For the first time since 2008, when the dust settled at the Ryder Cup it was the team clad in red, white and blue that was hoisting the trophy as the United States ended eight years of frustration with a 17-11 victory over Europe Sunday afternoon at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota.
Carrying the load for the Americans was 2016 Olympian Patrick Reed, who sparked a U.S. rally during Saturday’s second round with a dramatic eagle to hole out on the sixth hole. That carried Reed and Jordan Spieth to a 2&1 win over Europe’s Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, the gold and silver medalists at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. That put the U.S. into the clubhouse ahead 9.5-6.5, needing to generate only five points in Sunday’s 12 singles matches.
Facing a three-point deficit, European captain Darren Clarke opted for a final-day strategy designed to put early pressure on the Americans. To that end, Reed found himself paired in singles play against Rory McIlroy, the newly-crowned FedEx Cup champion. Reed squeezed out a one-shot victory, setting the tone for the remainder of the day with a round that blended drama, theatrics and the best of sportsmanship, as the two matched each other shot for shot, playing to the crowd and sharing handshakes and back-slaps between holes.
Rickie Fowler, like Reed a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Golf Team, won his singles match against Rose, which set the stage for Ryan Moore to clinch the title with his win over Lee Westwood.
Led by team captain Davis Love III and five vice captains, including 2016 Olympian Bubba Watson and Tiger Woods, the U.S. team was comprised of Reed, Spieth, Fowler, Moore, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Brandt Snedeker and Jimmy Walker.