The Ryder Cup may be switching hands, but it's staying on European soil.
As the 42nd edition of the Ryder Cup wrapped up, it was all smiles for Team Europe as they raised the trophy thanks to a truly dominant performance over the United States. Team USA can't seem to figure out the formula to win overseas — they have not claimed the trophy in Europe since 1993.
The tournament was sealed on the final day as Phil Mickelson hit a ball into the water on the 16th hole, giving the win to his opposition, Francesco Molinari and Team Europe.
Victory never looked in doubt for the Europeans at Le Golf National, as they led 10-6 through two days and didn't seem to falter. For the Americans, however, the defeat comes as a surprise thanks to under-performance — Team USA's top five players went 10-15-1 on the weekend.
Here are the main takeaways from the Ryder Cup 2018:
Molinari is on Fire
If Francesco Molinari keeps this up, nobody is going to want to see his face in a major tournament next year. The reigning champion of The Open, Molinari set fire once again to European soil with an awe-inspiring performance for Team Europe.
The Italian became the first European since the competition was adapted in 1979 to go 5-0 throughout the weekend. His domination in France also put him up there with Arnold Palmer, Gardner Dickinson and Larry Nelson as the only players to sweep all of their matches in the Ryder Cup.
While much can be said about Molinari's performance, an equal amount of credit also needs to be thrown to his 'tag-team' partner, Tommy Fleetwood. The pairing became the first European duo to win all four of their matches, and the second team ever to accomplish the feat.
The victory put Molinari on his third Ryder Cup-winning squad, a accolade he considers "so much more than majors."
And while eyes now turn to the 2020 Ryder Cup, Molinari will set his gaze towards 2022, when the tournament returns to his home nation of Italy.
Sergio Garcia is an All-Time Great
2017 will always be the year that defines Sergio Garcia's golf career. It was the year that got he fitted for a Green Jacket. It was the year that made it all worth it for the almost two-decade PGA Tour veteran.
But a career retrospective for the Spaniard may shine light on 2018 as well, since it is the year that he became the all-time points leader in Ryder Cup history.
Garcia entered this year's tournament as a captain's pick for Team Europe by Thomas Bjorn following a difficult 2018 campaign, but brought his A-game throughout the weekend, going 3-1 and defeating Rickie Fowler on Sunday.
But, most importantly, Garcia now tops the Ryder Cup leaderboard with 25.5 all-time points. If he wasn't already, Garcia's performance cements him as one of the greatest international players to ever step on to a golf course.
A Finale for Phil
If this truly is it, then it's been quite the ride for Phil Mickelson in the Ryder Cup. A mainstay of every U.S. Ryder Cup team since 1994, Mickelson's swan song was likely sung on Sunday as he failed to upend Molinari in one-on-one play. The famed lefty went 0-2 on the weekend, including a benching in both matches on Saturday, failing to justify his inclusion in the team after being added as a captain's pick by Jim Furyk.
He isn't to blame for a poor U.S. outing overall, but Mickelson's uninspiring performance didn't lift any spirits as well. If anything, it showed that the 48-year old may be exiled from his biennial spot come 2020 for any name among the impressive abundance of young, 20-something strikers littering the game for the Americans.
Mickelson will be remembered as an American face in the Ryder Cup, not because of production, but more as a symbol. To be fair, his 18-22-7 lifetime record at the competition isn't blowing anyone away, plus he holds the most all-time match defeats at the competition (22), but it's hard not to associate him with the U.S. team after donning the red, white and blue for almost two-and-a-half decades.
Tiger Woods was Exhausted
That's not a fact, nor an excuse, but rather an observation. After claiming victory at The Tour Championship, his first in over five years, a week prior, golf's biggest name didn't look game for whatever was being offered at Le Golf National.
Woods has played in a lot of tournaments in the back half of the season, and the fatigue started to show. His 18 tournaments this year mark his highest total since 2012, with two back surgeries to bridge to the gap between.
He finished the weekend at 0-4, his worst ever performance in eight Ryder Cup appearances. The result puts him at 21 all-time match defeats at the Ryder Cup, only behind Mickelson for most ever. While it wasn't an abysmal performance by any means, Woods didn't have the umph that normally coincides with his drive from the tee.
Most Ryder Cup match defeats:— bet365 (@bet365) September 30, 2018
Tiger Woods - 21
Phil Mickelson - 22
They were both Jim Furyk's wildcard picks. pic.twitter.com/CDcQH5vtYd
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