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Ryder Cup: Pumped up Rory McIlroy goes down fighting as USA beats Europe in epic duel

By Liam Kelly

Published 03/10/2016

Europe's Rory McIlroy celebrates his putt on the 6th during the singles matches on day three of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. David Davies/PA Wire.
Europe's Rory McIlroy celebrates his putt on the 6th during the singles matches on day three of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. David Davies/PA Wire.
Europe's Justin Rose celebrates his putt on the 8th to win the hole, during the singles matches on day three of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. David Davies/PA Wire.
United States' J.B. Holmes reacts after winning the second hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup golf tournament Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Europe's Rory McIlroy during the singles matches on day three of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. David Davies/PA Wire.
Europe's Rory McIlroy tees off from the first during the singles matches on day three of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
Europe's Justin Rose celebrates a putt during the Fourballs on day two of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
United States' Phil Mickelson hugs United States' Matt Kuchar after winning their match on the 17th hole during a four-ball match at the Ryder Cup golf tournament Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
United States' Phil Mickelson hugs United States' Matt Kuchar after winning their match on the 17th hole during a four-ball match at the Ryder Cup golf tournament Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
USA's Rickie Fowler checks his phone during the Fourballs on day two of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. David Davies/PA Wire.
Europe's Matthew Fitzpatrick and Europe vice captain Ian Poulter (right) during the Fourballs on day two of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. David Davies/PA Wire.
Europe's Justin Rose and Europe vice captain Padraig Harrington (right) on a buggy after the Fourballs on day two of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. David Davies/PA Wire.
Europe's Henrik Stenson and Europe's Justin Rose during the Fourballs on day two of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
USA's Matt Kuchar during the Fourballs on day two of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
Europe's Justin Rose celebrates a putt during the Fourballs on day two of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
(left to right) Europe's Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Europe vice captain Ian Poulter and Europe's Matthew Fitzpatrick around the 18th during the Fourballs on day two of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. David Davies/PA Wire.
Europe's Lee Westwood misses his putt on the 18th during the Fourballs on day two of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. David Davies/PA Wire.
Europe captain Darren Clarke and Europe's Rory McIlroy watch on the 17th hole during a four-ball match at the Ryder Cup golf tournament Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Europe's Lee Westwood misses his putt on the 18th during the Fourballs on day two of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. David Davies/PA Wire.
USA's Jordan Spieth (right) and USA's Matt Kuchar (second right) during the Fourballs on day two of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler of the United States pose on the first tee with Thomas Pieters and Rory McIlroy of Europe during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Europe's Matthew Fitzpatrick tees off the 1st during the Foursomes on day two of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday October 1, 2016. See PA story GOLF Ryder. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: (EDITORS NOTE: A graduated color filter was used for this image.) Brooks Koepka of the United States hits off the first tee during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: (EDITORS NOTE: A graduated color filter was used for this image.) Thomas Pieters of Europe hits off the first tee during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Rickie Fowler of the United States reacts on the third green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Fans wave American and European flags during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Rory McIlroy of Europe hits off the second tee during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Captain Darren Clarke of Europe speaks to vice-captain Ian Poulter during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Phil Mickelson of the United States hits off the second tee as Rickie Fowler looks on during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Patrick Reed of the United States hits off the first tee during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Rickie Fowler of the United States plays a shot on the second hole during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
(From left to right) USA's Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka pose for a picture with Europe's Matthew Fitzpatrick and Henrik Stenson on the first tee ahead of their Foursomes match on day two of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday October 1, 2016. See PA story GOLF Ryder. