The United States came from behind to beat rivals Costa Rica 2-1 in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying on Wednesday.

Sergino Dest scored a stunning goal as a youthful USA side overturned an early deficit to bounce back from their shock loss in Panama – the nation's first defeat during the 2022 qualifying campaign.

With an average age of 22 years and 229 days, USA's starting XI was the youngest fielded by the country in a World Cup qualifying fixture midweek.

USA faced an early test in Columbus after Keysher Fuller's volley found a way past goalkeeper Zack Steffen and into the back of the net in just the first minute.

A moment of brilliance from 20-year-old Dest restored parity for Gold Cup champions USA in the 25th minute – the Barcelona full-back drifted onto his left foot on the edge of the penalty area and fired a powerful strike into the top corner.

Gregg Berhalter's USA completed their comeback with 24 minutes remaining at Lower.com Field.

Costa Rica's Leonel Moreira – who replaced Keylor Navas at half-time – was unable to keep out Timothy Weah's shot at the near post.

USA moved level with arch-rivals Mexico on 11 points before El Tri face El Salvador on the road to Qatar 2022.

Panama celebrated a famous win as Sunday's 1-0 victory gave them their first CONCACAF World Cup qualifying triumph over the United States.

USA entered the away fixture unbeaten in eight World Cup qualifiers against Panama, including six wins, and enjoying a 13-match undefeated streak across all competitions.

But Panama had other ideas thanks to Anibal Godoy, whose 54th-minute header secured an unlikely victory in Panama City on the road to Qatar 2022.

In wild scenes, Godoy – who plays in MLS for Nashville – headed home Eric Davis' corner at the near post.

It was a rough outing for Gold Cup champions USA, who appeared out of sorts having failed to produce a single shot on target throughout the fixture at Estadio Rommel Fernandez.

Panama are now level with leaders USA and Mexico on eight points, though El Tri are due to face Honduras on Sunday.

Europe captain Padraig Harrington was upbeat despite his team's record Ryder Cup loss to the United States, insisting the visitors could walk away from Whistling Straits with their heads held high.

Harrington's Team Europe were no match for hosts USA, dethroned following a record-breaking 19-9 defeat in Wisconsin on Sunday.

USA claimed the Ryder Cup by a record margin, surpassing the previous 18.5 - 9.5 victory at Walton Heath Golf Club in 1981.

Europe were outclassed from the outset and Steve Stricker's USA sealed victory in just the fifth match of the scheduled 12 singles showdowns on the final day.

Team Europe had won seven of the past nine editions of the biennial event but failed to recover from a six-shot disadvantage heading into the final day as USA reigned supreme and despite the heavy defeat, Harrington could not fault his players.

"I was not aware of it until it became close," Harrington said of USA's record-winning margin. "And then I did actually have to ask. I was involved in the last two that were records [grimacing] but on the right side of it.

"Look, somebody has to. That's the way it goes. This was a very strong US Team. Everybody here gave 100 per cent, and pulled together, everybody worked together this week. There's nobody walking away from this week, and I will talk to each player individually: Nobody didn't give their heart and soul to this team.

"We don't owe anybody anything in that sense. They all tried. They all put it in. And you know, there will be more Ryder Cups ahead. Most of them – as I just said before, most of them have the best part of their career ahead of them, there's no doubt about that. So they shouldn't walk away from this in any shape or form feeling like, hey, they gave it 100 per cent. That's all you can ask from the players.

"Did they do their job? Yes, they did. It didn't go right, but that happens in sport. Just remember, you know, if you want to have these glorious moments, you've got to put your head out there, and sometimes it doesn't go right. You get your head knocked off.

"That's just the reality of sport. If you put yourself out there, you'll have some miserable days, but also, if you put yourself out there, you'll have those thrilling days when you win."

 

Steve Stricker lauded Team USA's "special group" after the United States captain oversaw a record-breaking 19-9 win over Europe.

USA claimed the Ryder Cup by a record margin on Sunday, surpassing the previous 18.5 to 9.5 victory at Walton Heath Golf Club in 1981.

