Monday, October 03, 2016

Ryder Cup: Darren Clarke concedes USA 

were better team at Hazeltine

Darren Clarke admitted that USA fully deserved their 17-11 victory at Hazeltine.
Darren Clarke admitted that USA fully deserved their 17-11 victory at Hazeltine.
Darren Clarke was gracious in defeat and admitted Europe had been beaten by the better team after the USA stormed to a 17-11 win at the Ryder Cup on Sunday
Clarke's bid to steer Europe to an unprecedented fourth consecutive victory floundered at Hazeltine National as his side could not recover from a disastrous 4-0 whitewash in the opening foursomes session on Friday morning.

The holders did reduce the deficit to one point after a spirited fightback, but Team USA took the final four-balls session 3-1 to establish a three-point lead which rarely looked under threat during the 12 singles matches.
Europe won three of the first five points on Sunday, but Martin Kaymer was the only other player to put blue on the board in the remaining matches as Davis Love's team ran out convincing winners.
"I couldn't be more proud of the guys that I'm surrounded with, they did everything I asked of them," said Clarke. "They tried their heart out, they worked hard and they fought hard.
"But the bottom line is that Davis's team holed a few more putts than we did, and they played better. So when it comes to it, the American Ryder Cup team deserved to win this Ryder Cup. We're all gutted and disappointed, but we will be back stronger to fight in two years' time in Paris."
Clarke also hinted that he regretted splitting the pairing of Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello for Saturday's crucial four-balls session, although he confirmed his line-up when the Spaniards were heading for a heavy defeat against Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth.
They staged a remarkable fightback over the closing holes to snatch a half, but Clarke had already opted to leave Cabrera Bello out of the four-balls and Garcia partnered Martin Kaymer in a 2 and 1 defeat to Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar.
Asked if he would change any of his decisions this week, Clarke told Sky Sports: "No. I really wouldn't. The only one I possibly may have changed was yesterday's pairings, which had to be in by 11.30 and there were still matches on the course.
"I've had a wonderful group of vice-captains helping me every step of the way and we've made all our decisions together. This doesn't happen overnight, 18 months of planning goes into it.
"I just think this week the Americans have putted that much better and that makes all the difference between winning and losing. Congratulations to Davis and we'll try to win it back on our own patch in two years' time."

EDITOR: Russell Knox would not have made a game-changing difference to the European line-up but the Scot should have been one of Darren Clarke's captain's picks .. ahead of Lee Westwood and arguably most of the others. 

Seventeen points is the highest number a US Ryder Cup team had scored in 35 years, an affirmation of so much that their captain Davis Love and his 11-man task-force did, an evisceration of a European team with three great players but too many who faltered in the fierce early autumn heat.

If the performances of Lee Westwood served as the biggest disappointment for Darren Clarke, a close friend of the former world number one, Europe's captain also had reason to regret another of his wildcard picks.
Martin Kaymer, the man who holed the winning putt to round off the 'Miracle of Medinah' in the previous Ryder Cup to be played on American soil, managed just a solitary point from four matches this time around and that was gained after Europe had given up the trophy.
Kaymer twice suffered defeat alongside Sergio Garcia in the four-ball format, while his sole foursomes outing, with Willett, resulted in a 5 and 4 thrashing at the hands of Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka.
The German has not won a tournament since securing a second major title at the 2014 U.S. Open and appeared a shadow of his former self at Hazeltine.



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