Patrick Reed, who told vice captain Tiger Woods there was no way he was going to sit out any of the Ryder Cup matches, made the rookie vice captain look good when he outlasted Rory McIlroy in singles to put Team USA’s first point of Sunday’s finale in the win column.
In a much-hyped match between the two teams’ spiritual leaders, Reed finally shut McIlroy down, 1-up, to leave the U.S. with just four points needed to recapture the cup for the first time since 2008.
The two players, out in front of the field in the all-important first mano-a-mano match, traded blows, hollers, finger-pointing, fist bumps, and putts in a session that began with emotions boiling over.
The fireworks fizzled, though, and the match ended anticlimactically when McIlroy watched his must-make par putt on the 15th slide by the hole and went 2-down for the day.
The missed putt was a body blow to McIlroy, whose slumped shoulders and bowed head after he came up short with his birdie attempt were a far cry from the "Come on!" and "I can’t hear you" screams he bellowed at the fans all week and early into his battle with the impassioned American.
McIlroy did come back to win the 17th and send the match to the 18th in such a close contest that an official pulled out a measuring string to determine who was away for their birdie putts on the final green.
Reed was, and he showed off his signature celebration when he buried it and McIlroy’s hopes.
Reed was apparently as adamant in the team room as he was on the course, as he lobbied Woods to insist that Davis Love III send him out for his fourth straight session in Saturday afternoon’s fourball. Turned out to be a terrific strategy, as Reed went 3-1-1 for the week.
Captain America @PReedGolf gets it done for #GoUSA! pic.twitter.com/fAEUJUe0h6— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) October 2, 2016