Three reasons the USA defeated Europe


Davis Love III may not have been too far off when he called this United States line-up "the best team ever assembled" before the 41st Ryder Cup started.

The USA cruised to their largest Ryder Cup victory since 1981 with a 17-11 triumph over Europe at Hazeltine.

It was in Sunday's singles matches that the hosts' greater strength in depth was at its most apparent, with five of the last six matches yielding American winners.

After jubilant scenes greeted Ryan Moore's match-clinching point against Lee Westwood, we take a look at three key reasons why the USA tasted victory for the first time since 2008.


Patrick Reed was in the zone

It has been a long time since the USA found someone willing and able to play in all five sessions while taking on Europe's best players. Reed did that and he played terrific golf all weekend while compiling a 3-1-1 record.

The loss came on Friday afternoon when Reed and Jordan Spieth ran into the inspired duo of Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose. Aside from that, and a late collapse that allowed Sergio Garcia and Rafael Cabrera Bello to salvage an unlikely half on Saturday, Reed was the bulldog USA fans have craved in the Ryder Cup since the likes of Lanny Wadkins and Hale Irwin.

In a pressure-packed singles match, Reed defeated Rory McIlroy 1up with another huge putt on the 18th green. Love called on Reed time and again, and on each occasion he stepped up to the plate. 


The task force's game plan worked every step of the way

Whether the name sticks or not, the organisation of men helping to bring the cup back to the USA succeeded in everything it set out to accomplish. Not only did the USA emerge victorious, but they did it in convincing fashion, too, proving to be the deeper, more balanced team.

Phil Mickelson spearheaded the new committee after feeling left out of the decision-making process two years ago at Gleneagles. Mickelson looked much more relaxed this week, despite being under enormous pressure, and it was evident the players and vice captains had a very strong role inside the locker room.

Everything from the captains' picks, to the pairings, to the understanding of when to rest players and when to ride the throughout all five sessions, proved that the US leaders made all the right decisions.


Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Brandt Snedeker produced magical golf

Mickelson, in particular, proved all the skeptics saying he was too old, or handled the task-force situation with too much aggression, wrong this weekend.

The 46-year-old star made 10 birdies in an epic singles showdown against Garcia that ended in a dramatic share of the spoils after both players sunk birdie putts on 18. Koepka answered the call in his first Ryder Cup by finishing with a 3-1 record, including a convincing 5 and 4 win against Masters champion Danny Willett. 

Then there was Snedeker. Maybe a forgotten man, or at least an overlooked one, when analysts were talking about the squad before the competition started. Snedeker proved to be a solid mentor to Koepka and took care of his own business in a 3 and 1 win against Englishman rookie Andy Sullivan. 

In honour of the passing of Arnold Palmer, one of golf's greatest legends, it is safe to say the USA played with an extra bit of emotion and determination this week. Winning the Ryder Cup for the first time in eight years, and doing so in a respectful manner, was a great tribute to 'The King.'