Five reasons why Europe regained the Ryder Cup with dominant win over United States

Phil Casey 1/10/2018
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Europe regained the Ryder Cup with a seven-point victory over the United States at Le Golf National in Paris on Sunday.

Here, we look at where the 42nd contest was won and lost.

Home advantage

Le Golf National has hosted the European Tour’s French Open every year since 1991, with the exception of 1999 and 2001, and Europe’s players simply knew the course far better than their opponents.

Only Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Bubba Watson had played the course in competition and only Thomas – who was the top American points scorer – managed to make the cut.

In contrast Europe could boast the last two French Open champions in Alex Noren and Tommy Fleetwood and captain Thomas Bjorn made sure the set-up favoured his side and punished the bigger-hitting, but more wayward, Americans.

Wild card choices

2018 Ryder Cup - Singles Matches

Both captains had four wild card selections and Jim Furyk’s were little short of disastrous. Tony Finau did well on his debut with two wins, including a thrashing of Fleetwood in the singles, but Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau failed to earn a single point between them.

Bjorn’s selection of veterans Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter was not universally popular, but the quartet contributed 9.5 points and Garcia surpassed Nick Faldo as the top scorer in Ryder Cup history.

Team chemistry

2018 Ryder Cup - Morning Fourball Matches

The much-vaunted “Task Force” set up after the loss at Gleneagles helped the Americans win back the trophy at Hazeltine in 2016 and seemingly form a more cohesive unit, but the cracks again began to show in Paris.

Furyk’s decision to split up the successful pairing of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed did allow Spieth to win three points from four matches with good friend Thomas, but Reed lost both matches with Woods and Reed’s wife Justine took to social media to suggest that Spieth, rather than her husband, was behind the split.

In contrast, the “bromance” between Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari resulted in a record four wins and Stenson and Justin Rose renewed their winning partnership as well.

Better golf

2018 Ryder Cup - Previews

For all the talk about course set-up, wild cards and pairings, the Ryder Cup ultimately comes down to which team plays the best golf and, apart from the opening session, Europe were deserving winners.

In the foursomes session in which the United States were whitewashed for the first time ever, their four pairs were a combined 11 over par while Europe’s were four under in tough, windy conditions.

Mickelson conceding to Molinari after dumping his tee shot on the 16th into the water summed up the poor performance of the American team as a whole.

American arrogance?

2018 Ryder Cup - Previews

Much was made before the start of how the American team was the strongest ever assembled, with an average world ranking of 11.2 and stuffed with major champions like Woods, Mickelson, Reed, Koepka, Spieth, Thomas, Webb Simpson, Watson and Dustin Johnson, who also happens to be the world number one.

And while they would never say so in public, perhaps those players believed the hype which led one American journalist to say they would “roll to victory in Paris” and set the stage for more than a decade of “blowouts” in the biennial contest.

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A look back at the Ryder Cup in numbers as Europe beat the United States 17.5-10.5

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Europe reclaimed the Ryder Cup with a 17.5-10.5 victory over the United States at Le Golf National in Paris.

Here, we look at the contest in numbers:

0: Three American players failed to register a point – Bryson DeChambeau, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

4: Tommy Fleetwood scored four points, a joint-record for a European rookie, equalling the performance of Thomas Pieters two years ago.

5: Francesco Molinari scored five points, the best performance ever by a European player in the Ryder Cup.

6: The European pair of Alex Noren and Sergio Garcia, and the American partnership of Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, both managed to run up triple-bogey sixes on the par-three second hole in their foursomes match on Saturday. It was an unlikely way to see a hole halved.

9: Europe have won nine of the last 12 Ryder Cups.

12: All 12 members of the European team contributed at least a point.

Making history: Sergio Garcia.

Making history: Sergio Garcia.

18: Only six of the 28 matches over the three days reached the 18th hole.

22: After losing twice, Mickelson has now lost more matches than any other player in Ryder Cup history. Woods has now lost 21 after four defeats this week.

25.5: Points now scored by Sergio Garcia in his Ryder Cup career, a new record, surpassing the previous mark of 25 set by Sir Nick Faldo.

6,900: Number of seats in the grandstand behind the first tee.

7,000: People worked on the event at Le Golf National throughout the week, including 1,050 marshals and 650 police officers.

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Triumphant Europe skipper Thomas Bjorn hails Ryder Cup winners as 'best team room he's been in'

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Captain Thomas Bjorn hailed the victorious European team as the best he had been involved with after they reclaimed the Ryder Cup in Paris.

Bjorn’s team wrapped up a 17.5-10.5 victory over the United States by scoring seven-and-a-half points in Sunday’s singles session at Le Golf National.

It was Bjorn’s eighth taste of the Ryder Cup, having previously played in the competition three times and served as a vice-captain on four occasions.

The Dane said: “This is the best team room I’ve ever been in. It was calm, it was determined, it was focused, it was fun.

“Everything that this Ryder Cup was is what I think the Ryder Cup should be about for a European team.

“How do you sum that up? I felt all along that this was a good group of guys. The way they looked after each other and have been there for each other throughout the whole week made captaincy pretty easy.

“The hardest thing about the captaincy was that there were so many guys playing well, and being in such good frame of mind, that I wanted to get everybody on the golf course, but you can’t.”

Europe came into the final day holding a 10-6 lead and their ultimate margin of victory looked convincing, but the United States did make them battle hard.
They claimed three points early on to move within one and, at that stage, what proved a pivotal match between Jon Rahm and Tiger Woods was in the balance.

Bjorn said: “There was a little moment in the middle of it all where I was getting a little bit worried, but then everybody stood up and did their bit.

“I can’t describe how I feel about these 12. They have been amazing from day one and I’m just so proud of them.”

All 12 members of Bjorn’s team contributed at least a point over the three days.

Bjorn said: “That doesn’t happen very often. The whole team has been part of this.

“We worked as a team and we knew we were up against very strong opponents, but we went out on the golf course and believed in ourselves and what we stand for as a team.”

Bjorn attracted some criticism over his wildcard selections in the build-up to the tournament after opting for experience over form in, most notably, the case of Sergio Garcia. Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson were his other picks.

Bjorn said: “I’m not very good at adding up, but I’m sure if I put these numbers together, they make the difference in the score. I think I got it right and they have been fantastic.”

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