Europe defeated the US to regain the Ryder Cup after a dominant opening set of singles performances on Sunday at the Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome.
Luke Donald’s side took revenge for the harrowing defeat in Whistling Straits two years ago, beating an American team that had been constantly trying to regain ground throughout the competition.
Europe needed just four points in the final session to clinch the Ryder Cup trophy, having built up their early lead built on day one over the remainder of the weekend.
Tommy Fleetwood guaranteed Europe half a point and the Ryder Cup when Rickie Fowler conceded on the 16th to hand the hosts the half point required for the title win.
Rory McIlroy bounced back as a superstar from his feud with Patrick Cantlay’s caddy on Saturday night, sparked by the American staffer’s refusal to get out of the way as he tried to putt the ball.
Team Europe regained the Ryder Cup after completing a dominant weekend performance against the USA
Tommy Fleetwood guaranteed Europe half a point on the 16th hole to secure the Ryder Cup
Viktor Hovland (pictured) scored Europe’s first point of the day after beating Colin Morikawa
Jon Rahm (pictured) saved half a point for Europe in his headline round against Scottie Scheffler
Rahm (left) and Scheffler (right) drew their singles matches as Europe moved closer to victory
Europe captain Luke Donald transformed the team during his time in charge to lead them to a magical Ryder Cup victory
Jon Rahm sparked Sunday’s title surge when he took an early lead against Scottie Scheffler before being caught in a hard-fought match.
Scheffler missed a match-winning putt on the 17th when the ball squirreled just wide of the drop, giving Rahm a chance to recover on the final hole.
The Spaniard did just that, with his sheer drive to level the match against Scheffler in a battle between two golfing giants fit for the nearby Roman amphitheater. An equal point, the creditable outcome.
Viktor Hovland enjoyed a more comfortable match against Colin Morikawa, taking a two-go lead on the front nine and continuing to impress down the back half of the course to seal Europe’s first full point of the day.
The Norwegian overcame his American opponents to record a dominant 4&3 victory and put some blue on the board at a crucial stage in proceedings to move Europe within three points of Ryder Cup victory.
America looked to fight back, with Patrick Cantlay impressing in a 2&1 win over Justin Rose as the visitors reached seven league points, but they needed seven more to seal what would have been an astonishing victory.
Only two and a half more points were needed for the hosts and McIlroy wanted to make sure he was there to help Europe take victory by producing a sensational round against Sam Burns.
The Northern Irishman’s outstanding performance was an ode to the saying ‘don’t poke the sleeping lion’, McIlroy was poked by America on Saturday evening and roared with vengeance to thrash his opponent.
Team USA’s players earned dismal marks as they failed to complete a sensational comeback
Rory McIlroy dominated on Sunday afternoon as he defeated Sam Burns in a 3&1 win
McIlroy’s victory brought Europe within a point and a half of victory in the Ryder Cup
Tyrrell Hatton punched the air in delight as his win brought Europe within half a point of the Ryder Cup
The 34-year-old broke down in tears after his exploits and admitted he used Saturday night’s incident to propel him to a fourth win of the weekend. His best Ryder Cup and a real leader for Europe.
Only one and a half points were needed and Tyrrell Hatton was on hand to add another by beating Georgia-born Brian Harman 3&2.
Hatton’s brilliant bunker shot on the 16th put him within a yard of the hole and Harman’s miss gave the Englishman a deserved victory.
Europe was so close, but a look at the scoreboard showed they were still so far away, with the US leading the way in the next four games on the Italian route.
Matt Fitzpatrick had the chance to win the Ryder Cup for Europe in his match with Max Homa, but missed his putt as his attempt went just wide.
Homa produced a perfect chip to put him close to the pin and held his nerve to tap in and get the win and take America to nine points.
Xander Schauffele secured another victory for America as he defeated Nicolai Hojgaard 3&2, while reigning American PGA champion Brooks Koepka played in a 3&2 victory against Ludvig Aberg 3&2 as America looked to continue in their quest for a dream comeback.
Max Homa (pictured) held back the nerve to deny Matt Fitzpatrick won the Ryder Cup on the 18th
However, Fleetwood was ready to undermine American ambitions after producing perhaps the best tee shot of his career at the par three 16th and giving him two chances to win the hole after Ricky Fowler lopsided his attempt into the water put.
His first was placed within a meter of the hole and Fowler gave him the hole that sealed the victory, although Europe would have to wait until the official result was awarded.
An emotional Shane Lowry guaranteed another half-point to take Europe to 15 points overall as he sank a wicked 15-foot putt on the 17th hole to take a lead against Jordan Spieth.
Fleetwood would then take advantage of a crumbling Fowler to win their rounds 3 and 1 and further cement Europe’s dominance as they regained the Ryder Cup before Lowry added another half-point to complete a nerve-wracking final day in Rome.