Europe stifles U.S. charge, wins Ryder Cup to extend home winning streak

Europe’s English golfer, Tommy Fleetwood celebrates the winning putt on the 17th green during his singles match against US golfer, Rickie Fowler on the final day of play in the 44th Ryder Cup at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome on October 1, 2023.

Europe was able to hang on to a huge lead during Sunday singles to win the 2023 Ryder Cup over the U.S. at Marco Simone outside of Rome.

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On Sunday at the Ryder Cup, Scottie Scheffler had the opportunity to start a rally and give the U.S. a fighting chance to pull off an unthinkable comeback.

For 17 holes in his lead-off match against Jon Rahm — a rematch of a Scheffler victory at Whistling Straits from 2021 — he did his job. He walked to the 18th tee with a 1-up lead, hoping to send a message to his teammates behind him, five of whom were leading their matches. In a Ryder Cup that threatened to become a blowout after the first day, the U.S. had a path to victory.

But it wasn’t to be. With Rahm on the finishing par-5 green in two, Scheffler played his chip from the right of the green too far and watched it roll long. Rahm then put his 90-footer for eagle to tap-in range, forcing Scheffler to chip in to secure a crucial full point for the U.S.

The chip rolled just low of the cup and the American rally was squashed before it could even start.

“I told myself I wasn’t going to look. It’s hard not to see the scoreboards, right?” Rahm said afterward. “I’m sitting looking at my putt and the scoreboards are right in my way. So it’s hard not to catch yourself lingering. But I think I did a really good job at the end. Seeing those scores, refocused at the task at hand.”

Seemingly right on cue, roars started popping up from all over Marco Simone, and after Rahm’s tie and Viktor Hovland’s win over Collin Morikawa earlier, a European victory became almost inevitable.

Despite a run of U.S. wins through the middle of the lineup to make things tighter than it appeared, Tommy Fleetwood went 2 up with two to play against Rickie Fowler to assure the Europeans a clinching half-point for their seventh straight home victory in the Ryder Cup. He made it official one hole later with a victory.

“I really didn’t want to come down to one of us at the back but look, I can’t wait to see the rest of the guys,” Fleetwood, who played in the second to last match, said after closing out the win. “Just so happened to play a part in. It was a bit bigger than I thought I was going to have when we saw the draw. But just so proud of being part of this team.”

A European victory looked like a sure thing straight from the opening session of the 44th matches, when the home team opened with 4-0 sweep Friday morning. The lead only grew until Saturday afternoon when the Americans finally took the last fourballs session. However, it was too little too late as Europe went into Sunday singles needing only four points to reclaim the Cup after the U.S. thumped the visitors in 2021.

While the U.S. rallied around Patrick Cantlay after his decision not to wear a hat this week sparked controversy and many Americans took leads early in the day. But with Hovland closing out Morikawa on the 15th green and Rahm removing the American flag by grinding out a tie with Scheffler, it was basically over.

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Cantlay put a full U.S. point on the board by beating Justin Rose 2 and 1, but then Rory McIlroy earned his fourth point of the week by beating Sam Burns 3 and 1. Less than 45 minutes later, Tyrrell Hatton put away Brian Harman 3 and 2 to leave Europe just a half point shy of the win.

Matt Fitzpatrick had a chance to clinch it with a gutty half-point against Max Homa after the Englishman was 2 down with three to play, but Homa kept the U.S. hopes alive by getting up and down on the 18th hole after taking an unplayable.

The late run continued with wins by Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, but Rickie Fowler knocked his tee shot in the water on the drivable par-4 16th. That allowed Fleetwood to win the hole with a conceded birdie and assure his team the half-point that put them over the top.

“This is the best,” European captain Luke Donald said. “This is why the Ryder Cup is so special to me and to these guys because of these moments. We play for each other and we get to share in that success together, and we get to spend this week together and we’ll share those memories forever.”

Fleetwood made it official with a win on 17, making the other two matches on the course — Jordan Spieth vs. Shane Lowry (tied) and Wyndham Clark vs. Robert MacIntyre (MacIntyre 2 and 1) — inconsequential as they finished to make it a 16.5-11.5 win for Europe.

“Me, Tommy and Bob joked this morning, hopefully it doesn’t come down to us,” Lowry said after finishing his match with Spieth, “and it did, and thankfully Tommy did the business and the rest was just celebration.”

Jack Hirsh Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at