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Phil Mickelson of the United States plays a shot on the first hole during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Rory McIlroy of Europe plays a shot on the first hole during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler of the United States react after a shot on the second hole during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Thomas Pieters of Europe looks on from the second green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Rickie Fowler of the United States looks on from the first green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters of Europe react on the second green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters of Europe react on the second green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Rory McIlroy of Europe catches a ball on the third green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Thomas Pieters of Europe reacts on the first green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Rory McIlroy of Europe putts on the third green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler of the United States look on from the first green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Thomas Pieters and Rory McIlroy of Europe react on the fourth green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler of the United States look on from the first green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: European fans cheer along the course during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Rory McIlroy of Europe plays a shot on the third hole during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Bethany Wood walks off the first tee during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: captain Darren Clarke of Europe hugs Rory McIlroy on the first tee during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Henrik Stenson and Matt Fitzpatrick of Europe react on the first tee during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
(From left to right) USA's Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler pose for a picture with Europe's Thomas Pieters and Rory McIlroy ahead of their Fourballs match on day two of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday October 1, 2016. See PA story GOLF Ryder. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Nicole Willett, Erica Stoll and Eva Bossaerts walk off the first tee during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
A USA fan wears a t-shirt with a message for Europe's Rory McIlroy on day two of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday October 1, 2016. See PA story GOLF Ryder. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Rory McIlroy of Europe plays a shot on the range during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy of Europe lines up a putt on the second green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Europe's Rory McIlroy reacts after missing his putt on the 18th during day one of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. : David Davies/PA Wire.
United StatesÄô Patrick Reed reacts after making a putt and winning his match 3 & 2 on the 16th hole during a foresomes match at the Ryder Cup golf tournament Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Europe's Rory McIlroy reacts after missing his putt on the 18th during day one of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. David Davies/PA Wire.
A view of the scoreboard, showing USA 4 up after the morning Foursomes, during day one of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. David Davies/PA Wire.
A view of the scoreboard, showing USA 4 up after the morning Foursomes, during day one of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. David Davies/PA Wire.
Europe's Martin Kaymer and Europe vice captain Ian Poulter on a buggy after the morning Foursomes during day one of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
United StatesÄô Patrick Reed reacts after making a putt and winning his match 3 & 2 on the 16th hole during a foresomes match at the Ryder Cup golf tournament Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Europe's Rory McIlroy reacts after missing his putt on the 18th during day one of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. David Davies/PA Wire.
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Matt Kuchar of the United States rides off the green after winning his round during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Matt Kuchar of the United States walks off the green after winning his round during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Vice-captain Tiger Woods of the United States gives a thumbs up as he walks during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Vice-captain Tiger Woods of the United States gives a thumbs up as he walks during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Lee Westwood of Europe hits off the seventh tee during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Paulina Gretzky looks on during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Dustin Johnson of the United States plays a shot on the sixth hole during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed of the United States line up a putt on the 12th green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Andy Sullivan of Europe reacts to a missed putt on the 16th green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Andy Sullivan of Europe reacts to a missed putt on the 16th green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Sergio Garcia of Europe lines up a putt on the 15th green as fans look on during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler of the United States react at the end of their round during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Phil Mickelson of the United States hits off the 18th tee during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy of Europe throws his putter on the 18th green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy of Europe throws his putter on the 18th green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters of Europe line up a putt on the ninth green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters of Europe line up a putt on the ninth green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters of Europe line up a putt on the ninth green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Vice-captain Tiger Woods and captain Davis Love III of the United States speak during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Vice-captain Tiger Woods and captain Davis Love III of the United States speak during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Lee Westwood of Europe and Dustin Johnson of the United States shake hands at the end of their match during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar of the United States react after a putt on the 14th green to end the match during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: A United States fan looks on during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy of Europe reacts on the 14th green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar of the United States look on from the 14th green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Matt Kuchar of the United States reacts on the eighth green during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Europe's Rory McIlroy (right) and Andy Sullivan (left) during day one of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA.
