Watery grave: Mickelson hoping Ryder Cup career isn't over

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The European team missed him as he returned to go 1-1-1. "They understand what we're about, and that's what will do them great going forward".

But this was more about team, and about redemption, even for a team that now has won nine of the last 12 times. Overall, the results were worrisome.

He split up the USA's most successful partnership at Gleneagles and Hazeltine in Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed and, while Spieth won three out of four with Justin Thomas, Reed was terrible paired with Tiger Woods.

Spain's Jon Rahm followed by downing Tiger Woods 2 and 1, keeping the 14-time major champion winless in four matches this week and snuffing out any United States momentum.

"I was not playing my best and I spent more time hitting balls throughout the week than I have all year trying to find something that would click and it's just been a struggle".

And yet the USA were thrashed, put to the sword in such fashion that after winning the first three of Friday morning's fourballs, they lost eight matches in a row, heading home with their third-biggest defeat in history despite arriving with a team as good, by most estimations, as any they have ever sent overseas.

Le Golf National, designed by Hubert Chesneau and constructed 30 years ago on a former landfill site, was created as a "stadium course" with each hole flanked by steep banks and raised walkways offering sweeping views of the action.

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After Englishman Paul Casey took half a point from his match against three-time Major Champion Brooks Koepka to put Europe 10.5-7.5 up, Webb Simpson completed a 3 and 2 win against Justin Rose to reduce America's deficit to two points.

OK, now that's just borderline insane.

"It was clearly the best", said Poulter. But the eye-opening seven-point winning margin was the result of a flawless storm.

"They played some great golf this week, and I take my cap off", Furyk said.

In other words, the lopsided nature of this contest must be considered something of a fluke.

One example: The Euros' ability to harness momentum. It set the stage for the wild European comeback in singles the next day. Although Europe won in the States three times during that period, there can be no question that visiting teams are at a big disadvantage. The Americans, who had gotten off to a 3-0 start in the morning, were immediately on their back foot, and they never recovered.

"The one thing that I'm really happy about is that we've run the Ryder Cup, but all 12 of our players have contributed a point, which I think is really important".

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Thorbjorn Olesen, who had played only one match the previous two days, went 5 up at the turn over Jordan Spieth and won in 14 holes.

And there wasn't much USA captain Jim Furyk could do about it.

Somehow, though, Finau (2-1-0) was the only one to earn any points for the U.S. Mickelson looked lost, Woods exhausted and confused by the greens, and DeChambeau like the victim of circumstances and hot players for Europe. Fleetwood lost his singles match on Sunday, but Molinari triumphed, making him the first European to win five points in a single event.

Despite putting the first red on the board, Thomas' teammates were unable to follow his lead and the 25-year-old admits any individual achievement means nothing in the wake of a team defeat.

Who could have predicted that?

He went 0-4 at Le Golf National after what was an inspired effort to even be part of the US team. He teamed with Tommy Fleetwood for all four points in the team sessions and then easily dispatched the uninspiring Phil Mickelson in singles. In the afternoon Foursomes, where keeping it in play is especially crucial, the US was at 67 percent, Europe at a telling 81 percent. Although the US would miss several putts, their scattershot ways off the tees proved especially damaging to their chances while falling behind 10-6 in Foursomes and Four-balls.

"The hope is that the great performances of Francesco were only a warm-up for the Ryder Cup in Rome", said Franco Chimenti, president of the Italian Golf Federation.

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Team Europe captain Thomas Bjorn looks on as Rory McIlroy lifts the trophy in celebration after winning the Ryder Cup.