SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Steve DiMeglio discusses the disappointing performances from Team USA in Day 2 and what they need to do to contend.
SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France — A pasting in Paris turned into a heart-pounder early Sunday afternoon before Europe regained control in singles play to defeat the USA and reclaim the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National.
Europe, which led 10-6 heading into the last day after whipping the U.S. over two days of foursomes and four-balls, weathered an early charge from the Americans and reached the needed 14½ points for victory when Francesco Molinari defeated Phil Mickelson, 4 and 2. It was fitting Molinari clinched the point — he went 5-0-0 on the week.
The Europeans stemmed the red, white and blue tide with key victories from rookie Jon Rahm, who won 2 and 1 against Tiger Woods (who was 0-4); rookie Thorbjorn Olesen, who toppled Jordan Spieth, 5 and 4; and veteran Ian Poulter, who defeated world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, 2 up.
“To beat Tiger, one of the greatest, if not the greatest, on a Sunday, with a pivotal point, I was so aware of it, it’s the best feeling of my life,” Rahm said.
Every player in the European squad earned at least 1 point. Europe has won nine of the last 12 biennial clashes. It also has won six consecutive matches on home soil. The Americans last won overseas in 1993.
Playing in front of 50,000 partisan spectators spread out over this massive complex, the U.S. needed to win 8 out of the 12 possible points in singles to retain the Ryder Cup it won in 2016 at Hazeltine National in Minnesota.
The U.S. gave itself some hope early with wins from Justin Thomas, Webb Simpson, Tony Finau and a half-point from Brooks Koepka that cut the deficit to one point, but in the end, the margin, and the task, proved too much to overcome.