Europe wins third straight Ryder Cup|
Perthshire, Scotland (SportsNetwork.com) - Jamie Donaldson finished what Rory
McIlroy and Graeme McDowell started on Sunday as the Europeans won their third
straight Ryder Cup by a 16 1/2 - 11 1/2 margin.
Armed with a 4-up lead with four holes to go, Donaldson stuffed his approach
shot at 15 to a foot. Keegan Bradley conceded the birdie and the 4 & 3 win to
Donaldson. That moved the Europeans to 14 1/2 points, enough for them to win
the coveted trophy yet again.
"Yeah, 7-1 was a huge result out of the two foursomes sessions. If you look
historically over the past few years, the Americans have been stronger than us
in foursomes, so this was a one off," said European captain Paul McGinley. "It
really did, it worked incredibly well for us. There's no special secret for
it, it was just one of those things that happened."
World No. 1 McIlroy was 7-under par through 14 holes at Gleneagles as he
cruised to a 5 & 4 win over Rickie Fowler.
"We've had a lot of great leaders that have led our team the last few Ryder
Cups. (Colin) Montgomerie in 2010, Jose Maria (Olazabal) last time at Medinah
and obviously Paul here. I can't say enough about Paul and his captaincy and
how good it's been," McIlroy stated. "I'm delighted that everything worked out
so well for him."
McDowell was 3-down after five holes against Jordan Spieth, then won five of
six holes from the 10th en route to a 2 & 1 win.
The two Northern Irishmen earned the first two points for the Europeans, then
Patrick Reed got the Americans on the board with a 1-up win over Henrik
U.S. Open winner Martin Kaymer beat Bubba Watson, 4 & 2, to put Europe on the
brink of victory.
Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar won their matches over Scotland's Steven
Gallacher and Thomas Bjorn, respectively, to trim the American deficit to
Then last year's U.S. Open champ Justin Rose battled to a halve with Hunter
Mahan to move the Europeans within a half-point of keeping the Cup.
Donaldson and Bradley, who were in the 10th match out, halved No. 14 meaning
Europe had at least retained the Cup. Donaldson, who was unaware that his half
at 14 guaranteed the Europeans the requisite 14 points to keep the Cup,
clinched the Ryder Cup one hole later with his stellar second shot.
After Bradley drained a birdie at the eighth to trim his deficit to 1-down,
Donaldson birdied three of four holes from the ninth to push his lead to 4-up.
At 14, Bradley hit a poor chip from left of the green and lagged his birdie
try to tap-in range. Donaldson chipped from over the green to nine feet. If
that putt fell, the match was over, but he missed.
Donaldson nearly holed his second at 15 and that gave the Cup back to Europe.
"It's so hard to play your way into the team. I played well for a year, but it
took the event before the last one to get in," said Donaldson of his win at
the Czech Masters that sealed his spot on the team. "Obviously it came down to
me to close it out, which is fantastic, but it's all about the team. The guys
have gone so well this week and everybody has played really well. They played
their heart out to retain the Ryder Cup, at the end of the day, that's what
its all about."
Europe ended up winning the singles matches 6 1/2 - 5 1/2, but the foursomes
play over the first two days, is where this Ryder Cup was won.
"The real difference was the foursome play. The combined score in foursomes
for our team was really, really high compared to theirs. That was the biggest
difference in the play this week," explained U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom
Watson. "We gave them a shot here in the singles. We made them think about us
early in the singles, but they turned it on. But the foursome play separated
the two teams."
McIlroy, the Open Champion and PGA Championship winner, played like the No. 1
player in the world. He was 6-under par through six holes with four birdies
and an eagle, and was 5-up. Fowler got one back at seven. McIlroy took the
13th and a par at 14 gave the Europeans their first point of the day.
Spieth flew out of the gate with three wins in the first five holes, just one
of which was with a birdie. But, he didn't win another hole.
After four halves in a row, McDowell won five of six holes from the 10th with
three pars and two birdies. Spieth left a birdie putt short at 16 and McDowell
claimed the match with an up-and-down par at 17.
"We talked about it in the team room last night, it doesn't matter if your 4-
up or 4-down, try to win the next hole. Try to send a signal to your teammates
from the crowd that something good is happening up in front," said McDowell.
"That's what drove me on, I just tried to win the next hole."
Reed and Stenson each won two holes on the front nine. Around the turn, Reed
looked to grab control as he took 11 and 12, but Stenson won the 14th with a
par and was conceded birdie at 15 to square the match. Reed 2-putted for
birdie at 18 and Stenson missed from inside six feet to give the Americans
their first point.
"I just tried to play golf. Being my first time in the Ryder Cup, I leaned a
lot on the Mickelsons and the Furyks, the guys that have been out here for a
while and played multiple Ryder Cups," Reed stated. "I went by what they said
and enjoyed the day."
In a battle of two of this year's major champions, it was all Kaymer. He won
four in a row from the third to go 4-up. Watson, the Masters winner, birdied
seven to earn his first win, but Kaymer was conceded the eighth. After Watson
took 15, Kaymer chipped in for eagle at 16 to seal the match.
Kuchar won four of six holes from the 10th. Bjorn got one back at 11, but
Kuchar won the 15th to claim the match.
Moments later, Mickelson wrapped up his win. He and Gallacher split three wins
each over the first 11 holes. After three halves in a row from 12, Mickelson
made three birdies in a row from 15, all from inside seven feet, to win the
match and make it 13-9 Europe.
"I thought the European team played some incredible golf and just beat us,"
Mickelson said. "We had a great formula in '08 and I don't know why we strayed
from it. I don't know why we don't ever try going back to it."
Mahan led 15 of the 17 holes, and was 4-up after six. Rose birdied four in a
row to square the match at 11. They traded wins before Mahan birdied 14 to go
1-up. Mahan was left of the 18th in two, but hit a poor chip. After he failed
to save par, he conceded Rose's birdie try and the match was halved.
"I think today took a lot out of me being 4-down. Hunter played absolutely
awesome today and it took pretty much me digging as deep as I could to find a
run in the middle of the round, which I did to square things up," Rose stated.
Donaldson won the 15th hole and the match.
Sergio Garcia and Furyk were tight throughout their match. Garcia birdied 15
and eagled 16 to go 1-up. They halved the last two holes to give the Spaniard
Ian Poulter lost a 2-up lead against Webb Simpson, but birdied the 18th to
claim a 1-up victory over the 2012 U.S. Open winner.
Jimmy Walker finished a solid first Ryder Cup with a 3 & 2 win over Lee
Westwood. Walker led throughout and Westwood won just one hole.
Zach Johnson birdied the 18th hole to halve the final match against Victor
NOTES: The Europeans have won three Ryder Cups in a row, six of the last eight
and eight of the last 10 ... For the week, the Europeans had just three
players with losing records, while the Americans had seven ... Furyk became
the first American to have 20 losses at the Ryder Cup ... The 2016 Ryder Cup
will take place at Whistling Straits in Chaska, Minn.
09/28 14:47:26 ET