HAVEN, Wis. – The first tee on a Ryder Cup Sunday is usually a place of high tension. But not on this Ryder Cup Sunday.
When Justin Thomas stepped onto the tee for his match with Tyrrell Hatton of England, the home fans in the surrounding grandstand begged Thomas for a beer, as he had done in the same spot on Saturday afternoon when the US team gained an almost insurmountable lead. built up the final phase of the competition.
Thomas, who was preparing to play one of the 12 climactic singles matches on Sunday, smiled but waved off the beer cans on offer.
“Yeah, later,” a fan called from the rambunctious stands. “He’ll catch up on the beers later.”
Yes, he would. And the champagne too.
The American golfers, who have been harassed for most of the last 25 years of Ryder Cup competition, completed a three-day defeat of the normally dominant European team on Sunday to win the event for the third time this century. Although they only needed three and a half points on Sunday to secure the Ryder Cup trophy – each match win is worth one point and a draw is worth half a point – the Americans brutally attacked and captured eight of the possible 12 available. points to win. beats the Europeans, 19-9.
The 19 points are a record in a modern format for the event, set in 1979. The previous record was 18½ points, set by the United States in 1981 and the Europeans in 2004 and 2006.
American Patrick Cantlay, who went unbeaten this year with a decisive 4 and 2 win over Ireland’s Shane Lowry on Sunday, summed up his team’s uncompromising stance during the three-day competition at Whistling Straits, a daunting course along two miles of The shoreline of Lake Michigan in central Wisconsin.
“I woke up this morning and said to the boys, ‘Let’s get 20 points,'” Cantlay said. “This is the next era of Ryder Cup teams for the US, and I wanted to send a message. Everyone in our team has a killer instinct and we will take that into future Cups.”
Collin Morikawa added: “It was imperative that we win this Ryder Cup for American golf, but it’s not just a win, it’s a dominant win, and that’s important.”
The US team deliberately drove a youth movement to victory, with a roster of eight under-30s and six making their Ryder Cup debuts. It was the youngest American team in the event’s 94 years and notably devoid of major golfers, such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, who had defined the squad since the 1990s. But from 1993 to this week, those American teams had lost nine of the 12 Ryder Cups.
With American golf – both competitive and recreational – undergoing a changing of the guard, it was fitting that the American Ryder Cup team was built around nine players in the top 10 of the world men’s golf rankings, who together have an average age of have 26.2. The youngest in the group, Morikawa, 24, was undefeated this year, securing the half point to clinch victory on Sunday afternoon. At about the same time, the oldest on the team, Dustin Johnson, 37, won his match, becoming just the fifth player to have a 5-0 record in a single Ryder Cup.
The skewed score came as a shock to the Europeans, even though the Americans had the stronger lineup of golfers as measured by world rankings and tournament wins this season. Jon Rahm, the top men’s golfer, was the only European player in the world top 10. In addition, the European team relied on a bevy of Ryder Cup veterans, including four who were over the age of 40.
A fiery leader and loyal Ryder Cup, Ian Poulter failed to deliver the emotional boost he normally gave the team in the first two days of team competitions. Although Poulter remained unbeaten in the Ryder Cup singles with his 3 and 2 win over American Tony Finau on Sunday.
“Congratulations to Team USA, they owned each of those Friday and Saturday team sessions,” said Poulter, 45, late Sunday afternoon. “They’ve made it very difficult for us and this week is empty. But we also have good young players, and they will continue this. They are more than capable of coming back next time.”
The European captain, Padraig Harrington, praised his American counterpart, Steve Stricker, who modified the American selection process so that half of his team was named as he saw fit. In the past, most players qualified through a points class based on many months of results. Stricker made it a point to name a squad of players whose personalities intertwine — and whose games have been booming in recent weeks.
“They got their plan right,” Harrington said. “Of course we are disappointed, but the US has outplayed us. You have to see the facts.”
Rory McIlroy, who has played prominent roles in previous European victories, was in tears on Sunday even after winning his singles match against Xander Schauffele. McIlroy struggled during the event’s two opening days.
“I love my teammates so much and I should have done more for them this week,” said McIlroy. “I am extremely disappointed that I have not contributed more to the team.”
McIlroy wiped his eyes, congratulated the Americans and looked forward to a rematch in two years when the Ryder Cup resumes in Italy.
“The more I play at this event, the more I realize it is the best event in golf,” he said. “Simply the best.”
Morikawa’s clinch point was earned in a draw with Viktor Hovland. In addition to Cantlay’s win for the Americans, Thomas defeated Hatton, 4 and 3; Scottie Scheffler defeated Rahm, 4 and 3; Bryson DeChambeau defeated Sergio Garcia, 3 and 2; Brooks Koepka defeated Bernd Wiesberger, 2 and 1; Daniel Berger gathered past Matthew Fitzpatrick, 1-up; and Jordan Spieth and Tommy Fleetwood alike.
Asked about his winning management style, Stricker said: “We took out a lot of fluff and kept things as simple as possible. We put the players together in pairs who helped shape them with their input. And they wanted to come together – they all did.” .”
For example, Stricker insisted that Koepka and DeChambeau, whose creeping social media feud was an overarching storyline on the PGA Tour this year, asked to play together.
“That shows how together our team had become,” Stricker said with a grin.
Although Stricker never linked the two.
But in a show of spirit and camaraderie that can envelop even heated rivals in a record-breaking Ryder Cup appearance, as the US team celebrated its win on Sunday — with copious amounts of alcohol — Koepka and DeChambeau shook hands and briefly hugged.
Only on a Ryder Cup Sunday.