USA regain Ryder Cup with convincing win over Europe
Europe needed to overturn a three-point deficit in Sunday’s 12 singles matches to claim an unprecedented fourth straight win in the biennial contest.
Open champion Henrik Stenson gave Darren Clarke’s side the ideal start with a 3&2 win over Jordan Spieth in match two, but McIlroy then lost a highly-charged contest with Patrick Reed on the 18th.
Rookie Thomas Pieters, who had won all three of his matches with McIlroy, then secured his fourth point of a sensational debut with a 3&2 win over JB Holmes.
And the gap was down to a single point when another rookie, Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello, defeated US PGA champion Jimmy Walker by the same score, only for Justin Rose to lose on the last to Rickie Fowler, who had only taken the lead for the first time in the match with a birdie on the 16th.
A miserable week for Masters champion Danny Willett, who was heckled throughout after an article by his brother criticised American fans, was completed with a 5&4 defeat at the hands of Brooks Koepka.
Sergio Garcia showed incredible nerve to follow Phil Mickelson in for a birdie on the 18th and halve their match, which featured an amazing 19 birdies.
But when Brandt Snedeker completed a 3&1 victory over Andy Sullivan, the home side needed just half a point from the remaining matches to seal victory.
The honour of securing the win fell to Ryan Moore, who was only chosen as the final wild card seven days ago after losing out in a play-off for the Tour Championship to McIlroy.
Moore was two down with three to play against Lee Westwood, who had lost his other two matches this week, but eagled the 16th, birdied the 17th and then made par on the last to take the score to 15-10.