CHASKA, Minn. – Rory McIlroy won a match and lost a match Friday at the Ryder Cup. It’s the final putt late on Day 1 at Hazeltine that will be remembered for a long time.
McIlroy and Thomas Pieters were cruising with a 4-up lead after 13 holes against Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar but lost the next two holes to tighten the match.
McIlroy hit driver, 4-iron to 20 feet on the par-5 16th hole and drained the eagle putt to win the match, 3 and 2. He immediately turned and bowed to the crowd, something he said he thought about doing well before the ball left his putter.
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“I bowed to them, said, ‘you’re welcome for the show’ and we move on,” McIlroy said late Friday, clearly not having an issue with playing the villain’s role this week.
“I wanted to put an exclamation point on that session for us.”
McIlroy and rookie Andy Sullivan coughed up a 2-up lead late in the morning foursomes match and lost to Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler. Europe lost all four matches in the session.
In the afternoon McIlroy and Pieters birdied five of the first seven holes to quickly jump to a 4-up lead.