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U.S. wins Ryder Cup in Minnesota, ending losing streak

CHASKA, Minnesota - -After all the fuss over Team's USA's much-ballyhooed task force leading up to the 41st Ryder Cup, it seems only fitting that Davis Love III's final captain's pick clinched the victory.

Patrick Reed of the United States chips on the10th hole during the single matches in 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Photo by Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Patrick Reed of the United States chips on the10th hole during the single matches in 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Photo by Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

CHASKA, Minnesota - -After all the fuss over Team's USA's much-ballyhooed task force leading up to the 41st Ryder Cup, it seems only fitting that Davis Love III's final captain's pick clinched the victory.

Ryan Moore, who didn't make Team USA's 12-player squad until last Sunday night, was Love's fourth and final pick. Eight days later, in front of another boisterous, overflow crowd at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, it was his 1-up victory over Lee Westwood that secured America's clinching point in a 17-11 rout.

"Amazing," Moore said. "Absolutely amazing."

European star Rory McIlroy was among those who poked fun at the PGA of America's task force and the U.S.'s extra effort to win back the Ryder Cup after losing the past three and eight of the past 10.

"I'm just proud of these guys," Love said. "They had a lot of pressure on them for the last two years. And every time we picked a guy, there was more and more pressure on the team and more and more questions, and I'm just proud of the way every one of them played. It was a great team effort. I've never seen a team come together like a family like this."

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Though Moore's victory was the clincher, it was not the match that mesmerized the Hazeltine throng of 50,000-plus, mostly-behaved spectators.

The biggest gallery-and the loudest roars, from both players and fans-was reserved for the first match of the day: McIlroy vs. the feistiest American of all, Patrick Reed.

Those two provided a smorgasbord of great shots, birdie putts, gyrations on the greens, and even a classy, shared fist bump after they each drained long, twisting birdie putts on the par-3 eighth hole.

The pair combined for eight birdies and an eagle through the first eight holes, and though the level of play dropped over the final two hours of the showdown, the drama did not. Reed took his first lead with a par 4 at No. 12 and played even-par golf the rest of the way to win 1 up over Europe's best player.

"I knew today was going to be tough going against a guy like Rory, especially with how he was playing earlier this week," Reed said. "To come out and play as well as we did, especially on that front nine, it was definitely something fun to be a part of and I'm pretty sure fun to watch."

The Americans won seven singles matches, lost four and tied one. After jumping to a 4-0 lead in Friday morning's foursome matches, Team USA entered Sunday's singles with a 9.5 to 6.5 advantage.

It was the U.S.'s first victory in the Ryder Cup since 2008, a 16.5 to 11.5 demolition of the Europeans at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. Since then, the Americans have only known defeat, including a crushing collapse in 2012, Love's first go-round as captain. The Americans' Ryder Cup efforts seemingly have been in full-on panic mode since that deflating defeat made possible by late-afternoon collapses on both Saturday and Sunday at Medina Country Club outside Chicago.

Love fended off repeated questions this week about how this team wasn't one to look back. The past was the past, and the Team USA played most of the three-day competition as if 2012 never happened.

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In the best-played match of the day, Phil Mickelson made 10 birdies and Sergio Garcia nine, and they each walked off the 18th green with a half-point when they finished in a draw. Garcia birdied the final four holes to erase a one-hole deficit and at least get something for the Europeans.

"It's obviously heartbreaking. I was out there to get a point, not a half point," Garcia said. "But I gave it everything I had, and I don't think I could have done anything differently. Phil just made (putts) from everywhere and played well."

Rickie Fowler, Brandt Snedeker, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Zach Johnson also won singles matches for the U.S. Players from both teams played remarkably well, including the Americans who lost: Jimmy Walker had six birdies, and Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar had five apiece-and came away with nothing.

Snedeker finished the week with the Americans' best record, 3-0. Koepka was 3-1, and Reed was 3-1-1. All 12 U.S. players scored a point, the first time that has happened since 1975, when the late Arnold Palmer captained the team.

Two rookies came up big for Europe: Thomas Pieters was 4-1 for the week, and Rafa Cabrera Bello was 2-0-1.

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