Europe's Rory McIlroy (right) and Andy Sullivan (left) during day one of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA.
Europe's Rory McIlroy (right) and Andy Sullivan (left) during day one of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA.
European fans during day one of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA.
Erica Stoll and Rory McIlroy of Europe attend the 2016 Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 29, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Vice-captain Padraig Harrington of Europe and Caroline Harrington attend the 2016 Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 29, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Dustin Johnson of the United States sits with Paulina Gretzky during the 2016 Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 29, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Dustin Johnson of the United States sits with Paulina Gretzky during the 2016 Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 29, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Captain Darren Clarke of Europe and his team look on during the 2016 Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 29, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Junior Hailee Cooper of the United States reacts during the 2016 Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 29, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Justine Reed, Nichole Moore, Amy Mickelson, Sybi Kuchar and Becky Edwards wave flags during the 2016 Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 29, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Junior Patrick Welch of the United States reacts during the 2016 Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 29, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Eva Bossaerts, Kate Rose, Emma Stenson, Helen Storey and Nicole Willett wave flags during the 2016 Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 29, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Erica Stoll and Eva Bossaerts look on during the 2016 Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 29, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Henrik Stenson of Europe reacts during the 2016 Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 29, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Vice-captains Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Steve Stricker and Tom Lehman of the United States react during the 2016 Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 29, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Matt Kuchar, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Dustin Johnson, J.B. Holmes, Rickie Fowler and captain Davis Love III of the United States look on during the 2016 Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 29, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Singer Alisan Porter performs the national anthem during the 2016 Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 29, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Captain of Europe, Darren Clarke (C) poses with (L-R) Rafa Cabrera Bello, Andy Sullivan, Thomas Pieters, Danny Willett, Lee Westwood, Chris Wood and Martin Kaymer of Europe before departing Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 ahead of the 2016 Ryder Cup on September 26, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Captain of Europe, Darren Clarke poses with four of his vice-captains (L-R) Thomas Bjorn, Sam Torrance, Paul Lawrie and Padraig Harrington before departing Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 ahead of the 2016 Ryder Cup on September 26, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Vice-Captain of Europe, Paul Lawrie poses with his wife Marian Lawrie as they depart the Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 ahead of the 2016 Ryder Cup on September 26, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Thomas Pieters of Europe poses with his girlfriend Eva Bossearts as they depart the Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 ahead of the 2016 Ryder Cup on September 26, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Rafa Cabrera Bello of Europe poses with his girlfriend Sofia Lundstedt as they depart the Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 ahead of the 2016 Ryder Cup on September 26, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Captain of Europe, Darren Clarke and his wife Alison Clarke pose with the Ryder Cup before departing Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 ahead of the 2016 Ryder Cup on September 26, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Vice-Captain of Europe, Padraig Harrington poses with his wife Caroline Harrington as he departs the Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 ahead of the 2016 Ryder Cup on September 26, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Danny Willett of Europe poses with his wife Nicole Wiillett as they depart the Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 ahead of the 2016 Ryder Cup on September 26, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Vice-Captain of Europe, Padraig Harrington poses with his wife Caroline Harrington before departing Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 ahead of the 2016 Ryder Cup on September 26, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Patrick Reed surfed the waves of American pride, prejudice and passion to emerge with a narrow victory over Europe's talisman Rory McIlroy in the opening match of the Ryder Cup singles.

