Golf

Thomas Bjorn holding the trophy.

Thomas Bjorn inspired Team Europe to Ryder Cup glory by making tattoo promise

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Rookie Jon Rahm produced a pivotal victory over Tiger Woods and history-maker Francesco Molinari fittingly secured the winning point as Europe regained the Ryder Cup.

Europe’s 10-6 overnight lead meant they needed just four and a half points from the 12 singles matches for a ninth win in the last 12 biennial contests, but Justin Thomas gave Jim Furyk’s side an early boost with victory over Rory McIlroy in the opening match.

And when Webb Simpson beat Justin Rose 3&2 and Tony Finau thrashed the previously unbeaten Tommy Fleetwood 6&4, the gap was down to a single point and American hopes of a repeat of the comeback at Brookline in 1999 were very much alive.

However, Thorbjorn Olesen, who was left out of Saturday’s action by fellow Dane and Europe captain Thomas Bjorn, then thrashed three-time major winner Jordan Spieth 5&4 and Rahm picked a perfect time to win his first match and leave Woods without a single point.

Two up with three to play, Rahm handed Woods a lifeline by three-putting the 16th, but then smashed a wonderful 356-yard drive down the 17th and hit his approach to three feet to set up a winning birdie.

“There is a lot going on for me right now,” Rahm said. “The memory of Seve (Ballesteros) and my grandpa, who would have loved to be here, who passed away at the (US) PGA.

“To beat Tiger, one of the all-time greats, if not the greatest, on the Sunday, at a pivotal point, it is the best feeling of my life.”

With several matches on the verge of finishing in Europe’s favour it was just a case of who would secure the winning point and Ian Poulter took his side to the brink of victory by beating world number one Dustin Johnson on the 18th.

And fittingly it was Molinari who had the honour of officially securing the win, beating Phil Mickelson 4&2 when the American dumped his tee shot into the water on the 16th to suffer a record 22nd defeat in the contest.

2018 Ryder Cup - Singles Matches

Molinari becomes the first European player to compile a perfect 5-0 record in the contest, with American Larry Nelson the only other to do so in 1979.

However, in the aftermath of the tournament, a few of the European players revealed where some true motivation came from - a tattoo promise from captain Bjorn.

“You might all see – I don’t know when it’s going to get done, but we had some extra motivation this week to make sure we put our hands back on that trophy,” Ian Poulter told a press conference.

“As little or big as that number is going to be; it will be a very interesting number to see.”

2018 Ryder Cup - Singles Matches

Sergio Garcia asked if it would be a “number or an image” to which Poulter responded “the score”.

“We still have to work in the initials of the players,” added Garcia.

Rory McIlroy then got involved himself by saying: “There could be a visit to a tattoo parlour coming soon for Mr Bjorn on his head.”

Talking about the tattoo, Bjorn said: “Let me put it this way, it’s going to go on a part that only Grace will see,” he said. “I might have to send them a picture, well, then you’ll all see it as well, I guess.

“The worst decision I made all week.”

Topics:
Francesco Molinari
Ryder Cup
Sergio Garcia
Justin Rose
Rory McIlroy
Ian Poulter
Golf

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