KOHLER, Wis. — The United States, led by a new generation, reclaimed the Ryder Cup on Sunday, thrashing Europe 19-9 to herald what could be an era of domination by the Americans at the biennial competition.
Having romped to a commanding 11-5 advantage after the foursome and fourball sessions, the Americans entered the singles needing just 3 1/2 points to reach the target required to hoist the gold trophy.
Collin Morikawa, a 24-year-old Ryder Cup rookie, ended Europe’s faint hopes of a comeback when he birdied the 17th to go 1-up in his match with Viktor Hovland, guaranteeing the U.S. a deciding half-point.
The youngest member on the U.S. team and a two-time major winner would make it official a few minutes later with a par on 18 to end the match in a tie, sending a thundering chant of “USA, USA” rumbling across Whistling Straits.
“To clinch this and bring it back on home soil feels so good,” said Morikawa, one of six rookies on the 12-man U.S. team. “The guys pulled through; we didn’t let up.”
The 19-9 rout was the largest margin of victory ever in the current 28-point Ryder Cup format, which began in 1979.
It was just the second time in six competitions and third in 10 that the U.S. had claimed golf’s most coveted team title.
Never before in 42 previous Ryder Cups had a team come back from more than a four-point deficit on the final day and the Europeans, while defiant, never threatened to make history.
Given their commanding lead, there were worries about a lack of intensity by the U.S. players, but a raucous crowd on the first tee assured their batteries were fully charged heading out.
Needing something magical, European captain Padraig Harrington turned to a player who had so far provided little of it at Whistling Straits, tasking a winless Rory McIlroy with sparking a European fightback.
McIlroy, who labored so badly in the foursomes and fourballs that Harrington stood down the Northern Irishman for the first time in his Ryder Cup career, was first out against Olympic champion Xander Schauffele and found a spark, going 2-up after four holes and never trailing in a 3 and 2 win.
But behind McIlroy, an American red wave was forming on the scoreboard as Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia and Shane Lowry, who had accounted for most of the European points in the foursomes and fourballs, failed to fire.
Patrick Cantlay defeated Lowry 4 and 2 and Scottie Scheffler slayed Europe’s best Rahm 4 and 3.
Big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau, the crowd favorite with his monster drives, pounded Garcia into submission 3 and 2 to leave the U.S. a half-point from mission accomplished.
Other U.S. wins came from Dustin Johnson, 1-up over Paul Casey, Brooks Koepka, 2 and1 over Bernd Wiesberger, Justin Thomas, 4 and 3 over Tyrell Hatton, and Daniel Berger, 1 up over Matt Fitzpatrick.
Europe also got wins from Ian Poulter, 3 and 2 over Tony Finau, and Lee Westwood over Harris English, 1 up.
Europe’s Tommy Fleetwood and American Jordan Spieth halved their match.