After two years of hand-wringing over the potential effectiveness of Davis Love III’s second Ryder Cup captaincy — during a period that saw the creation and mobilization of a much-discussed and much-derided “Ryder Cup Task Force” as a way to turn around team fortunes — the American side claimed a decisive 17-11 victory over the European team on U.S. soil at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota’s Twin Cities area.
The Yanks set the tone early, roaring out to a 4-0 lead after the Friday-morning Foursomes session. Though the alternate-shot format has recently been a weakness for the American team, it won five-and-a-half out of a possible eight points from those sessions on Friday and Saturday mornings.
After splitting the afternoon best-ball sessions overall, the Americans carried a three-point lead into Sunday’s dozen decisive Singles matches. While that margin may have seemed safe, to assume so would ignore the calamity of the final day of the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago, when the U.S. team lost a four-point lead at the beginning of the Singles round in Davis Love III’s first go-around as captain.
No such let-down was in the cards this year, as the American side set the tone for victory from the very first match, a thrilling throwdown between spark plugs Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy. Reed, riding a week-long adrenaline high, defeated the No. 3 player in the world, giving his team and the partisan (at times excessively so) fans a boost that carried the day. The six-point margin of victory was the largest for an American team since 1981.
Captain Love put a little pressure on the team early in the week of the event, opining that his might be the best team of professional golfers ever assembled. But they proved him right with a mix of power players like Brooks Koepka, short-game specialists like Brandt Snedeker, and solid all-around talents like Jordan Spieth and Reed, who went 2-1-1 in the team sessions.
The American team also included Myrtle Beach’s favorite pro golfer: Dustin Johnson. Johnson went 2-2-0 for the weekend, capping it off with a victory over British pro Chris Wood, which secured the home team’s 17th overall point.
Now, the United States team will look to retain the Ryder Cup in two years’ time, at Le Golf National outside of Paris, France.