From Adams’ flawless run to Mickelson’s moral victory, these moments that unfolded at Le Golf National
Dustin Johnson 6-0-3
If four big three-putts do not bring you down, surely Jordan Spieth does? His bogey five handed this title to Bryson DeChambeau but the key moment was his 12th hole, after squandering a half-point in the opening two with a dropped shot. On this occasion, however, DeChambeau was made to pay. Johnson holed out from 113 yards for birdie, putted for a fourth birdie of the round and then closed with a run of three successive pars.
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It is not easy to justify a par on that hole, or indeed any hole here. With three others playing it, and a four-ball ahead, Phil Mickelson had the perfectly simple option of firing at the flag. He was the first man into the water and while he was spared a quadruple-bogey nine, his opening hole will linger for a while. He also made six birdies, including two in a row from 15.
Darren Clarke 4-0-3
One was to be expected. Two big four-ball losses and Clarke was the sentimental favourite. This was also redemption of sorts, a result that vindicated his gamble in putting Tiger Woods in the foursomes on the opening day. The Northern Irishman does not get too worked up about pressure, just enough to avoid rueing the missed opportunities that did not go his way. Nor does he make a lot of grand, oft-repeated pronouncements.
Ian Poulter 3-1-3
Perhaps the two of the biggest fans in the world of golf will not have considered themselves integral to this Ryder Cup. Yet they had one of the biggest cheers of the weekend – after DeChambeau’s final shot, with the crowd erupting in enthusiasm at the sight of the largest sized cheque ever raised by Le Golf National.
Ian Poulter in the crowd with Jordan Spieth on Sunday. Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Five months ago, as he embarked on his eighth Ryder Cup defence, Thomas Bjorn was circumspect about the possibility of glory, saying: “Nothing is impossible.” He got there. A loss was a narrow one, and the European team displayed remarkable character. They held on at the 25th attempt, showing immense leadership and cohesion. Poulter and his team-mates will continue to reap the benefits of this triumph.
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Matthew Fitzpatrick 3-0-3
It was as if this 22-year-old thought he could make it all happen for himself. Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples and Jimmy Walker were in contention at various stages but to a player ranked No90 he seemed destined to outperform them all. He played the leadoff, second, eighth and 12th and no other European managed to better him until Justin Rose beat Spieth. Then it all unraveled. His first dropped shot set the tone, as he made the long way back to the clubhouse and started winning all over the water around the green.
Justin Rose 3-1-3
In Sky’s seven-minute closing snapshot of the final day, only Rose was smiling. Perhaps a reflection of his glorious play. He duly closed out the singles and Europe sealed their biggest comeback in Ryder Cup history. It was redemption for another upset. He also reclaimed the Rolex Rookie of the Year title he took home to his home town of Birmingham in 2015.