Ryder Cup 2016: Momentum swings Europe's way as McIlroy delivers FedEx win

Rory will go to Hazeltine on a high
Rory will go to Hazeltine on a high

Europe got one over on the US the week before the Ryder Cup when Rory McIlroy ousted Ryan Moore in a playoff at the Tour Championship, beating Dustin Johnson to the $10m FedEx Cup crown in the process. Ralph Ellis thinks that can only be a good thing for the Ryder Cup underdogs...

"The history of the Ryder Cup shows that the contest is won not so much on the golf course as between the ears of the players. Europe consistently find the right mentality when it counts, and find a way to conjure the big shots."

Seven feet. How did I miss from seven feet? Come to that, how did he manage to hit 240 yards underneath trees and across the water?

You can imagine those thoughts swirling round Ryan Moore's mind for the next few days as he thinks about the 18th hole of the Tour Championship and ponders how Rory McIlroy came past him to scoop the prize and the $10million FedEx Cup.

The thinking this morning seems to be that Davis Love III has made the right choice in giving Moore, the current world number 31, his final Captain's Pick for the American Ryder Cup team ahead of world number seven Bubba Watson. He is the man in form, they say.




But we talked last week about how success at the Tour Championship with its FedEx Cup millions doesn't often translate into good performance at the Ryder Cup. How much worse must it be if you just miss out?

When Europe and the USA get to Hazeltine, matches will be decided by the slimmest of margins, the most crucial of shots - the sort of thing that happens when one player misses a putt from seven feet while the other conjures a piece of magic.

Darren Clarke's side remain the huge 3.1511/5 outsiders when the biannual contest for Samuel Ryder's iconic old trophy begins on Friday, but surely McIlroy's success coupled with the way Moore missed out is just another reason to back Europe.

Moore was a curious choice in other ways for the final Captain's Pick. It didn't fit with Love's stated plan to find players who were good team men - the reason he went against Watson.

The 33-year-old from Washington is not "one of the boys" when the players are on tour - a reputation he followed last week by skipping a bonding trip organised by the American captain to take a look at Hazeltine.

While hopefuls Watson, Jim Furyk and Justin Thomas joined the outing, Moore chose to spend time with his family and put his efforts into preparing for the season's final event.

There are all sorts of things that don't bode well for the Americans. What about Dustin Johnson? How will he be feeling at letting the biggest individual prize in sport slip through his fingers.

At the start of the final day of the Tour Championship, the FedEx Cup was his. And even if Moore or Kevin Chappell had held off McIlroy's challenge, he would still have scooped the big prize despite fluffing his own lines by firing a last day 73 to finish tied sixth.

So that's another one of the American team who will be turning up with doubts in his mind and questions about "what if?".

The history of the Ryder Cup shows that the contest is won not so much on the golf course as between the ears of the players. Europe consistently find the right mentality when it counts, and find a way to conjure the big shots.

That's what McIlroy did last night and he'll have hugely boosted the morale of Europe's team as they prepare to follow him. As for Moore. Well he missed the biggest putt of his career from seven feet.

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