Five key moments as USA win the Ryder Cup

Three days of drama: The Ryder Cup.

The United States won the Ryder Cup for the first time in four attempts after beating Europe 17-11 at Hazeltine.

Here’s a look back at some of the key moments of the week.

WILLETT WOES

Europe’s Masters champion Danny Willett awoke on Wednesday to a media storm created by comments from his brother Peter in a UK golf magazine which criticised American fans for being, among other things, “cretins”. Willett moved quickly to distance himself from the remarks and while it could not be proved to have had a direct effect, he played poorly in Thursday’s practice and lost his place for Friday’s foursomes.

EARLY SLIP-UP

Rory McIlroy and rookie Andy Sullivan were twice two up against Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler in the second foursomes match on the opening day, the second time with just four holes remaining. The American pair were all over the place and Europe’s duo should have closed out a victory but somehow allowed their opponents back into it with Mickelson and Fowler winning three holes in a row as the match finished at the 17th.

POOR PICKS

With Europe having fought back to 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 down by Saturday lunchtime there was real hope they could complete a turnaround by the end of the day. However, captain Darren Clarke sent out Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, two of his most experienced but out-of-form players, in the middle two fourball matches. Westwood and Willett managed to keep themselves in the game and even gave themselves a chance of an important half at the 18th but Westwood missed a two-foot putt. Kaymer was paired with Sergio Garcia, who had enjoyed an emotionally draining morning with compatriot Rafa Cabrera Bello who was inexplicably rested. Garcia won three holes, Kaymer none, as they lost 2&1 to Mickelson and Matt Kuchar.

STAR TURN

Patrick Reed showed last time out how much he enjoyed the Ryder Cup but this time he led from the front, impressively for a player who has not yet won a major. His battle with McIlroy on the final day was thrilling, brilliant golf and his victory was more than deserved as he finished as his side’s leading points scorer with 3 1/2. But Reed provided much more than final-day quality, having carried two-time major winner Jordan Spieth for the last few holes on Saturday to beat Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson and he barely missed a putt over three days.

BRILLIANT BATTLE

Match four in the singles pitted two veterans against each other in Mickelson and Garcia. The latter has a great record in Ryder Cups, the former not so much, but the quality of their golf was staggering. Mickelson carded 10 birdies in 18 holes, Garcia was bogey-free in making nine birdies. It was fitting both holed birdie putts on the last green for a half. A true Ryder Cup classic.

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Top five 2016 Ryder Cup points scorers

Top-scorers: McIlroy, Snedeker, Koepka, Reed and Pieters.

The 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine is over and USA have claimed glory having led the contest from start-to-finish after a dominant start on Day One.

However, it was Europe’s Thomas Pieters who claimed the most individual points having won four of his five contests—despite having been one of the European side whitewashed on the first morning.

USA’s Brandt Snedeker was the only player to finish with a 100 percent record, winning all of his three encounters, while Spaniard Rafa Cabrero-Belo was Europe’s best percentage contributor with 2.5 points from his three outings.

One of the highlights of the final day, meanwhile, was in form duo Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed going toe-to-toe in the singles with the American eventually finishing victorious to end with 3.5 points himself. The result ensured McIlroy ended with three wins from his five outings.

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McIlroy urges European fans not to retaliate at Ryder Cup 2018

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Rory McIlroy insists there will be no “retaliation” from home fans in 2018 when Europe attempt to regain the Ryder Cup which was lost in emphatic fashion at Hazeltine.

The United States won the biennial contest for the first time since 2008 with a 17-11 victory in front of raucous crowds in Minnesota, Davis Love’s side inflicting Europe’s heaviest defeat for 35 years.

McIlroy bore the brunt of the heckling over the first two days of competition and ultimately asked for one man who shouted vulgar abuse to be ejected, with Ryder Cup officials saying on Sunday that any disruptive fans would be made to leave.

“First and foremost, we wouldn’t encourage any sort of retaliation,” McIlroy said of the next contest at Le Golf National in Paris. “That’s just not who we are. That’s not what we do.

“We want to play this tournament in the manner in which it should be played. And between us, the 12 players and vice-captains and captains on this team and between the 12 players on the US team, it was played in the manner in which it should have been played.

“We have no problems with anyone on either team, and really, it’s just a very small minority; 95 per cent of the people out there, the American gallery are absolutely fantastic, they really are.

“But this week, at times, it went a little bit too far. But you know, that’s to be expected. When you are teeing off at 7:35 in the morning and you’re seeing people on the first tee with a beer in their hand and matches aren’t finishing until 4:30, 5:00 in the afternoon, I know I would be done at that point. I don’t know what I would be saying!

“So it has to be expected. A couple of people out there crossed the line, but we’ll take it on the chin. We’ll move on and we’ll definitely not encourage anything like that to happen in France next time around.”

Captain Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood were keen to emphasise that American players and vice-captains tried to maintain order during the matches, Westwood adding: “Fair play to Bubba Watson and the two lads that myself and Danny (Willett) were playing yesterday afternoon (JB Holmes and Ryan Moore).

“They were trying to cut all that off and they were doing their bit to stop that as well.

“And on a good point, I got called a turd yesterday, which is the first time since I was about 12 years old, so it made me feel young again!”

Willett came in for particular abuse after a magazine article written by his brother which expressed anti-American sentiments was published, the Masters champion failing to win a point from three matches.

Asked to sum up his Ryder Cup debut, Willett said: “S***. I can only be honest.”

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