Stricker's USA were dominant from the outset in Wisconsin, where the hosts sealed victory in just the fifth match of the scheduled 12 singles, having required just 3.5 points for glory.

After hoisting the cup aloft in front of a passionate crowd at Whistling Straits, Stricker hailed his team.

"It was a special week all the way around," Stricker told reporters. "I don't know what else to say, and I've said it a number of times all week long and how these guys came together, and how they started two weeks ago when they showed up for the practice round.

"I could see the camaraderie then. I could see the willingness to prepare and get ready for this event prior to us even arriving. So a lot of these guys have played a lot of golf with each other. They have up with each other.

"It's a special group of guys. It was fun to be part of it all this week, especially here in Wisconsin."

Europe had won seven of the past nine editions of the biennial team event but failed to recover from a six-shot disadvantage heading into the final day as USA reigned supreme.

Stricker added: "This didn't start just two weeks ago. This started months ago. For me, three years ago two, and a half years ago. It's been on my mind ever since I was announced to be captain two and a half years ago.

"I wanted to make a special week for these guys. I've been part of a few teams, and I know how it can go. I've been on a losing team and I've been on a winning side, team, and we just want these guys to enjoy the experience. And as you can tell up here right now, it looks like they have enjoyed the experience."

Dustin Johnson led a star-studded United States with a 5-0 record throughout the Ryder Cup and Stricker continued: "I could see it in these guys' eyes last night when we left here, the course, after just saying a couple words, I could tell they felt like there was unfinished business, and they came out and they were ready today.

"They played great, and I could see it in their eye that they wanted it all. They wanted more."

An emotional Rory McIlroy claimed he should have done more to help his European team as they were crushed by the United States in the Ryder Cup.

Defending champions Europe entered the final day at Whistling Straights 11-5 down and required the biggest comeback in the history of the competition to get their hands on the trophy.

That rarely looked like happening, though, with the USA guaranteeing they would win back the trophy when Collin Morikawa secured a half point against Viktor Hovland, enough to give the host nation an unassailable lead, reaching 14.5 points with the promise of plenty more points to come.

McIlroy, competing at his sixth Ryder Cup, failed to pick up a point during the first two days of action, but he did seal a 3 and 2 victory over Xander Schauffele on the final day.

Fighting back tears, the Northern Irishman said he was not happy with his display and had let down his team-mates.

"I love being a part of this team," he told Sky Sports. "I love my team-mates so much, and I should have done more for them this week.

"I'm glad I put a point on the board for Europe today. I just can't wait to get another shot at this. It is by far the best experience in golf and I hope little boys and girls watching this today aspire to play in this event or the Solheim Cup because there's nothing better than being part of a team.

"No matter what happens after this I'm proud of every single one of the players that played this week, proud of the captain and the vice captains. I wish I could have done a little more for the team.

"It's been a tough week."

Speaking to NBC, the 31-year-old added that the Ryder Cup is comfortably the best event he has ever played in.

"The more I play in this event I realise it's the best event in golf, bar none," he said.

"I've never really cried or got emotional over what I've done as an individual, I couldn't give a s***, but this team and what it feels like to be part of a team is phenomenal."

Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka hugged as the USA's resounding Ryder Cup triumph brought about a friendly truce in their apparently bitter feud.

The American pair have been at loggerheads on the PGA Tour and appeared to have taken against one another, but all was calm in Steve Stricker's ranks at Whistling Straits.

A 19-9 victory over Europe was secured on Sunday, with DeChambeau and Koepka among the singles winners, and television cameras picked out the pair shaking hands and embracing afterwards, a job well done.

Their seemingly incompatible personalities raised fears of friction, but Stricker revealed that DeChambeau and Koepka even wanted to play as a pairing.

Whether the creases in their relationship have been ironed out for good remains to be seen, but it was a day to savour for both.

DeChambeau, a member of the team beaten in Paris three years ago, said of his first cup experience on home soil: "It's unbelievable, the atmosphere is electric, and I wouldn't want it any other way. It's quite a scene, one to remember for a lifetime. As a team, we performed really, really well.

"We came together and had unity here this week. Even though we are competitors, we can all be friends and have unity."

