Rookie fires Europe to Ryder Cup victory

GLENEAGLES, Scotland – The tone was set by Rory McIlroy, the best player in the world; the winning shot came from Jamie Donaldson, a Ryder Cup rookie.

Europe added another chapter to its Ryder Cup dominance on Sunday by leaving no doubt who had the best team. The tone set by two early comebacks that showed their resolve, Europe clinched the cup with four matches still on the course.

With a 16 1/2-11 1/2 victory, Europe kept that gold trophy for the eighth time in the last 10 tries.

McIlroy played some of his best golf this year — even for a guy who won the last two majors — by trouncing Rickie Fowler to put the first point on the board.

Donaldson finished off the Americans with a 9-iron that settled 18 inches from the cup on the 15th hole at Gleneagles and set off the celebration.

“It came down to me to close it out,” Donaldson said.

“But it’s all about the team.”

That concept appeared lost on the Americans.

Not long after the closing ceremony, Phil Mickelson said the Americans have strayed from the winning formula at Valhalla in 2008 under Paul Azinger — their only victory in these matches dating to 1999.

Even with US captain Tom Watson sitting six seats away, Mickelson said that American team was invested in each other, which was different from Watson’s style of doing it his way.

It was an awkward way to end another bad week for the Americans in the Ryder Cup.

Watson defended his philosophy, though he conceded he might have erred in using some players who were too tired, leading to a 10-6 deficit going into Sunday singles.

“The bottom line is they kicked our butts,” Watson said.

“They were better players this week.”

Watson said he had a pit in his stomach watching the Americans blow a 10-6 lead two years ago at Medinah.

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