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Ryder Cup match recaps: Europe wins 17 1/2 to 10 1/2

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 30, 2018, 4:00 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – For the sixth straight time, Europe won the Ryder Cup on its home soil.

Captain's Thomas Bjorn's team topped the U.S., 17 1/2 to 10 1/2, on Sunday.

Francesco Molinari locked up the clinching point when Phil Mickelson hit his tee shot in the water at the par-3 16th and conceded the match to The Open champion, 4 and 2, while still on the tee.

The Americans remain winless on European soil since 1993. Europeans have now won seven of the last nine events, dating back to 2002.

Molinari became the first European player in history to go 5-0-0 in a Ryder Cup, as the senior leaders of the U.S. team, Mickelson and Tiger Woods, combined to go 0-6-0.

Sergio Garcia is now the all-time leader in Ryder Cup points won with 25 1/2, while Mickelson is now the all-time leader in matches lost with 22.

Here's how all the matches played out this week at Le Golf National outside Paris:


Match scoring from the 42nd Ryder Cup

Ryder Cup: Articles, photos and videos


TOTAL SCORE: EUROPE 17 1/2, U.S. 10 1/2 

Sunday singles: Europe 7 1/2, U.S. 4 1/2 

Match 17: Thomas (US) def. McIlroy (E), 1up
Incredible match from beginning to end. One of the best of the week. Thomas won the first hole, then McIlroy won the next three in a row. The match was square on the 18th tee, and McIlroy drove it into a fried-egg lie in a bunker. It didn’t end well for him. He ended up conceding to Thomas in the final fairway.

Match 18: Casey (E) vs. Koepka (US), halved
Hard to believe, but this was the first halved match of the Ryder Cup. Neither player was ever more than 1 up at any point and both played slightly better than average. Casey's birdie on the 17th to square the match was as big a clutch moment as you can have.

Match 19: Simpson (US) def. Rose (E), 3 and 2
This was a bit of an upset but a point the U.S. had to have for momentum. Simpson lost his first match but quietly won his next two to become an unsung hero for an American team that desperately needed one. Rose seemed tired.

Match 20: Rahm (E) def. Woods (US), 2 and 1
Woods never led the match, although Rahm was never more than 2 up either. Woods appeared exhausted and unenthused. Rahm took advantage to earn his first Ryder Cup point in the grandest of fashions.

Match 21: Finau (US) def. Fleetwood (E), 6 and 4
Finau was an absolute monster in this match, and the previously undefeated Fleetwood couldn’t do much to combat him. Finau was 5 up after nine holes and never looked back. A great, great week for Finau, who will most assuredly make more Ryder Cups.

Match 22: Poulter (E) def. Johnson (US), 2 up
Poulter turned into Poulter one more time against the world’s top-ranked player. Poulter was 2 up after four holes, but Johnson was up after 12. Poulter would have none of it. He birdied 14 and 15 to seize control, closing it out on 18.

Match 23: Olesen (E) def. Spieth (US), 5 and 4
Some things defy explanation, and Spieth now goes to 0-6 all-time in singles play for U.S. teams in the Presidents and Ryder cups. Olesen sat out all day on Saturday and came out steady against Spieth, who made only one birdie.

Match 24: Garcia (E) def. Fowler (US), 2 and 1
The full point made Garcia the top point earner in the history of the Ryder Cup, surpassing Nick Faldo. This match was fairly close, too, but Fowler never led at any point. The cup was determined before this was over, so it was icing on the European cake.

Match 25: Molinari (E) def. Mickelson (US), 4 and 2
When Mickelson dunked it in the water on the 16th hole, Molinari clinched the winning point for Europe and also went a perfect 5-0 for the week. Just an incredible week for The Open champion. Mickelson played poorly again and ended the week 0-2.

Match 26: Reed (US) def. Hatton (E), 3 and 2
Reed made up in part for poor performances the previous two days in a match that he won easily against an overmatched Hatton. Too bad for the Americans that the cup was decided well before this point.

Match 27: Stenson (E) def. Watson (US), 5 and 4
Watson remains winless in Ryder Cup singles matches and Stenson was 3 up after five holes. Again, this was not really particularly close and Watson struggles. Stenson birdies four of the first seven holes.

