Europe 17½ USA 10½: Molinari magic seals Ryder Cup victory
Italian inspires as Europe regain the trophy at Le Golf National
Francesco Molinari scored an overall fifth point to seal a 17½-10½ Ryder Cup victory for Team Europe against Team USA at Le Golf National.
The Italian, this year’s Open champion, had a 100% winning record in France after he and playing partner Tommy Fleetwood won both fourball and foursome matches on day one and day two.
Europe went into the 12 Sunday singles matches 10-6 ahead and needing four and a half points to regain the trophy. It was fitting that after such a superb display that Molinari beat Phil Mickelson 4&2 to set off wild celebrations among the European fans and players.
‘Means more than a major’
Speaking to Sky Sports after securing his point against Mickelson, Molinari said: “It means so much more than majors, more than anything. You know, it’s hard not to get emotional when you think about the other players, the vice captains, Thomas [Bjorn], the wives.
“It’s been an incredible week. Obviously they had probably the strongest team ever and were just so good. It’s been amazing, and today, it was just hard to get the energy. It’s been a long week, playing five matches, but you know, again, I stepped it up when I had to and you know, that putt on 14 was great. Just amazing.”
Team Europe won seven of the 12 matches on Sunday thanks to Jon Rahm, Ian Poulter, Thorbjorn Olesen, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Alex Noren and Molinari. With Rahm and Olesen winning, this meant all 12 European players put at least one point on the board over the three days.
The final word went to Noren who sank a sensational long putt on the 18th to seal the point in the last singles match against Bryson DeChambeau.
The Americans came to Paris with one of their best-ever teams and were big favourites to retain the Ryder Cup. However, going into the final day four points behind was too big a deficit to overcome. They did win points on Sunday through Justin Thomas, Webb Simpson, Tony Finau and Patrick Reed while Brooks Koepka secured half a point in his all-square match against Europe’s Paul Casey.
How the captains and players reacted
Team Europe reaction
Thomas Bjorn, European captain: “We’re very proud today. They have been amazing, the 12 of them have just been unbelievable. The way they bonded with each other, there were things they had done, and how they just get together and do a proper job; they were determined. They just set out to do a job themselves, and I mean, it was an easy job to guide them in that direction. They wanted this desperately, it’s all down to 12 players.”
Ian Poulter, “The Postman” delivered with a 2 up win over world No.1 Dustin Johnson: “I think the fans have been amazing. You know, this is a special team. There’s a young bunch of kids. I was fortunate to get a pick as an old man to come and play, and you know what, I helped out a little bit and these boys were incredible. To bring this trophy back, to keep that run going the way we have, you know, we’re a strong force in Europe. We knew we were the underdogs and that made us even more determined this week.”
Sergio Garcia became Europe’s all-time leading Ryder Cup points scorer after his 2&1 win against Rickie Fowler: “I don’t usually cry, but I couldn’t help it. What a week. It’s been a rough year, but you know, we fought hard. Obviously so thankful for Thomas to pick me and believe in me, and you know, so happy, so happy to get the cup back here in Paris and in Europe and for everyone to enjoy it as much as they did.”
Tommy Fleetwood, who won four points for Europe over the three days but lost 6&4 to Tony Finau in the singles: “It’s all well and good being in it but the goal is to be on a winning Ryder Cup team. You know, I’ve spent time in a bubble this week with Ryder Cup legends and guys that are playing in it for the first time, and you know, it couldn’t have gotten any better. This is it. This is as good as it gets right now.”
Henrik Stenson, won beat Bubba Watson 5&4: “I was one of the guys who was there to lose it two years ago [17-11 at Hazeltine], so that little bit of extra revenge makes it feel even sweeter. We’ve had such a good week together and feel really honoured to play with these guys. They have done amazing. We’ve had so much fun and to come out here in front of the home crowds to deliver, that’s very special.”
Tyrrell Hatton, who lost 3&2 to Patrick Reed: “On a personal note, it’s disappointing to not help the team today, but looking at the bigger picture, it’s been an honour to be part of the team. I’m absolutely delighted to be on the winning team, the guys have been fantastic from the team room to the golf course and it’s very special to be part of it. Nothing comes close to it, not even a major. The support you get walking onto every green, it’s so loud.”
Rory McIlroy, who lost his singles match against Justin Thomas: “The fact that all 12 players got points validates what Thomas Bjorn has tried to do with the team. Thomas has been great, constantly in contact with those who were involved or were on the fringes, it has been a bit of a love-in over the past week on the WhatsApp group and I think the friendships forged this week will last a lifetime. The party tonight will be extra special.”
Team USA reaction
American skipper Jim Furyk: “I’m proud of these guys. They fought. They came out today, and there was a time this morning where it looked like we had a chance on those first five or six matches, put heat on Europe, and they fought. My hat’s off to Europe. They played well again. When it got tough, they turned it around. Hats off to Thomas [Bjorn]. He was a great captain. His 12 team members played well.”
Tiger Woods, who failed to win a point all weekend and lost 2&1 to Europe’s Jon Rahm: “Well, it’s disappointing because I went 0-4, and that’s four points to the European team. And 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.”
Rickie Fowler, who lost 2&1 to Sergio Garcia: “We left it all out there. The Ryder Cup is the best week in your career you have to embrace them as much as you can. You can assume I’m probably not feeling the best but it’s been a great week here. I’ve been impressed with the turn-out in France. The fans in Paris have been great fun to be around. When people boo you it’s kind of fun being on the receiving side. Everything has been great. The locals have been very welcoming. The European fans are respectful knowledgeable fans. They rub us a little bit but that’s part of sport.”
Sunday singles results
- Rory McIlroy (Europe) lost to Justin Thomas (USA) 1 up
- Paul Casey (Europe) vs. Brooks Koepka (USA) A/S
- Justin Rose (Europe) lost to Webb Simpson (USA) 3&2
- Jon Rahm (Europe) beat Tiger Woods (USA) 2&1
- Tommy Fleetwood (Europe) lost to Tony Finau (USA) 6&4
- Ian Poulter (Europe) beat Dustin Johnson (USA) 2 up
- Thorbjorn Olesen (Europe) beat Jordan Spieth (USA) 5&4
- Sergio Garcia (Europe) beat Rickie Fowler (USA) 2&1
- Francesco Molinari (Europe) beat Phil Mickelson (USA) 4&2
- Tyrrell Hatton (Europe) lost to Patrick Reed (USA) 3&2
- Henrik Stenson (Europe) beat Bubba Watson (USA) 5&4
- Alex Noren (Europe) beat Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 1 up