Reuters

USA reclaim Ryder Cup with near-perfect final day performance against Europe

USA reclaim Ryder Cup with near-perfect final day performance against Europe

02/10/2016 at 22:12Updated 03/10/2016 at 07:21

The USA won the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2008 as they produced a superb display on the final afternoon at Hazeltine, winning 17-11.

Ryan Moore sank the critical putt against Lee Westwood, winning his match and sending the score to 15-10 in the hosts' favour.

"It's incredible, to be where I was a week ago and to then clinch the winning point for the Ryder Cup is incredible," said Moore, who was the late captain's pick for the USA after a fine performance in the FedEx Cup play-offs less than a week ago.

"There's nothing like it and there's nothing better," he added. "I want to be a part of it every time."

It wrapped up a perfect afternoon for the home side, giving captain Davis Love III revenge four years after he presided over the 'Miracle at Medinah', in which the home side lost a 10-6 lead in the final day's singles.

USA celebrate - Ryder Cup 2016 - Jimmy Walker of the United States and Team USA vice-captain Bubba Watson celebrate winning the Ryder Cup during the single matches in 41st Ryder Cup Hazeltine National Golf Club

USA celebrate - Ryder Cup 2016 - Jimmy Walker of the United States and Team USA vice-captain Bubba Watson celebrate winning the Ryder Cup during the single matches in 41st Ryder Cup Hazeltine National Golf ClubReuters

The meaning of the victory was clear to see as Love and US vice-captain Bubba Watson shared tears and a bear hug after the result.

Tiger Woods, another of the US vice-captains, also hugged Love after the result.

Woods, however, has not played on a winning team since 1999, having missed both this year's event and the US victory in 2008, which came shortly after one of his several knee surgeries.

The visiting team hoped that the lightning which struck at Medinah would strike again at Hazeltine, and early on as Europeans went ahead in half a dozen matches it seemed that something could be in the air.

But the momentum swung back, and the USA took charge of the day - wrapping up a brilliant week's golf from the American team.

The tone for the day was set in the top match between Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed, respectively the best performers for the Europe and USA teams during the foursomes and fourballs.

The duo both roared at the gallery and traded birdies throughout an unforgettable encounter, but it was Reed who came through on the 18th to win.

Final day of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine - Patrick Reed v Rory McIlroy

Final day of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine - Patrick Reed v Rory McIlroyReuters

The European team had earlier won the first point of the day through Henrik Stenson, however, a 3&2 winner over Jordan Spieth, while further wins from Thomas Pieters (3&2 over JB Holmes) and Rafa Cabrera Bello (3&2 over Jimmy Walker) got the Europeans to within a point of the USA at one point.

But almost all the rest of the matches all went the way of the hosts, with Rickie Fowler edging a tight match against Justin Rose in what proved a key encounter.

Stars of the day were Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia, producing 19 birdies between them as they halved one of the finest singles matches in Ryder Cup history.

That match will be forgotten, however, given that Moore's heroics - winning the final three holes in a row to beat Westwood - secured the Ryder Cup itself a few minutes later.

USA will be thrilled at having won the Ryder Cup for just the second time this millennium.

For the European team, there may be one or two recriminations, with Darren Clarke's captain's picks struggling, with the notable exception of record-breaking rookie Thomas Pieters.

One thing is certain: the match in Paris in two years' time now can't come around soon enough.

"This week the best team won," said European skipper Darren Clarke.

"Some of the scoring has been off the charts... this week the Americans have putted that little bit better, and that proved to be the difference..."

Henrik Stenson - 2016 Ryder Cup singles

Henrik Stenson - 2016 Ryder Cup singlesReuters

Asked if he would changed anything, Clarke said no - with one exception.

"The only one that I might have changed was yesterday morning, having to name the fourball teams before one or two of the foursomes matches had finished up," he said, referring to the poor final fourball session which left Europe chasing a three point deficit.

The margin of victory suggests that even a change to that afternoon's fourball result would have made little difference. Europe had their chances in the singles but failed to make the most of the opportunities on the greens - whereas the Americans putted beautifully throughout Sunday.

As ever, however, the Ryder Cup became as much about emotion as it did golf - and as the tears rolled down the faces of the joyous Americans, the event seems more competitive now than it has done in a generation.

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