Ryder Cup 2014 review: Europe 16.5-11.5 USA

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Europe have won the 40th Ryder Cup by beating USA 16.5-11.5 at Gleneagles.

It's the eighth victory in 10 events for the Europeans as the American were brushed aside by Paul McGinley's men.

Damage already done

In truth, the damage had already been in the first two days with Europe taking a 10-6 lead into the final day and with the energetic home crowd, that deficit was always going to hard to overturn.

However, at times during Sunday it looked as though America could emulate the 'miracle at Medinah' by creating their own miraculous comeback when the projected score was at 14-14 at one stage.

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But Rory McIlroy and co. were having none of it and held their nerve to seal a relatively nerve-free victory in the end.

It was the foursomes where America lost the Ryder Cup. Europe took seven from a possible eight points during the foursome format with the US only securing a point by taking a half in each afternoon.

Watson to blame?

Captain Tom Watson must also take some blame for some questionable decisions over the weekend. The idea to pair rookies Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed during Friday morning's fourball was brave. But it certainly paid off as they strolled to a 5&4 victory over debutant Stephen Gallacher and Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter.

The American duo's confidence must have been sky high having experienced their first taste of the Ryder Cup and winning with such ease. The afternoon session couldn't come soon for them so they could continue where they left off. But Watson decided that the young pairing needed a rest after playing just 14 holes.

Instead Watson chose Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley to continue their partnership after they had been involved in a tough battle with McIlroy and Sergio Garcia in the morning.

Mickleson's struggles

However Mickelson, who was making his tenth Ryder Cup appearance, looked fatigued in the afternoon as the 44-year old and Bradley lost to Victor Dubuisson and Graeme McDowell.

Another decision Watson himself admitted he got wrong was to continue with Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker for four consecutive sessions. Fowler and Walker had halved all three of their matches on Friday and Saturday morning but it was clearly evident that tiredness had kicked in when they were thrashed by Dubuisson and McDowell 5&4. And Mickelson? Well Watson had clearly realised his error by playing him on Friday afternoon and surprisingly excluded 'lefty' from action on Saturday.

But let's not focus on why America lost it. Let's focus on how Europe won it.

Rose blooms

Justin Rose will undoubtedly and deservedly get the plaudits after playing all five sessions and remaining unbeaten. Rose earned his side four points from a possible five after three wins and two halves meaning he was the highest point scorer in the event.

Rose and Stenson formed a formidable partnership on Friday by beating Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson 5&4 in the fourball and then Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson 2&1 in the foursomes.

They made it three out of three after defeating Watson and Kuchar 3&2 in Saturday's fourballs before Stenson was rested due to a sore back.

But Rose was determined to remain unbeaten as he and Kaymer managed to half the match against Spieth and Reed on the final hole during Saturday's foursomes and he did the same on the 18th against Mahan in Sunday's singles.

McIlroy magic

But the standout performer during the final day was without doubt the world number one; Rory McIlroy. The Northern Irishman seemed to have a tough match against America's Rickie Fowler who had pushed him hard to win the US PGA Championship earlier this year.

But McIlroy started brilliantly winning five of the first six holes as he went birdie, eagle, birdie, par, birdie, birdie. The match was over already and the 25-year was able to earn Europe's first point of the day after just 14 holes. Although Fowler may have been feeling the effects of playing every session, no-one could have competed against McIlroy in this form.

A magnificent comeback triumph from McDowell gave Europe their second point of the final day after the Northern Irishman found himself three holes down after just five holes. That deficit remained into the back nine but McDowell won five holes in six to complete a brilliant turnaround.

With wins from McIlroy, McDowell and a convincing 4&2 win from Martin Kaymer over Bubba Watson it was down to rookie Jamie Donaldson to seal victory.

Donaldson's delight

The Welshman had won two of his three matches during Friday and Saturday and his superb iron shot on the 15th sealed a 4&3 triumph over Bradley to spark wild scenes. It was a dream way to finish his first experience of the Ryder Cup.

It was yet another enthralling Ryder Cup. But Europe, led by the sensational Rory McIlroy and the sublime Justin Rose, coped much better during the foursomes format which was the real difference between the two sides.

Watson may regret some of his selection decisions over the weekend but must admit that the US were simply beaten by a better team.

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