Europe beat United States to reclaim Ryder Cup

US has reason to hope despite digging massive Ryder Cup hole

Modal Trigger Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods. EPA

"They (the Europeans) do that better than us".

This was a predictable result.

The European teammates had varying fortunes on Saturday morning - McIlroy winning with Sergio Garcia while Poulter and Jon Rahm lost in the final fourballs - but they were hoping to recreate their magic from Friday afternoon.

Third-ranked Brooks Koepka, this year's US Open and PGA Championship victor, halved with England's Paul Casey in a match neither led by more than 1-up.

Sure enough, Mickelson went 0-2 in France and was benched all day Saturday. Jordan Spieth is an abysmal 0-6 in singles matches in the Ryder Cup and Presidents cup combined, a statistic that is extremely confusing.

England's Ian Poulter, Europe's wildcard talisman, birdied the 18th hole to beat world number one Dustin Johnson 2-up and put Europe on the brink of victory. Together, the two formed a formidable pairing during the Ryder Cup in 2016, but both struggled this year with their new partners. And Tony Finau, who shined in his rookie debut, showed he has what it takes to be a team player. Didn't win a match, and that hurts.

OK, now that's just borderline insane.

Let's get one thing straight about Ryder Cup captains: they're fine gentlemen who feel honored to represent their country/continent in a meaningful event, but let's not act as if they're building a nuclear bomb and deciding when and where to set it off. But the eye-opening seven-point winning margin was the result of a flawless storm.

Jim Furyk, the U.S. captain, had no complaints, heaping praise on the Europeans.

In other words, the lopsided nature of this contest must be considered something of a fluke.

Now he's had two days of Ryder Cup matches with him, as well as Fleetwood, who has now earned the most points by any European Ryder Cup rookie.

One example: The Euros' ability to harness momentum.

For Rory McIlroy at least, the identity of Europe's next Ryder Cup captain is settled. The galleries erupted. The normally stoic Molinari made a beeline for a pack of fans wearing yellow Oxford shirts and flat-bill European caps, and he bounced and danced amid the frenzied crowd, bathing in champagne. Sure, the game's best usually only have three days to learn a major venue, but one USA scouting trip here in July wasn't going to supersede years of institutional knowledge.

One of the biggest myths the golf media perpetuates every time the Ryder Cup is played is how much influence the captain has on the outcome.

The United States team, the reigning Ryder Cup champions, were the pre-tournament favourite for a reason - the team featured some of golf's biggest and best players, from Woods himself to current world number one golfer Dustin Johnson and the three-time major victor Jordan Spieth. It might start by not including Phil Mickelson on the team in two years time. Woods went back out with Bryson DeChambeau.

Somehow, though, Finau (2-1-0) was the only one to earn any points for the U.S. Mickelson looked lost, Woods exhausted and confused by the greens, and DeChambeau like the victim of circumstances and hot players for Europe. Mickelson, who will be 50 years old when the next Ryder Cup is played, went 0-2 and was a major liability at Le Golf National. All a captain can do is get players in position to perform.

Who could have predicted that?

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