Much was made of the touted United States Ryder Cup “task force,” formed in 2014 after Phil Mickelson publicly called for the U.S. squad to “return to the winning formula” of 2008. Much was also made of the “success” of the task force in 2016 after Team USA won the Cup at Hazeltine in Minnesota. Overlooked in 2016 was the relative weakness of the European squad, and the fact that the U.S. and Europe had alternated victories on U.S. soil since 1983, so the winning effort by the U.S. meant nothing changed. The real test would be on European soil.

And the United States failed that test miserably, which is the big story in the U.S. But the truth is Team Europe played wonderful golf at such a high level that it’s doubtful that any 12 non-Europeans could have emerged victorious. And it was only fitting that Francesco Molinari, the reigning Open champion, clinched the Cup after defeating Mickelson in the Sunday singles.

Hats off to Molinari and his teammates Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Alex Noren, Rory McIlroy, Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Jon Rahm, Tyrrell Hatton and Thorbjorn Oleson, not to mention captain Thomas Bjorn. There’s something about Team Europe playing at home that inspires them to be a virtually unbeatable juggernaut. Credit Europe for a job well done.

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