PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The Ryder Cup is back in the hands of the Europeans after a strong showing at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in the Roman countryside of Italy.
It was a weekend full of fireworks, both on and off the golf course as Team Europe stormed out to an early lead on Friday and ultimately, never looked back, winning the Ryder Cup with a 16&1/2 to 11&12 victory.
USA's slow start
Heading into the 44th Ryder Cup, history was on the side of the Europeans, as the Americans haven't been able to win across the Atlantic since 1993.
When the morning sessions got underway on Friday, it quickly looked like Team USA might be in trouble, with Europe sweeping the first set of matches 4-0 -- and keeping their foot on the gas in the afternoon, winning another 2&1/2 points, holding the Americans from winning a single match on the day for the first time in Ryder Cup history.
A stunning defeat
When Saturday's sessions got underway, things wouldn't turn around for the Americans during the morning matches, as FedEx cup winner Viktor Hovland and fellow Scandinavian Ludvig Åberg put on quite a display, beating Brooks Koepka and Scottie Scheffler 9&7, the largest victory in an 18-hole match in Ryder Cup history.
Scheffler was visibly emotional following the defeat, just part of the tough tournament for the #1 in the world player, who went 0-2-2 in his five matches, not winning a single match for his team.
Max Homa, the American MVP
While Scheffler may have had a poor showing at Marco Simone, for Max Homa, it was quite the opposite, as the first-time Ryder Cup player went 3-1-1 on the weekend.
Following the tournament, Homa said he hopes to get another chance to compete in the Ryder Cup and be able to come out on the winning side next time.
While there was plenty of drama within the golf matches themselves, the biggest drama of the weekend came on the 18th green on Saturday, and the fireworks from the drama continued off of the course.
Following Friday's poor showing from the American team, Sky Sports reporter Jamie Weir reported on a possible fracture in the USA team room, led by Patrick Cantlay, regarding the players not being paid to compete in the tournament.
Weir's report suggested that Cantlay was demonstrating against this by not wearing a hat for the competition (which Cantlay denied on Saturday, stating that the hats simply do not fit).
The American team played much better golf in Saturday's afternoon session, including Cantlay, who birdied the last three holes of his match, sinking a long putt on the 18th hole to ultimately win his match against Rory McIlroy.
After Cantlay made his putt, his American teammates could be seen celebrating, waving their hats as the Marco Simone galleries had been through the first two days of play.
Things nearly came to a blow on that 18th green as Cantlay's caddie, Joe LaCava celebrated the long putt and was deemed to be standing in McIlroy's way as he lined up his putt that would've tied the hole and the match.
McIlroy took exception to the celebrating and imposing on his space, prompting Irishman Shane Lowry to step in and exchange words with LaCava.
The tempers would flare in the parking lot once play wrapped up for the evening, only adding to lore and allure of the emotions of the Ryder Cup.
Reports from NBC say that LaCava reached out to McIlroy and the European team following the incident in the parking lot and then met with McIlroy on Sunday to hash things out ahead of the singles matches.
Heading into the final round of the 44th Ryder Cup, the deck was heavily stacked against the Americans, who trailed by five points, and if they were to come back, would've been the largest deficit ever rallied from to win the tournament.
As the first matches of the day started coming to an end, it was clear the Europeans were the favorites to reclaim the Cup, as Viktor Hovland secured his third match win of the tournament and Jon Rahm halved a point with Scottie Scheffler.
Patrick Cantlay would secure a point for the Americans as teammates Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, and Collin Morikawa would show up hatless for Sunday's singles matches, perhaps poking a little bit of fun at the report and corresponding dust-up from Saturday.
Following Tyrrell Hatton's securing another European point with a match win over Brian Harman, the Americans backs' were against the wall and would need to win out the remaining six matches of the day for the tournament to end at 14-14 and retain the cup.
Tommy Fleetwood would put a dagger into the American hopes and dreams when he drove the green on the 16th hole and only needed to 2-putt to secure the win for Europe. He would lag his first putt close and Rickie Fowler conceded the point and ultimately the match and tournament.
From there on after Fleetwood secured the win, it was all celebrations for the Europeans.
2025 Ryder Cup
When the Ryder Cup returns in two years back on American soil, the Americans will be looking to win the cup back in front of a raucous New York crowd at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, NY.
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