Amid the stunning success for the USA team, there was a standout performer, with Dustin Johnson winning all five of his matches.

That made him just the third player in the history of matches between the USA and Europe, going back to 1979, to post a 5-0-0 record, after Larry Nelson in 1979 and Francesco Molinari in 2018.

Prior to 1979, the US faced teams from Great Britain and, from 1973 to 1977, Great Britain and Ireland.

Johnson said of his achievement: "Starting the week, if you had told me I was going to go 5-0-0, I probably would have said you were crazy. I didn't think I was going to play five matches.

"But obviously it was a great week. The team played amazing. All of us came together and we only wanted to win it. I think we just wanted it a little bit more."

The 37-year-old found himself in the unfamiliar role of being the elder statesman in the US line-up.

"On the other teams I felt like I was a younger guy on the team," he said. "A little different dynamic. The guys all got along great. We all have one thing in common, we do not like to lose. We had a great week, and it showed."

Padraig Harrington acknowledged Europe were outplayed by the United States as the hosts reclaimed the Ryder Cup in record-breaking style on Sunday.

Defending champions Europe entered the final day at Whistling Straights 11-5 down and required the biggest comeback in the history of the competition, with the USA needing just 3.5 points to win back the trophy.

The American team eventually won by a 19-9 landslide, the widest margin in the history of matches between the USA and Europe, which date back to 1979.

Previously, the US faced teams from Great Britain and, from 1973 to 1977, Great Britain and Ireland, when there were bigger wins.

Patrick Cantlay, Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau put the Americans within touching distance after Rory McIlroy had won the first match for Europe, and Collin Morikawa guaranteed the cup triumph by halving his match with Viktor Hovland, before the points kept coming.

Speaking to NBC, European captain Harrington said: "Of course we're disappointed. But the United States played well. Look, they outplayed us. Strong team.

"They got their plan right. They got some momentum going. They started well. They just outplayed us at the end of the day.

"It's tough when you're going away and having no Europeans [in the crowd], but certainly above expectations in terms of an away crowd.

"Obviously there was a lot of momentum for the United States with the cheering, and the silence was a little off-putting at the start for us and maybe that held us back a bit."

Sergio Garcia accepted that the United States "played great" and thoroughly deserved their victory.

While the Spaniard's week ended with a 3 and 2 defeat to DeChambeau on Sunday, he was in record-breaking form in his foursomes showdown on Saturday, becoming the player to win the most matches in Ryder Cup history.

The 41-year-old, who made his competition debut in 1999, claimed his 24th victory, moving clear of Nick Faldo's previous record.

"I'm so proud of them [his team-mates]. I love all of them so much and so proud of the way they played. We just have to accept it," Garcia said.

"The Americans, they played great, they made most of the right shots at the right time and most of the putts when they had to. It's quite simple.

"Obviously I would have loved to play a little better today. I thought the back nine was a little better; the front was a little weak, but I was trying to see if I could get anything out of the match."

Europe may have come up against a partisan crowd at Whistling Straits, but Garcia was largely happy with how they behaved.

"Don't get me wrong, when there's so many people, there's always going to be a small amount that are a little bit out of line," he said.

"But these fans, they see us every week and they love us every week, and that doesn't change. They are cheering for their team, but they are respectful to us."

Rory McIlroy has been dropped for Saturday's foursomes line-up against the United States as Padraig Harrington's Europe fight to recover from a forgettable opening day at the Ryder Cup.

Team Europe face an uphill battle to retain the Ryder Cup after the USA snatched their biggest opening-day lead since 1975 as the hosts surged 6-2 ahead on Friday.

McIlroy suffered two heavy defeats at Whistling Straits, where the former world number one will watch from the sidelines on Saturday morning.

A 5 and 3 loss to Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele alongside Ian Poulter in the foursomes was followed by a 4 and 3 defeat in his pairing with Shane Lowry against Tony Finau and Harris English in the afternoon four-balls.

McIlroy – a four-time major champion – has been benched for the first time in his Ryder Cup career, having featured in every session since debuting in 2010.

"He's already a leader," Harrington said of McIlroy prior to the pairings being released. "You saw him out there after a tough day. He was out following those matches and supporting his team. He is very much a leader amongst his peers.

