Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines - Europe's
finest golfers, sparked by a record-setting victory for Italy's
Francesco Molinari, recaptured the Ryder Cup on Sunday, denying a
dramatic United States fightback to complete an emotional 17.5-10.5
Reigning British Open champion Molinari defeated five-time major winner Phil Mickelson 4 and 2 as Europe took an insurmountable edge over the favoured Americans in the biennial team showdown at Le Golf National.
"It was amazing," Molinari said. "It's an incredible achievement. We did just an amazing job."
In the process, Molinari - who had been winless in six prior Ryder Cup matches - became the first European and only the fourth player ever to go 5-for-5 in a Ryder Cup and did so just two months after hoisting the Claret Jug.
"It feels great but it's not about me," he said. "It was about time to have them but it's about the group not the individual.
"I couldn't even dream of a summer like this."
Europe had seized a 10-6 edge in Saturday's foursomes and fourballs matches and got the points they needed to swipe the trophy after an early US surge. Every European player won at least once in the event.
"The attitude they had was unbelievable," Europe captain Thomas Bjorn said. "There was a moment when I thought this was going a little bit wrong but when we got our momentum going it went very quickly."
It turned out to be the most lopsided European triumph since an 18.5-9.5 victory at Ireland's K Club in 2006.
The US team needed to match the greatest last-day comebacks in Ryder Cup history by taking eight singles points to keep the Cup, but there was no French magic like Europe's 2012 'Miracle at Medinah' or the Americans' 1999 victory in the 'Battle of Brookline'.
"Their captain did a better job than I did," US captain Jim Furyk said.
"Their players played better. We just have to tip our caps."
The Americans, who haven't won in Europe since 1993, lead the all-time rivalry 26-14 with two drawn but the Europeans' ninth victory in the past 12 attempts gave them an 11-8 with one drawn edge since expansion from a British-Irish squad after 1977.
Americans pulled within 10.5-9.5 before Europe's first singles victory by Danish rookie Thorbjorn Olesen, who beat three-time major winner Jordan Spieth 5 and 4.
Spain's Jon Rahm followed by downing Tiger Woods 2 and 1, keeping the 14-time major champion winless in four matches this week and snuffing out any US momentum.
Rahm, who led after all but one hole, pumped his fists and screamed with joy after his winning four-foot birdie putt left Europe two wins from victory.
"To beat Tiger, one of the greatest players of all time, for the pivotal point, it's the best feeling of my life," Rahm said.
England's Ian Poulter, Europe's wildcard talisman, birdied the 18th hole to beat world number one Dustin Johnson 2-up and put Europe on the brink.
That set the stage for Molinari to clinch the win, making his 5-for-5 history after Mickelson found water at 16 and conceded, setting off a champagne-spraying celebration.
Only Americans Larry Nelson in 1979 and Arnold Palmer and Gardner Dickinson in 1967 had gone 5-for-5 in 41 prior Ryder Cups.
Spain's Sergio Garcia, last year's Masters champion, also made history, beating Rickie Fowler 2 and 1 to reach 25.5 career Ryder Cup points, breaking Nick Faldo's old mark of 25. He credited team spirit with helping the feat.
"The feeling we have with each other and how well we connect, it just makes it a little bit easier," Garcia said.
Matches stood on a knife's edge deep into the afternoon as tension built across the back nine.
Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy found the same bunker twice and water to lose the 18th hole and his match 1-up to US rookie Justin Thomas.
Third-ranked Brooks Koepka, this year's US Open and PGA Championship winner, halved with England's Paul Casey in a match neither led by more than 1-up.
Webb Simpson beat Justin Rose 3 and 2 and US rookie Tony Finau ripped Tommy Fleetwood 6 and 4, ending the Englishman's bid to match Molinari's 5-for-5 feat.
Results in Sunday's singles at the 42nd Ryder Cup between Europe and the United States at Le Golf National:
Europe 17.5 United States 10.5
Justin Thomas (USA) bt Rory McIlroy (Europe) 1-up
Paul Casey (Europe) halved with Brooks Koepka (USA)
Webb Simpson (USA) bt Justin Rose (Europe) 3 and 2
Tony Finau (USA) bt Tommy Fleetwood (Europe) 6 and 4
Thorbjorn Olesen (Europe) bt Jordan Spieth (USA) 5 and 4
Jon Rahm (Europe) bt Tiger Woods (USA) 2 and 1
Ian Poulter (Europe) bt Dustin Johnson (USA) 2-up
Francesco Molinari (Europe) bt Phil Mickelson (USA) 4 and 2
Sergio Garcia (Europe) bt Rickie Fowler (USA) 2 and 1
Patrick Reed (USA) bt Tyrrell Hatton (Europe) 3 and 2
Henrik Stenson (Europe) bt Bubba Watson (USA) 5 and 4
Alex Noren (Europe) bt Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 1-up