterans.

But with two-time major winner Collin Morikawa, PGA player of the year Patrick Cantlay, and Olympic champion Xander Schauffele - all in the top five in the world rankings - this was not a regular collection of rookies.

"This is a new era for USA golf," US captain Steve Stricker said. "They are young. They come with a lot of passion, a lot of energy, a lot of game. They are just so good."

While Europe had four players in their 40s the United States had none, with all but three members in their 20s.

And the Americans were not just young but talented, the debutantes making a major contribution on the scoreboard going 14-4-3.

Fittingly it was the youngest member of the squad, 24-year-old Morikawa securing the winning point.

"We do not like to lose," said world No 2 Dustin Johnson, who led the way with a maximum five points. "We had a lot of rookies on the Ryder Cup, but it didn't feel like they were rookies ... and they didn't play like they were rookies. They stepped up to the plate and the all wanted it."

Having romped to a commanding advantage after the foursome and fourball sessions on Friday and Saturday, the Americans entered singles needing just 3-1/2 points to reach the target required to clinch the gold trophy.

Morikawa 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 United States a deciding half-point.

The reigning Open champion 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. "The guys pulled through; we didn't let up."

Whistling Straits provided a stunning backdrop and perfect party spot for 40,000 mostly flag-waving American fans, who flooded into the links-style course 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.

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 fight back.

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

"Incredibly proud to be a part of this team, to be a teammate of all these guys," an emotional McIlroy said. "We've had a great time.

"I've been extremely disappointed that I haven't contributed for more the team. I'm glad I got a point on the board today for them."

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 fourballs, failed to fire.

Patrick Cantlay defeated Lowry 4&2 and Scottie Scheffler slayed Rahm 4&3 as Europe's leading player finally ran out of steam.

Big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau, the crowd favourite with his monster drives, pounded Garcia into submission 3&2 to leave the United States 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.

"They got it right, whatever their plan was, they got it right this week," said Harrington. "They would have been tough to beat at the best of times, let alone when they are at top form. It's a great win for them."

Updated: September 27th 2021, 8:28 AM
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