"I couldn't have asked more from him during the year. I couldn't have asked more from him today.

"Yeah, the golf didn't go as well as he would have liked, but I'm not second-guessing him for a second in terms of his leadership and what he does for my team."

World number one Jon Rahm and fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia will lead Europe out against USA pair Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger.

Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa will clash with Englishmen Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger face American duo Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, while it is a Cantlay-Schauffele and Lee Westwood-Matthew Fitzpatrick showdown.

"I'm very comfortable again with the team I've put out tomorrow," Harrington said. "Wait and see in each of those matches whether they can create their own momentum and then bring that to the team."

Rory McIlroy has been dropped for Saturday's foursomes line-up against the United States as Padraig Harrington's Europe fight to recover from a forgettable opening day at the Ryder Cup.

Team Europe face an uphill battle to retain the Ryder Cup after the USA snatched their biggest opening-day lead since 1975 as the hosts surged 6-2 ahead on Friday.

McIlroy suffered two heavy defeats at Whistling Straits, where the former world number one will watch from the sidelines on Saturday morning.

A 5 and 3 loss to Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele alongside Ian Poulter in the foursomes was followed by a 4 and 3 defeat in his pairing with Shane Lowry against Tony Finau and Harris English in the afternoon four-balls.

McIlroy – a four-time major champion – has been benched for the first time in his Ryder Cup career, having featured in every session since debuting in 2010.

"He's already a leader," Harrington said of McIlroy prior to the pairings being released. "You saw him out there after a tough day. He was out following those matches and supporting his team. He is very much a leader amongst his peers.

"I couldn't have asked more from him during the year. I couldn't have asked more from him today.

"Yeah, the golf didn't go as well as he would have liked, but I'm not second-guessing him for a second in terms of his leadership and what he does for my team."

World number one Jon Rahm and fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia will lead Europe out against USA pair Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger.

Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa will clash with Englishmen Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger face American duo Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, while it is a Cantlay-Schauffele and Lee Westwood-Matthew Fitzpatrick showdown.

"I'm very comfortable again with the team I've put out tomorrow," Harrington said. "Wait and see in each of those matches whether they can create their own momentum and then bring that to the team."

Tiger Woods may not be at Whistling Straits, but his influence was felt as the United States made a rip-roaring start to their Ryder Cup trophy bid.

The 45-year-old Woods is continuing his recovery from the February high-speed car crash near Los Angeles that left him with serious leg injuries, and it remains to be seen whether he is capable of playing again on tour.

But the 15-time major winner is willing the USA team to snatch back the cup from Europe, and Xander Schauffele revealed he had been in touch with a few words of encouragement.

Woods, who often struggled to take his world-beating form onto the Ryder Cup stage, had his say before the Americans raced into a 3-1 lead following the morning foursomes.

Schauffele, after teaming up with fellow debutant Patrick Cantlay to land a dazzling 5 and 3 win over Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter, confirmed Woods wanted to offer help from afar.

 

"We got a nice message from Tiger last night," Schauffele said on the Golf Channel.

"I'm not going to reveal what it said, but Pat and I knew and we referred to it a few times today, and we knew what we needed to do.

"We knew he was fist-pumping from the couch. Whether he was on crutches or not, he's as fired up as anyone back at home, so it's nice to have his support."

Woods has a disappointing record of just 13 wins from 37 Ryder Cup matches, an unexpectedly weak performance given his PGA Tour and major championship prowess.

But he remains an idol for many players on the team, with Schauffele and Cantlay two of six rookies on Steve Stricker's roster this year.

Cantlay said: "[There's] no better role model and no better leader and somebody you can always learn from.

"I saw him last week at home and picked his brain on Ryder Cup and applied some of that here today."

The USA pair sped to a 5up lead through five holes on the way to their dominant victory, feeding off the largely American crowd.

A disappointed McIlroy said: "The start wasn't great. I don't know if anyone could have beat Xander and Patrick today.

"They played really good, four birdies in a row. Geez, yeah, they played great. They were a great pairing today, and all you can do is praise them for the way they played."

