Europe have won back the Ryder Cup after a dramatic final day saw a valiant US comeback fall just shy at Rome’s Marco Simone Golf Club. It would be Tommy Fleetwood, playing in the penultimate match, who guaranteed a half-point at least on the 16th to extinguish US hopes once and for all.
Wins by Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy and Tyrrell Hatton, combined with a half-point from Jon Rahm left the hosts in need of just a half-point to reach the crucial 14.5 mark needed to win back the coveted trophy lost in such devastating fashion at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin back in 2021.
Hovland ran out a 4&3 winner over Collin Morikawa to get the first point on the board, and McIlroy and Hatton followed up with 3&1 and 3&2 wins over Sam Burns and Brian Harman respectively.
The day’s opening match went to the wire with Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler exchanging heavyweight slugs throughout, before a superb two-putt on 18 saw Rahm clinch the hole and a vital half-point.
With Justin Rose falling to Patrick Cantlay and Brooks Koepka taking care of Ludvig Aberg, and a sea of red in the games below, the fifth match of Fitzpatrick and Homa was taking on additional importance.
Taking a 1UP lead to the 16th, Homa inexplicably followed Fitzpatrick into the hazard meaning the match headed down 18 where it looked as though the event would be settled there and then as Homa elected to take a penalty drop with Fitzpatrick facing a 12-footer for birdie. Homa’s ensuing chip was exquisite, and when the Englishman missed right, Homa held his nerve to take the point and keep US hopes alive.
Xander Schauffele defeated Nicolai Hojgaard to leave just four matches on the course and when Straka chipped in for eagle on 16, none of the four had more than a single hole separating the two sides.
After losing three of the first five holes, Lowry refused to throw in the towel and battled his way back to all-square after 14. A Spieth birdie on the 15th, was cancelled out by a Lowry birdie on 16, and with Fleetwood securing at least a half-point in the match behind, it was a case of who would officially put the winning score on the board.
Straka fell to Thomas on the 18th, and Lowry made an exceptional up-and-down to win the 17th to take a 1UP lead to 18, and it was between Lowry and Fleetwood for the crowning glory.
It would be Fleetwood who would get the point on the board on 17 with a 3&1 win, but the eventual scoreline won’t do justice to just how tight this Ryder Cup ended up being.