Five key moments as USA win the Ryder Cup

Sport360 staff 09:38 03/10/2016
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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