Ryder Cup team captains Steve Stricker and Padraig Harrington have confirmed their selections for the Friday four-ball session at Whistling Straits.

The United States took a 3-1 lead after the morning foursomes session in the 43rd edition of the tournament, with the hosts looking to wrestle the trophy back from Europe in Wisconsin.

Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia got Europe off to a good start as they saw off Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth 3 and 1, but Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa got the USA back on level pegging, with Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger then edging out Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick.

Ryder Cup debutants Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele did for Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter, and Schauffele will be swiftly back out on the course as he pairs with Johnson for match one of the afternoon four-ball session.

The duo take on Paul Casey and Bernd Wiesberger, with match two seeing Bryson DeChambeau and Scottie Scheffler face Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton.

Match three pairs Tony Finau and Harris English together for the USA, with Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry - who both represented Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics - teaming up.

The final four-ball match of the session will involve Thomas and Cantlay for the USA, with Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland their opponents.

The United States' position as the heavy favourites to win the Ryder Cup was vindicated as they claimed a 3-1 lead after the foursomes.

Though the first point at Whistling Straits went to Europe's Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm, the other three matches were dominated by the hosts in Wisconsin.

Victories for the pairs of Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa, Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger and Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele left Europe with significant work to do in the fourballs as they bid to retain the cup.

The weight of expectation is firmly on the USA; however, after the Americans rose to the challenge in the opening session, the onus switches to Europe's captain Padraig Harrington, who was eyeing an afternoon improvement to prevent his team slipping to a potentially decisive deficit.

Garcia and Rahm might have feared the worst when the former drove into the bunker off the opening tee.

However, Garcia was superb with the driver thereafter and Rahm excelled with the flat stick as they claimed their match against Justin Spieth and Justin Thomas 3 and 1.

Yet the form that all-Spanish duo produced could not be replicated by their European team-mates.

Morikawa and Johnson soon levelled matters following Garcia and Rahm's triumph, their victory secured when Morikawa converted a short putt from 22 inches on the 16th to defeat Viktor Hovland, who missed a long putt for birdie to keep the match alive, and Paul Casey.

Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele were in command throughout against two Ryder Cup mainstays in Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter.

The American pair won the first five holes and, despite a brief comeback from McIlroy and Poutler, prevailed 5 and 3.

And, while Rahm thrived on the green, Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick could not buy a putt in their loss to Daniel Berger and Brooks Koepka, whose 2 and 1 success put the USA 11.5 points from regaining the cup.

 

Friday's foursomes results

Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia (EUR) beat Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth (USA) 3 and 1
Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa (USA) beat Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland (EUR) 3 and 2
Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger (USA) beat Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick (EUR) 2 and 1
Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele (USA) beat Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter (EUR) 5 and 3

After three long years, the wait for another Ryder Cup ends this week as the United States and Europe take to the fairways and greens of Whistling Straits. 

Europe are the holders but the USA start as favourites for many observers, with home advantage and a formidable-looking team. 

There will be shocks along the way and there will be some expected stars of the show who end up taking a back seat as unlikely heroes emerge. 

Captains Steve Stricker and Padraig Harrington will have their own ideas of who might be best placed to make a telling impression. 

Here, Stats Perform looks at four players who could make a huge impact across the weekend in Wisconsin. 

UNITED STATES: Super Spieth ready to show his teeth

Jordan Spieth has been a resurgent force this year, finishing second at the Open Championship and in a tie for third at the Masters, while at the other two majors he finished a respectable 19th and 30th. 

The American also ended a four-year wait for a victory on the PGA Tour with a sweet win in his home state at the Texas Open in April and is primed to cap a fine year with a strong Ryder Cup. 

Spieth has mentioned in the build-up that he loves the course set-up at Whistling Straits, which he feels provides scoring opportunities on almost every hole. 

The 28-year-old also referenced his previous Ryder Cup success. He has collected eight points from a possible 11 in fourballs/foursomes, a 73 per cent scoring rate. Only Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus have a better ratio among USA players in the team format. 