Match 28: Noren (E) def. DeChambeau (US), 1 up
This match went all the way 18 long after the matches have been decided. One down with one to play, DeChambeau flagged his approach to the final green, but Noren holed a lengthy birdie putt to end the matches and officially start the European celebration.


TOTAL SCORE: EUROPE 10, U.S. 6

Saturday afternoon foursomes: Europe 2, U.S. 2

Match 13: Rose-Stenson (E) def. Johnson-Koepka (US), 2 and 1
The closest match of the session, and it’s no surprise that it came down to Stenson making a 10-footer to save par on the 17th hole to win the match. Rose and Stenson continue to roll when paired together while Johnson and Koepka couldn’t recapture magic of the past.

Match 14: Watson-Simpson (US) def. Garcia-Noren (E), 3 and 2
This was a questionable foursomes lineup for the U.S. and it turns out it was their best duo. Garcia and Noren slapped it around in average fashion, as Watson and Simpson went 4 up through eight and easily hold on.

Match 15: Molinari-Fleetwood (E) def. Woods-DeChambeau, 5 and 4
This was a clinic from the very beginning, and the victory gave the European team a perfect 4-0 record together this week. Both played great and never allowed any openings for the Americans. On the other hand, Woods (0-3) and DeChambeau (0-2) played awful and are both winless on the week.

Match 16: Spieth-Thomas (US) def. Poulter-McIlroy (E), 4 and 3
Poulter and McIlroy looked like they both finally ran out of gas. They didn’t provide much of a fight for Spieth and Thomas, particularly down the stretch. The Americans were only 1 up after seven but appeared in control and were 4 up after 13.


TOTAL SCORE: EUROPE 8, U.S. 4

Saturday morning fourballs: Europe 3, U.S. 1

Match 9: Garcia-McIlroy (E) def. Koepka-Finau (US), 2 and 1
Garcia and McIlroy were putting demons, making everything they needed to make. They were 4 up after 13, they lost the next three holes in a row, and then Garcia sealed it with a monster birdie putt on the 17th. They were a combined 7 under par.

Match 10: Casey-Hatton (E) def. Johnson-Fowler (US), 3 and 2
The Americans didn’t do anything spectacular and honestly they were lucky to take the match as deep as they did. The Europeans were a combined 9 under, and there’s just nothing you can do with that kind of display. Casey’s putter was on fire.

Match 11: Molinari-Fleetwood (E) def. Woods-Reed (US), 4 and 3
A thumping of epic proportions. Reed played as poorly as anyone has ever played in the Ryder Cup. Ever. Woods kept them in the match until European putters heated up again, winning four of the last five holes. This Euro duo is now 3-0 together.

Match 12: Spieth-Thomas (US) def. Poulter-Rahm (E), 2 and 1
The only bright spot for the Americans in the session, and they had to fight for it. Rahm and Poulter weren’t on top form, and Spieth and Thomas combined for 10 birdies, including a huge one on the 17th that kept the match from going the full way.



TOTAL SCORE: EUROPE 5, U.S. 3

Friday afternoon foursomes: Europe 4, U.S. 0

Match 5: Stenson-Rose (E) def. Johnson-Fowler (US), 3 and 2

This match wasn’t even as close as it seemed, and it set the tone for Europe to roll in the entire session. The Americans were over par and Stenson and Rose played well together again even though they didn’t really need to.

Match 6: McIlroy-Poulter (E) def. Watson-Simpson (US), 4 and 2

The European train keeps rolling with an easy win. They were 2 down after five holes, but won the next four consecutive holes to cruise against a U.S. team that was over par. McIlroy needed this after a poor performance in the morning and Poulter was never going to be denied.

Match 7: Garcia-Noren (E) def. Mickelson-DeChambeau (US), 5 and 4

Europe was 7 up after nine. Yes, that’s correct. The Americans were awful early and hit poor shot after poor shot. Garcia and Noren were antsy after sitting in the morning and just steamrolled to the easiest of wins. Four birdies in a five-hole stretch were too much.

Match 8: Molinari-Fleetwood (E) def. Thomas-Spieth (US), 5 and 4

Another blowout, this one to cap a European clean sweep of the session. The Americans had no gas and were over par, while Molinari and Fleetwood were steady and smooth, winning for the second time on the day. Yes, Europe seems to have found another unstoppable duo.



