Europe thrashed the USA to win the Ryder Cup in a battle of egos, claims captain Thomas Bjorn.
As so often in sport, a team of superstars failed to gel for the Americans, while a team of hard fighting players combined to win by playing better than the sum of their parts.
On paper, the Americans were expected to wipe the floor with Europe and take home the trophy.
In a side packed with golf galacticosand calling on greats like Tiger Woods to bolster the team, Europe looked to have little chance on the course in Paris.
But it didn’t quite work like that.
No superstars in our team
The plan held together until Friday’s afternoon session. The Americans went in at lunch with a 3-1 lead that was soon overturned and things should have got better, but they got worse.
The word leaking out of the US dressing room hinted that Jordan Spieth did not want to play with Patrick Reed, despite the pair previously winning five points together, while Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson reportedly had a bust-up.
The US picked 11 of the world’s top 17 players.
“There’s no superstars in our team,” said Bjorn. “When they are in the team room, they leave egos at the door.
Tiger fails to roar
“When you look at the stars in world golf like Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia that have achieved many great things, they never come into that team environment and feel they are more than anyone else.
“They lift each other together. I’ve seen it time and time again in European team rooms, and this one was right up there with the best.”
The Europeans piled the pressure on USA, with Italian Francesco Molinari celebrating as the first European player to score a maximum five points at a Ryder Cup.
In contrast, Tiger Woods came to the match off the back of a fine win in the US – his first major title for five years – but failed to light his blue touch paper when push came to shove on the greens.
McIlroy summed up the European attitude: “”There’s something about this group of guys. There’s a continuity in our group that maybe the other side don’t quite have.”