Team USA celebrates after defeating Team Europe, 19-9, to win the 2021 Ryder Cup on Sept. 26, 2021 in Kohler, Wisconsin.
Olympian Collin Morikawa missed his putt for par on the 18th hole, but it didn’t matter.
When he made birdie on No. 17 and went 1-up against Viktor Hovland, he provided the clinching moment that brought the Ryder Cup back to the U.S. at Whistling Straits Golf Course in Haven, Wisconsin, sparking booming chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” from the home crowd.
“It means so much,” the 24-year-old from La Canada, California, said in a television interview after giving the U.S. a 14.5-6.5 lead over Europe. “To clinch this and bring the Cup back to home soil feels so good.”
The final score was U.S. 19, Europe 9, with the Americans going 8-4 in the Sunday singles matches. The 19 points are a record for the U.S., which for the first time did not lose any of the sessions.
The U.S. — the youngest team it had ever fielded but with every player among the top 25 in the world — was heavily favored to win, and took an 11-5 lead going into Sunday’s final day. It was the largest lead for the Americans going into singles competition at the tournament since 1975. Prior to this year, the U.S. had only won the Ryder Cup three times in the last 12 tries, dating back to 1995.
But the U.S. was fully loaded up for singles competition Sunday, with a roster that included Morikawa’s Olympic teammates Justin Thomas, Tokyo gold medalist Xander Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau.
When Morikawa — a two-time major winner — finished, the U.S. was ahead in five of the eight matches still underway. The only question remaining was whether or not the U.S. would break the record for most points accrued in the current format, set at 18.5. That had happened three times before, but only once by a U.S. team, back in 1981.
DeChambeau was among the winners who helped set things up for Morikawa’s clincher, beating Sergio Garcia 3 and 2, as was Scottie Scheffler, who beat world No. 1 Jon Rahm 4 and 3.
Morikawa said that although the U.S. team was dominant on paper, the players all knew paper didn’t mean anything.
“It isn’t just a win, I think this is a dominant win,” he said. “We don’t know what the final score is, but everyone showed up and I think it proves all 12 of us, when we’re called upon it’s time and we showed up.”