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An emotional Steve Stricker led the USA to a record-breaking Ryder Cup victory in his home state of Wisconsin, then declared: This is my major.
The 54-year-old beamed with pride after watching his talented side inflict a 19-9 humbling upon Padraig Harrington’s European side to regain the famous gold trophy at Whistling Straits.
Leading 11-5 at the close of play on Saturday, the Americans required just three-and-a-half points from the 12 on offer in the Sunday singles to complete a second consecutive victory on home soil.
In the end, they took eight of them to win by an unprecedented margin in the modern era of the competition, completing what has already passed into golfing as the ‘Whipping at Whistling’ and leaving their captain ‘speechless’.
“These guys all came together,” said Stricker. “They all showed up for the practice rounds, all the assistant captains showed up at the practice rounds.
“They had a mission this week and you could tell, they played great and they came together. I just can’t tell you — I mean, Brooks and Bryson wanted to play together; that’s how much it came together. That shows a lot about this whole team.”
Stricker, who has now captained the US to huge wins in both the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, hailed the win as the start of a ‘new era for USA golf’.
He has a point.
His side joins the European teams of 2004 and 2006 as the only Ryder Cup teams since 1979 not to lose a session. They’re also the first US team not to lose one since 1977.
The six rookies on his team, meanwhile, went 14-4-3, posting the highest ‘points per match’ average of a group of rookies in the modern era.
Securing victory in the fifth singles match is also the earliest a US Ryder Cup win has been assured since 1981. Every player won a match before the singles, too.
“They are young,” said Stricker of his players. “They come with a lot of passion, a lot of energy, a lot of game. They are just so good. So it’s exciting to see these guys and exciting for us in Wisconsin to experience this.”
Stricker’s joy was in stark contrast to the disappointment of his counterpart Padraig Harrington.
The Irishman joins Sir Nick Faldo and Darren Clarke as the only European captains to lose the Ryder Cup in the 21st century.
“Of course we’re disappointed but the US played well,” said the three-time major champion. “They got their plan right. They got some momentum going. They started well. They just out-played us at the end of the day.
“They would have been tough to beat at the best of times, let alone when they are at top form. It’s a great win for them.”
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