Friday morning fourballs: U.S. 3, Europe 1

Match 1: Koepka-Finau (US) def. Rose-Rahm (E), 1 up

The only time the U.S. led the match was after the 18th hole. Incredible. Europe was in complete control after the 12th hole, but quickly went cold when Koepka and Finau caught fire. A bad mix for the blue.

Match 2: Johnson-Fowler (US) def. McIlroy-Olesen (E), 4 and 2

Match was even for eight of the first nine holes, but the Americans turned it on quickly and pulled away in the easiest match of the session. McIlroy played horribly the whole time and failed to make a single birdie.

Match 3: Spieth-Thomas (US) def. Casey-Hatton (E), 1 up

All the matches of this session were great but this one was particularly wild. Spieth did Spieth things (5 under through seven) to get them 3 up after 10, but the Americans lost the next three holes in a row. Thomas’ birdie on 15 was the difference.

Match 4: Molinari-Fleetwood (E) def. Woods-Reed, 3 and 1

The Americans won Nos. 9 and 10 to go 2 up, but Europe won the next two to square the match. Fleetwood’s putter was on fire down the stretch in a match Europe had to have. Reed and Woods played decent, but never found a groove together, especially late.

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Dunlap, in 'excruciating pain,' shares early Dominion lead

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:29 pm

RICHMOND, Va. – Scott Dunlap and Fran Quinn shot 5-under 67 on Friday to share the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Fighting a left wrist injury that will require surgery, Dunlap matched Quinn with a closing birdie on the par-5 18th on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.

''Maybe excruciating pain is the key to playing good golf because I'm not getting nervous on a shot, you're just trying to get through it,'' Dunlap said. ''The worst parts are gripping it and getting the club started ... that's when that bone hits that bone.''

The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 on Sunday will get spots next week in the Invesco QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.


Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic


The 55-year-old Dunlap entered the week 29th in the standings. Playing through the wrist injury, he's coming off ties for ninth and seventh in his last two starts.

''I think I finally taped it the right way,'' Dunlap said. ''Or maybe it's the pain meds kicking in. I don't know, one of the two.''

Quinn is 64th in the standings.

''I finished up strong last year, too, kind of secured my privileges for the following year making eagle on 18,'' Quinn said. ''I played solid all day. I had a lot of opportunities. A couple hiccups.''

Jay Haas was a stroke back with Kent Jones, Stephen Ames, Woody Austin and Tim Petrovic. The 64-year-old Haas won the last of his 18 senior titles in 2016.

Vijay Singh and Miguel Angel Jimenez, second in the standings, were at 69 with Joey Sindelar, Tom Gillis, Billy MayfairLee Janzen, Glen Day and Gene Sauers.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer opened with a 70. The 61-year-old German star won the SAS Championship last week in North Carolina to take the points lead. He has two victories this year and 38 overall on the 50-and-over tour.

Defending Charles Schwab Cup champion Kevin Sutherland had a 71. He's 14th in the standings. No. 3 Jerry Kelly shot 72. No. 4 Scott McCarron, the 2016 tournament winner, had a 74.

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Weather continues to plague Valderrama Masters

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 7:55 pm

SOTOGRANDE, Spain  -- Marc Warren helped his chances of retaining his European Tour card by moving into a tie for second place behind Englishman Ashley Chesters at the rain-hit Andalucia Valderrama Masters on Friday.

Bad weather interrupted play for a second straight day at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain before darkness caused the second round to be suspended until Saturday, with overnight Chesters still ahead at 5-under.

Weather delays on Thursday, including a threat of lightning, had kept 60 golfers from finishing their opening round. They included Scottish player Warren, who went out on Friday and finished his first round with a 2-under 69.

He then made three birdies to go with one bogey on the first nine holes of the second round before play was halted. He joined Frenchman Gregory Bourdy one shot behind Chesters.


Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters


''I'm hitting the ball as well as I have in a long time,'' Warren said. ''Hitting fairways and greens is the most important thing around here, so hopefully I wake up tomorrow with the same swing.''