UNITED STATES: Nice guy Finau just the man for Stricker's superstars

American teams in the past have been accused of…well…not exactly getting along. Having the ultimate good guy in the team is sure to boost morale and Tony Finau certainly fits that mould. 

But make no mistake, Finau is a guy with real pedigree – even if sometimes he hasn't quite been able to convert that into wins (his triumph at the Northern Trust last month was only his second PGA Tour title and first in five years). 

On his Ryder Cup debut, he was one of few bright notes for Team USA, with Finau winning two of his three matches – including a singles win over the otherwise unflappable Tommy Fleetwood, setting the second-best points ratio (66.7 per cent) in the American team after Justin Thomas (80 per cent, four points out of a possible five). 

Moreover, at the 2015 US PGA Championship, Finau finished 10th having shot four sub-par rounds at Whistling Straits. Finau is the sort of character who can really flourish at a Ryder Cup, particularly with home support behind him. 

 

EUROPE: Europe eye trophy Rahm raid

Jon Rahm is the man for the big occasion. He is the only player to have secured a top-10 finish at all four majors this year, while he is also Europe's most recent victor at one of the leading events, having won the U.S. Open. 

The world number one's Ryder Cup debut did not go entirely to plan in 2018, as he won only one of his three matches, but that triumph was in a singles match-up with Tiger Woods – only Tiger's second loss in the format. 

Now established at the forefront of the sport, Rahm will expect to be the man to lead Europe to glory with an improved all-round showing, justifying his status as the bookmakers' favourite to be the leading points scorer at Whistling Straits. 

EUROPE: Viktor sounds like a winner

Belgium's Thomas Pieters was the top points scorer five years ago at Hazeltine, scoring four points but ending on the losing side. With Norway's Viktor Hovland relishing his debut on the team, could there be another surprise leader on the points board? 

Hovland played college golf for Oklahoma State and has been a familiar figure on the PGA Tour, so playing in America is second nature. He was low amateur at the Masters and U.S. Open in 2019, won the U.S. Amateur, and has come of age since, jumping to a career-high world ranking of number 10 in August. 

Eight top-10 finishes and just one missed cut since the turn of the year show what he brings, and that level of consistent play is bound to appeal to captain Harrington. 

"I'd like to think I have some fans out there that maybe won't necessarily boo against us," Hovland said this week. "But if they do end up doing that, that's what they're going to do. We're still going to play golf, and if they do end up doing that, that means we're doing something good." 

The 43rd Ryder Cup begins at Whistling Straits on Friday a year later than planned, with Europe seeking to retain the trophy after hammering the United States in Paris three years ago.

Delayed by 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic, golf's most famous team competition makes its long-awaited return after Europe's 17.5 – 10.5 victory at Le Golf National in 2019.

Ahead of the action, Stats Perform explains the format of the contest.

 

HOW THE POINTS ARE SCORED

A total of 28 matchplay contests will be played across three days, with each contest worth one point.

If a match is level after 18 holes, Europe and the United States simply take half a point each.

As holders, Europe need only 14 points to retain the trophy, while their opponents must reach 14.5 to regain the Ryder Cup.

FOURBALLS AND FOURSOMES

The first two days are all about teamwork.

On Friday and Saturday, the morning sessions will involve fourball matches, each team fielding eight players in four pairings.

The fourball format is often known as better-ball as each duo takes their best individual score on each hole. So, for example, if Rory McIlroy makes a three and Jon Rahm a four, it is McIlroy's score that counts.

After the morning fourball sessions, things get interesting in the afternoons as eight more players from each side combine for foursomes action.

In this format, the two men on each team share one ball and take alternate shots, which can lead to some apologetic words between colleagues if a poor shot is played.

SUNDAY SINGLES

A whopping 12 points are up for grabs on the final day of the competition as all 24 competitors go head-to-head in singles matches.

While the captain determines who features on Friday and Saturday, with some players heavily involved and others lightly used or even left out altogether, every single team member is involved on Sunday.

The United States are favourites to make home advantage count and regain the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits this weekend.

An emphatic 17.5-10.5 victory at Le Golf National in September 2018 saw Europe regain the trophy under Thomas Bjorn, as the likes of Francesco Molinari, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter played starring roles.

