Europe win Ryder Cup in Paris 17.5 - 10.5

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It was a momentous day in Paris on Sunday as Europe dominated one of the strongest American sides in history to win the Ryder Cup 17.5 points to 10.5.

On paper, the 2018 Ryder Cup belonged to the Americans.

They had the better world rankings, more wins in 2018, more major champions, less rookies and had more Ryder Cup experience. But what they didn’t have, perhaps what was crucial, was much experience of Le Golf National.

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It's a golf course that while not particularly long is filled with water hazards, narrow fairways and punishing hack-out rough on every hole. It demanded accuracy and took away the option of playing driver off every tee, leaving the biggest weapons in the bags of Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka rendered mute, while the ever accurate Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood made the Paris course their playground.

Though from the out-set, the end result could not have been forseen. It was America that had the upper-hand after Friday morning's fourball sessions, but what would ensue would be the first European foursomes whitewash in Ryder Cup history that set the tone for the remainder of the contest. 

The European side that were thought of as underdogs took control from the fourth match of the first session, winning eight points in a row as the newly dubbed MoliWood became the first European partnership in history to go 4-0-0 in a Ryder Cup.

There was a nervy half an hour on Sunday where the projected points began to edge in favour of the American side as more red filled the board, but the comeback was short-lived. 

Justin Thomas, who was the highest point scorer for the U.S side (4-1-0), took the first match against Rory McIlroy, and Webb Simpson defeated Justin Rose shortly after to reduce the gap to just two points. With a Casey/Koepka halve and a Finau win over Tommy Fleetwood, the match became the closest it would get in more than 24 hours as the point defecit was reduced to one. 

But soon Jon Rahm claimed his first point against Tiger Woods, Ian Poulter defeated Dustin Johnson, and three matches out there were dormie in favour of Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari and Henrik Stenson. 

It seemed fitting that it was Molinari who added the winning point for a jubilant Europe, with his match against Phil Mickelson ending on the 16th tee after the American found the water with his tee shot and conceded the match. It was a match that put both in the history books: Molinari became the first European player to win 5/5 points in a Ryder Cup, while Phil has now lost the highest number of Ryder Cup points for a U.S player (22).

And that seemed the theme of the whole contest, as Europe’s side added plenty of positive new records to their names, the US team did the opposite. Much doubted Captain’s pick Sergio Garcia won three of his four matches to become the highest Ryder Cup points scorer in history, while Furyk’s side have now failed to claim the Cup on this side of the pond for 25 years. 

Stenson and Garcia quickly followed the Italian with wins over Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler, leaving just two matches on the golf course. The first to finish went in favour of Patrick Reed, who came in out-of-form and had lost his other two Ryder Cup matches, but pushed the U.S tally over double figures with his victory over Tyrrell Hatton. 

Yet as the celebrations reached fever pitch, the champagne flowed and Ian Poulter got dressed up as a Post Box, Alex Noren remained on the course fighting for the final point of the afternoon against Bryson DeChambeau. 

1up heading down the 18th hole, it was DeChambeau who stuck it in close for a birdie that Noren conceded, leaving the 2018 French Open champion in need of making a very lengthy putt to ensure his second full point for the hosts. Unbelievably, or perhaps believably in this European fairytale, he delivered. 

As the rest of the European team raced, the American's looking on couldn't help but smile. They knew that they had been outplayed by better golf throughout the three-day contest, with better approach shots and better putts. 

Throughout it all many criticised the picks, some criticised the lack of preparation for such a demanding course set-up, others pointed to a fatigued U.S side who had played five of the last six weeks, while others simply determined that they had been outplayed. The latter was definitely true. 

Perhaps critical for Europe, was that each of the 12 players earned at least one point for their side - the fourth time it has happened in the history of the Ryder Cup. That included 9.5 points from Bjorn’s four Captain’s picks, with Sergio Garcia becoming the highest Ryder Cup points scorer of all time thanks to a 3-1-0 record in Paris, overtaking Sir Nick Faldo’s total of 25 by 0.5points.  

Conversely, Furyk's picks of Tony Finau, Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods recorded just 2 out of 12 possible points, both of them belonging to an impressive Finau, who took down Tommy Fleetwood 6&4 during the singles matches.

But whether the debate is about the right picks, or the right preparation, Captain Jim Furyk was quick to admit they were simply outplayed. And it's true: With the exception of the first fourballs session on Friday, the American's didn't come close. 

"Hats off to what they accomplished this week," Furyk said. "Thomas did a great job as captain. Players on their team, class acts, and gritty.

"When we put some heat on them early this afternoon, they responded. And they played some great golf this week, and I take my cap off. Thomas was a better captain, and their team out-played us. And there's nothing else more you can say. They deserved to win. They played well.

"The amphitheatre here, the venue, the golf course, the fans, I really can't imagine, if you went down this line, if we could have -- if you could ever have a better venue or better place to play or better crowd to play in front of."

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