Rory McIlroy powered the USA team to their eighth straight victory against Europe at the Ryder Cup on Saturday afternoon. The European team has gone 17-15 in all the Ryder Cups with the Americans just one point behind and in perfect form, with four of the last five matches won convincingly.
They were as dominant as expected against Europe, led by the teenage Jordan Spieth and his partner Justin Thomas. Spieth and Thomas put the European pairing of Thomas Pieters and Thomas Mullen to bed early, winning 10 and 6. Thomas Pieters, the nautically loved Belgian, could only watch on as his side kept scoring. The duo of Pieters and Ian Poulter lost to Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson 9 and 6.
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There was only one point between Europe and the USA going into the final day of the Seve Trophy, America and Europe going in to the final day of the first All Star event with the Ryder Cup on the line. Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters have done the hard work at a venue where they have also won this year. Only for a few countries in America have this year seen something as close to the depth of talent as Europe. The final ceremony after the full table was announced by Hal Sutton was a bit of a surprise.
Hal Sutton is in the role of skipper after Nick Faldo gave him the job. Sutton is a renowned Ryder Cup player, having won all four of his matches as a player. And, as the group two player of the Ryder Cup, he is ideally suited to give captain’s cues, his tough nature under pressure a side he knows well. For the European side, it seemed a little strange to have Ian Poulter present, with him so controversially voted out of the side by McGinley. The skipper hinted he might bow to pressure after the first four points were done. Poulter walked out with his team prior to the ceremony. McGinley was officially voted captain last year, taking over from Sergio García. And his squad was refreshed despite the fatigue of matches played two days earlier. He made a big mistake in sending out Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters, the two top points scorers from the tournament. McGinley is increasingly looking like the short end of the stick, this only being his second captain’s point in the Ryder Cup.
The US dominated from the get go, the putts falling early and often. Europe were hanging on through Thomas Pieters and the red-headed Belgian is still a player of great promise, but for the moment, he is going to have to stand down for some time. Pieters was scoring early on and put enough pressure on the US duo of Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson that they were able to lose in more than a formality. McDowell was fully expected to cash in on his match with the favourite and he did so, winning with birdies on two and three to go 5-2 up. McDowell brought up the half for Europe. Luke Donald looked to be gaining on Mickelson and Thomas Fleetwood but was in with a chance but came up short with a missed par putt at the 16th. However, Mickelson and Justin Thomas put Europe in a hole of their own thanks to Bjorn Poulter. Thomas Pieters and Ian Poulter’s pairing lost the hole but Poulter had just got back on the ground to watch his team level the match. As the other teams got ready to shake hands and the captains entered the Hazeltine course, Bjorn cuddled up to the captain.