19 Sep 2021

Ryder Cup Spinback – Paris 2018

A strong American team, which included 11 of the world’s top 20 golfers, six of the last seven major winners and a combined 31 major titles, with a resurgent Tiger Woods among them, travelled to Paris in the hope of securing a first victory on foreign soil for 25 years. 

This was meant to be their year but their hopes and dreams were crushed by a formidable European team, who defied the odds to triumph 17½-10½ in front of record-breaking crowds at Le Golf National. 

The US started on the front foot with a dominant display in the Friday morning fourballs, where they raced to a 3 – 0 lead after victories for Brooks Koepka/Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson/Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas/Jordan Spieth. But European spirits were lifted when the week’s star-studded duo Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari sealed a vital point in the final fourball contest against Patrick Reed/Tiger Woods.

That victory certainly ignited the European team and from a morning of red, the scoreboard turned blue, after a superb whitewash in the afternoon foursomes – their first ever foursomes clean sweep of their Ryder Cup history – with Molinari and Fleetwood’s 5&4 thrashing of Spieth/Thomas the pick of the bunch.

On Saturday, Europe picked up where they left off collecting three points in the opening three fourball matches before Thomas/Spieth gave the US a lifeline with victory against Jon Rahm/Ian Poulter. With Europe leading by four heading into the afternoon foursomes, a commanding display from the US was needed but left themselves a mammoth task heading into the Sunday singles after only securing two points while Fleetwood and Molinari kept up their 100% record after gunning down Woods/Bryson DeChambeau 5&4.

Only twice before had a team overturned a four-point deficit heading into the final day – The US in 1999 and Europe’s ‘Miracle in Medinah’ in 2012. There would be no comeback in 2018, though, despite the US pulling it back to within one point after the fourth match on Sunday. 

Finau’s 6&4 triumph over Fleetwood looked to have given the US an unlikely route back into the biennial tournament Thomas, Koepka and Webb Simpson had picked up 2.5 points from a possible three early on. Thorbjørn Olesen put the Europeans back on a track with a stunning 5&4 drumming over Spieth in his first match of the week before Jon Rahm and ‘Mr Ryder Cup’ Poulter sealed the next two matches. 

The victory was sealed in the following match by Open champion Molinari after the Italian beat Phil Mickelson to get Europe to the 14½-point winning mark, simultaneously becoming the first European to win five points in one Ryder Cup. History was also made by Spaniard Sergio Garcia, who secured victory over Rickie Fowler to surpass Sir Nick Faldo as the Ryder Cup’s leading points scorer with 25½.

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