A superb contest ended in disappointment for McIlroy against the new USA hero, who claimed the first home team point with a 1-up result.

McIlroy, the target for some serious abuse from sections of the American support through the opening two days, was left in no doubt he stood in enemy territory on the first tee.

The chorus of ear-splitting chants and songs in support of Reed, who lapped it all up and encouraged the fans to get louder, could have shattered the nerve of an ordinary golfer.

But McIlroy is no ordinary player. He has assumed the mantle of team leader and accepted the responsibility to perform for Darren Clarke's team with single-minded determination.

This is a different McIlroy. He hasn't just worn his heart on his sleeve, he has reached previously unseen levels of raging, boiling passion, and still produced terrific golf.

Some of the stimulus came from the realisation of how much this team, packed with six rookies, needed the likes of him to get on the front foot, and stay there.

Part of it stemmed from rage at the morons who got carried away and actively tried to intimidate the Europeans into making mistakes, and when they did, cheering every errant drive, approach shot, or putt.

The net result was that McIlroy v Reed came loaded with undercurrents, a feeling this represented something more than just a golf match.

The Northern Irishman, Europe's champion, head to head against the heavyweight streetfighter Reed. USA were leading 9.5 to 6.5 going into the singles, desperate for victory, unable and unwilling to countenance a fourth successive defeat.

The downing of McIlroy would send a powerful vibration of positivity through the already pumped up USA players following in their wake.

In boxing parlance, they threw birdies at each other like stinging jabs, but Reed got in a nice body blow with eagle two on the 352-yard fourth where McIlroy could 'only' birdie.

Cue the Reed special. The face contorts, the roars start at his shoelaces and travel at the speed of light through the body until they erupt from his mouth at maximum decibels.

The fists clench. He almost thumps his chest like a gorilla, but the arms just pump in and out like pistons.

It's something Reed's foursomes and fourball partner Jordan Spieth described on Saturday as "his signature whatever-it-was that he's been doing, the let's-go fist-pump."

But, hey, McIlroy's primeval responses to his own birdies and key shots have been equally dramatic and entertaining, not to mention inspiring for European players and fans.

They certainly brought the best out of each other. Between them, they were seven under-par through seven holes, and all square.

Then came the moment that could arguably save the spirit of this Ryder Cup.

McIlroy's birdie on six had him stomping off the green making the finger-to-the-lips gesture to the opposition fans. His birdie on seven brought more of the same.

But on the eighth hole, 186-yards par-three, something special occurred. McIlroy drained a 60ft putt and the emotions poured out again.

As a huge roar came from the fans - mostly shock for the Americans - he strode up the green, a hand cocked to his ear as he shouted: "I can't hear you, I can't hear you." That got some reaction.

Reed, stubborn cuss that he is, holed his own birdie attempt from 18 feet. Again, the cheers blasted to the heavens. And Rory grinned. And Reed grinned back. This is what it is all about.

The late, great Arnold Palmer would approve. Beat the hell out of each other with sublime golf. Best man wins, no surrender. They had a fist-pump, and walked to the ninth tee with arms briefly around each other's shoulders.

Inevitably, having expended so much nervous energy, the tension levels dropped and in reaction they each bogeyed the ninth. All square through 10 and 11, the holes halved in par.

A couple of wayward shots on each side at the 12th obliged both men to play from greenside bunkers.

McIlroy had a 10-footer for par, but the ball slipped by the hole. Advantage Reed if he could slot his own par putt from eight feet. Yes, he could.

One-up for the American with six to play, marking the first change in score for this match in eight holes.

On the 13th, four-time Major champion McIlroy had a good chance to get back on level terms. Again, the ball narrowly failed to find the target. Still one-down, and now five holes left for play.

At the 14th green, a loudmouth shouted 'miss it' but this time at least McIlroy's ball was on the way to the hole before the call came.

Unfortunately it was another miss. He had to settle for par but then came an escape when Reed's putt to go two-up stayed left and away from the cup.

They passed through 15, each with a par four, where once more Reid spurned an opportunity increase his lead. Three left to play, McIlroy badly needed to find a way to get back on level terms.

He laid up with an eight-iron on the par-five 16th, and then came another spectator interruption. Just as he was about to hit, a guy screamed out, causing the golfer to back off. In fairness some fans booed the ignoramus, but the interruption did not help. McIlroy's pitch came out heavy and well short.

Reed played an exquisite shot from a greenside bunker to inside two feet. McIlroy conceded the birdie, before his own 20-foot birdie attempt missed the target.

Two down with two to play. Reed missed the green at the par-three 17th and his chip came out heavy. The ball rolled down into the rough on the other side.

McIlroy putted tentatively, leaving himself four feet short. His opponent chipped again, but had to accept a bogey four. McIlroy holed to win the hole. All to play for on the par-four 18th, 432 yards long.

The Holywood native left nothing behind as he smashed his drive down into the fairway. Reed followed suit, but well behind McIlroy.

Reed rose to the challenge, producing a magnificent second shot, the ball dead on line and dropping over the pin, to inside five feet.

The European No 1 struck his shot pin high, minimally inside Reed's ball, but the American made no mistake. Match over, a vital point gained.

Belfast Telegraph

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