Yet while Europe have won six successive home Ryder Cups, their recent record on American soil has been mixed.

We take a look at the last five editions of the event in the USA.

 

2016 - Hazeltine

Result: United States 17 - 11 Europe

Europe had won three Ryder Cups in a row ahead of the 2016 event, but they were in for a shock at Hazeltine.

Darren Clarke's hopes of masterminding victory suffered a hammer blow on the first morning as the United States, captained by Davis Love III, pulled off a clean sweep of the Friday foursomes.

Rookies Thomas Pieters and Rafael Cabrera-Bello impressed as Europe narrowed their deficit, but the USA regained control in the second fourball session and went on to triumph by a six-point margin, the talismanic Patrick Reed defeating Rory McIlroy in a dramatic opening singles match to set the tone for the hosts.

2012 - Medinah

Result: United States 13.5 - 14.5 Europe

Is it really nine years since the 'Miracle of Medinah'?

In the first Ryder Cup since the death of European icon Seve Ballesteros, the Spaniard's close friend Jose Maria Olazabal oversaw the most remarkable of comebacks to ensure Europe retained the trophy they had claimed at Celtic Manor two years earlier.

The USA were 10-4 up on Saturday afternoon, having won five of the day's first six contests.

However, Europe crucially won the last two fourball contests, with Poulter the architect of an astonishing turnaround in the anchor match.

Poulter and his team-mates then overhauled a four-point deficit in the singles, something that had only happened once before in Ryder Cup history, with Martin Kaymer sinking the winning putt to spark emotional scenes of celebration from the visiting team.

2008 - Valhalla

Result: United States 16.5 - 11.5 Europe

No European golfer in the professional era has claimed more major titles than Nick Faldo's six and the Englishman was also the most prolific points scorer in Ryder Cup history before Garcia moved past his tally of 25 at Le Golf National.

However, Faldo was nowhere near as successful in a miserable stint as Europe's captain, which yielded a heavy defeat to Paul Azinger's United States team at Valhalla.

The infamous 'sandwich-gate' incident - in which Faldo was photographed holding an apparent list of pairings only to then claim, somewhat unfeasibly, it was a list of lunch requests - was not the only gaffe made by the former world number one before the event had even begun.

Europe were then handsomely beaten when the action did get under way, trailing throughout on their way to a 16.5-11.5 loss.

Hunter Mahan was the leading points-scorer for the USA, who prevailed in seven of the 12 Sunday singles contests, but the likes of Anthony Kim, Boo Weekley, Justin Leonard and J.B. Holmes were among others to play starring roles.

 

2004 - Oakland Hills

Result: United States 9.5 - 18.5 Europe

In contrast to Faldo, the meticulous Bernhard Langer did not put a foot wrong in 2004 as Europe stormed to victory by a record margin at Oakland Hills.

Every member of Langer's team contributed at least a point, with wildcard selections Colin Montgomerie and Luke Donald among those to excel in a stunningly one-sided match.

In contrast, a USA team led by Hal Sutton and featuring three of the world's top 10 failed to deliver, with Chris DiMarco the only player to score more than two points for the hosts.

Montgomerie, in his penultimate Ryder Cup appearance as a player, famously holed the winning putt and went on to say: "That singles win over David Toms, in fact that whole week, rejuvenated me and my career."

 

1999 - Brookline

Result: United States 14.5 - 13.5 Europe

Prior to Europe's fightback at Medinah in 2012, the only previous instance of a team coming from four points behind in the singles came at Brookline, in distinctly fractious circumstances.

Mark James was Europe's skipper for an event sadly overshadowed by boorish abuse of visiting players by a partisan crowd and raucous scenes on the 17th hole on Sunday.

A mammoth putt from Leonard prompted an invasion of the green from the US team, even though Olazabal still had a putt of his own to come.

Ben Crenshaw's USA ultimately triumphed 14.5-13.5, but the 'Battle of Brookline' would be remembered for the wrong reasons.

In a subsequent autobiography, Sam Torrance - a vice-captain for Europe that week - described the final day of the 1999 event as: "the most disgraceful and disgusting day in the history of professional golf."

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