Chesters and Bourdy were among several golfers unable to play a single hole in the second round on Friday.

Warren, a three-time European Tour winner, has struggled this season and needs a strong performance to keep his playing privileges for next year.

Currently ranked 144th, Warren needs to break into the top 116 to keep his card.

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Watch: Is this the up-and-down of the year?

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 3:30 pm

Play away from the pin? Just because there's a tree in your way? Not Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. Watch him channel some Arnie (or, more appropriately, some Seve) with this shot in the Valderrama Masters:

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Cut Line: Johnny's exit, Tiger's fatigue

By Rex HoggardOctober 19, 2018, 2:06 pm

In this week’s edition we bid farewell to the most outspoken and insightful analyst of his generation and examine a curious new interpretation that will require players to start paying attention to the small print.

Made Cut

Here’s Johnny. After nearly three decades Johnny Miller will hang up his microphone following next year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Miller called his first tournament as NBC Sports/Golf Channel’s lead analyst in 1990 at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and he told Cut Line this week that at 71 years old he’s ready to relax and spend time with his 24 grandchildren.

“I was the first guy with an open microphone,” Miller said. “That requires a lot of concentration. It’s not that I couldn’t do it but the handwriting was on the wall; it would be more of a challenge.”

Miller will be missed for his insight as much as his often-blunt deliveries, but it’s the latter that made him one of a kind.

A long ride to the right place. After nearly four years of legal wrangling a group of PGA Tour caddies dropped their class-action lawsuit against the circuit this week.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in early 2015 in an attempt by the caddies to secure marketing rights for the bibs they wear during tournaments as a way to create better healthcare and retirement benefits.

The district court largely ruled against the caddies and that ruling was upheld by an appeals court earlier this year, but better healthcare options may still be in the cards for the caddies.

“I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the Association of Professional Tour Caddies.

Sajtinac told Cut Line that the Tour has offered a potential increase to the longtime stipend they give caddies for healthcare and in a statement the circuit said talks are ongoing.

“The PGA Tour looks forward to continuing to support the caddies in the important role they play in the success of our members,” the statement said.

It’s rare when both sides of a lawsuit walk away feeling good about themselves, but this particular outcome appears to have ended with a favorable outcome for everybody involved.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

A long haul. Tiger Woods acknowledged what many had speculated about, telling a group this week at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach that his season-ending push and his first victory in five years took a physical toll at the Ryder Cup.

“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said on Tuesday. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

Woods went 0-4 for the U.S. team in France and appeared particularly tired on Sunday following the European victory at Le Golf National.

For Woods the result was worth the effort with his victory at the Tour Championship ending a five-year drought, but his play and concession that it impacted him at the Ryder Cup does create some interesting questions for U.S. captain Jim Furyk, who sent Woods out for both team sessions on Saturday.

Tweet(s) of the week: @BobEstesPGA (Bob Estes) “I spoke to a past Ryder Cup captain yesterday. We both agreed that there should be a week off before the [Ryder Cup] to adequately rest and prepare.”

Given Woods’ comments this week it seems likely he would agree that a break – which may become the norm with the Tour season ending three weeks earlier – would be helpful, but Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts had a slightly different take in response to Estes’ tweet. “I’m afraid a different schedule wasn’t gonna make the fairways wider. On that particular course with how we played, [the United States] had absolutely no chance. Hasn’t more than half the euros played playoffs too?” Colsaerts tweeted.

It’s never too early to get a jump on the 2020 trash talking.


Missed Cut

By the book. The USGA and R&A’s most recent rulemaking hill involved the use of green-reading materials. On Monday the game’s rule-makers unveiled new interpretations on what will be allowed starting next year.

Out will be the legal-sized reams of information that had become ubiquitous on Tour, replaced by pocket-sized books that will include a limited scale (3/8 inch to 5 yards).

While the majority of those involved were in favor of a scaled-back approach to what to many seemed like information overload, it did seem like a curious line to draw.

Both sides of the distance debate continue to await which way the rule-makers will go on this front and, at least in the United States, participation continues to be a challenge.

Banning the oversized green-reading books may have been a positive step, but it was a micro issue that impacted a wildly small portion of the golf public. Maybe it’s time for the rule-makers to start looking at more macro issues.