Francesco Molinari leads the way for Europe in our Ryder Cup player ratings

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Europe’s finest golfers, sparked by a record-setting victory for Italy’s Francesco Molinari, recaptured the Ryder Cup on Sunday, denying a dramatic United States fightback to complete an emotional 17.5-10.5 upset victory.

Reigning British Open champion Molinari defeated five-time major winner Phil Mickelson 4 and 2 as Europe took an insurmountable edge over the favoured Americans in the biennial team showdown at Le Golf National.

Here, we rate the 12 players from the winning team.

Paul Casey
Played: 3. W: 1 L: 1 H: 1. Points 1.5

Ten years after his last appearance the Englishman’s selection as a wild card was fully justified. Was brilliant on the first day and took a significant half-point in the singles from the player of the year Brooks Koepka. 7/10

Tommy Fleetwood
P: 5 W: 4 L: 1 H: 0. Pts 4
Partnership with Francesco Molinari was the cornerstone for Europe’s win, winning four points from four matches. Took its toll in the singles and it was a shame he lost that winning record. 9

Sergio Garcia
P: 4 W: 3 L: 1 H: 0. Pts 3
Marshalled rookie Alex Noren superbly in their opening match in Friday’s foursomes and led from the front in Saturday’s fourballs. Was ahead from the first hole in singles and his history-making point was a deserved reward for a Ryder Cup giant. 8

Tyrrell Hatton
P: 3 W: 1: L: 2 H: 0. Pts 1
Baptism of fire against United States’ top pair of Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth on Friday morning but did not disgrace himself. Reunited with Casey to win on Saturday morning but did not play his best golf. 6

Rory McIlroy
P: 5 W: 2 L: 3 H: 0. Pts 2
Struggled with his game, particularly putting, and was out of sorts on Friday morning but bounced back in the afternoon and performed well with Garcia in Saturday’s fourballs. However, he looked spent after lunch and despite keeping a bogey off his card for 17 holes of singles golf messed up the last.6

Francesco Molinari
P: 5: W: 5 L: 0 H: 0. Pts 5
The Open champion backed up his recently-acquired major status with a majestic performance. His trademark consistency, with the occasional flash of brilliance, saw him become the first European to win all five points. and he was superb with Fleetwood. 10

Alex Noren
P: 3 W: 2 L: 1. H: 0. Pts 2
The quiet man of the team was almost forgotten in the wild celebrations following confirmation of Europe’s win, but long after the result was decided he showed his professionalism by holing a superb pressure putt on the last for a satisfying singles point. 7

Thorbjorn Olesen
P: 2. W: 1 L: 1 H: 0. Pts 1
Forgotten man of the team, was benched for three sessions after Friday fourballs defeat alongside McIlroy. However, showed up on Sunday with the most stunning win of the week, dispatching Spieth 5&4. 7

Ian Poulter
P: 4: W: 2 L: 2 H: 0. Pts 2
Not the influential contribution of the past but saw off world number one Dustin Johnson with three birdies in his last five holes. 7

Jon Rahm
P3: W: 1 L: 2 H: 0. Pts 1
The rookie struggled over the first two days but his point in the singles after holding off Tiger Woods, having never been behind in the match, was psychologically important at a time when USA’s challenge was gaining momentum. 7

Justin Rose
P: 4: W: 2: L: 2 H: 0. Pts 2
His reunion with Henrik Stenson in foursomes was a successful but he just could not get going on Sunday and suffered a disappointing defeat to Webb Simpson. 7

Henrik Stenson
P: 3 W: 3 L: 0 H: 0. Pts 3
Unerring consistency from the Swede, a captain’s pick for his experience, who dovetailed brilliantly again with Rose. Demolished Bubba Watson 5&4 in a ruthless singles performance. 9

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I'm one of the reasons we lost Ryder Cup, says Tiger Woods

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A despondent Tiger Woods admitted that he “was a contributing factor” as to why the United States surrendered the Ryder Cup to Europe, after losing all four of his matches at Le Golf National.

The 14-time major champion suffered only his second singles defeat in the match-play showdown with a 2 and 1 loss to Jon Rahm as Europe charged to victory.

His miserable Ryder Cup record now stands at 13 wins, 21 losses and three halves.

“It’s disappointing because I went 0-4, and that’s four points to the European team,” admitted Woods.

“I’m one of the contributing factors to why we lost the Cup, and it’s not a lot of fun.

“It’s frustrating because we came here, I thought we were all playing pretty well, and I just didn’t perform at the level that I had been playing, and just got behind early in the matches and never got back.”

The former world number one headed to Paris in high spirits after capping a magnificent comeback season from injury with his first title since 2013 at the Tour Championship last week.

But it all went badly wrong, losing twice in the fourballs alongside Patrick Reed and once in the foursomes with Bryson DeChambeau — all defeats coming at the hands of Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari.

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Piece of cake as Max Verstappen marks 21st birthday with Sochi charge

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Max Verstappen marked his 21st birthday Sunday with a memorable drive from 19th on the grid to finish fifth for Red Bull in the Russian Grand Prix.

The Dutchman, who has declared he wants to win four world titles in the future, said he felt happy with not only his result, but also the style of his charge through the field at the Sochi Autodrom.

“My goal was always to be P5, but (with) the way in which we did it today, I can be very pleased,” he said. “But I was not sure about it before the race.”

Verstappen started at the back of the grid after picking up penalties for engine rules infringements and said he had rejected the chance to taste a birthday cake baked for him before the race.

“I think I will have some now, though,” he said, once the race, won by Mercedes’ world champion Lewis Hamilton, was over.

Red Bull team chief Christian Horner praised the young prodigy, who had the longest spell as race leader, for his maturity.

“It was a pity he had to stop, but it was mandatory,” he said referring to Verstappen”s late pit stop for new tyres when he was leading the field.

“We had a car that was very good on its tyres,” said Horner.

“There was no sign of any blistering on the soft tyres and it would have been nice to start in normal grid positions.”

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