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In the end, it was the most metaphorically perfect of endings. Phil Mickelson, a stalwart of so many Ryder Cup campaigns, skewed his drive with unerring imprecision straight into the lake, just below the putting green on which Francesco Molinari had safely landed his ball moments earlier. American hopes had well and truly sunk.

Knowing the game was up, Mickelson conceded, and Molinari was left utterly triumphant, his annus mirabilis complete.

For so long the journeyman golfer who was outperformed by his brother, 2018 had seen the Italian win the Open to finally become a major champion, and now he had secured all five possible points in the Ryder Cup, the last of them ensuring the trophy belonged once more to a team few had expected to win.

The Americans had arrived in France as hot favourites, having regained the cup in fine style at Hazeltine two years ago.

Since then their players had won six of the eight majors. In Dustin Johnson they had the world's leading player, and, after his career seemed over last year, Tiger Woods had impressed so much after making his comeback that he was among skipper Jim Furyk's captain's picks. On the eve of the event, Europe's captain Thomas Bjorn admitted in a press conference that this was as good a side as the US had ever had.

For all that, it had been 25 years since the Americans last won in Europe. Le Golf National, hosting the first Ryder Cup ever held in France, is a course that favours the best drivers, giving Europe an advantage. But, ultimately, it came down to the home side displaying a magnificent array of skills across the board.

This was true even down to the very last shot when Alex Noren ensured a seven-point winning margin by sinking a monster putt on the 18th. Contrast that with an astonishing miss by Tiger Woods earlier in the day; once again, the sport's biggest superstar underperformed in the biggest team event of all.

Indeed, the recriminations have already begun among the Americans, with Patrick Reed telling the New York Times Jordan Spieth had effectively vetoed being paired with him. He said one of the team slogans - "leave your ego at the door" - was something Europe had been much better at.

The European team certainly showed plenty of team spirit, but they came into the event knowing nothing less than unity and a peak performance would do. They delivered in style.

It was not as if there weren't players with much to be proud of as individuals. Like Molinari, Sergio Garcia had also interrupted the American dominance of the majors since the previous Ryder Cup, winning the 2017 Masters. He enjoyed this year's moment of personal glory by securing the point on the last day to take his career tally in Ryder Cups to 25 ½, overtaking Sir Nick Faldo's record.

So, it was that a patch of the country that gave the world champagne got merrily soaked in it. This Ryder Cup may have been a first for France, but it was back to a familiar tale when it came to the destination of the trophy. 

In the end, it was the most metaphorically perfect of endings. Phil Mickelson, a stalwart of so many Ryder Cup campaigns, skewed his drive with unerring imprecision straight into the lake, just below the putting green on which Francesco Molinari had safely landed his ball moments earlier. American hopes had well and truly sunk.

Knowing the game was up, Mickelson conceded, and Molinari was left utterly triumphant, his annus mirabilis complete.

For so long the journeyman golfer who was outperformed by his brother, 2018 had seen the Italian win the Open to finally become a major champion, and now he had secured all five possible points in the Ryder Cup, the last of them ensuring the trophy belonged once more to a team few had expected to win.

The Americans had arrived in France as hot favourites, having regained the cup in fine style at Hazeltine two years ago.

Since then their players had won six of the eight majors. In Dustin Johnson they had the world's leading player, and, after his career seemed over last year, Tiger Woods had impressed so much after making his comeback that he was among skipper Jim Furyk's captain's picks. On the eve of the event, Europe's captain Thomas Bjorn admitted in a press conference that this was as good a side as the US had ever had.

For all that, it had been 25 years since the Americans last won in Europe. Le Golf National, hosting the first Ryder Cup ever held in France, is a course that favours the best drivers, giving Europe an advantage. But, ultimately, it came down to the home side displaying a magnificent array of skills across the board.

This was true even down to the very last shot when Alex Noren ensured a seven-point winning margin by sinking a monster putt on the 18th. Contrast that with an astonishing miss by Tiger Woods earlier in the day; once again, the sport's biggest superstar underperformed in the biggest team event of all.

Indeed, the recriminations have already begun among the Americans, with Patrick Reed telling the New York Times Jordan Spieth had effectively vetoed being paired with him. He said one of the team slogans - "leave your ego at the door" - was something Europe had been much better at.

The European team certainly showed plenty of team spirit, but they came into the event knowing nothing less than unity and a peak performance would do. They delivered in style.

It was not as if there weren't players with much to be proud of as individuals. Like Molinari, Sergio Garcia had also interrupted the American dominance of the majors since the previous Ryder Cup, winning the 2017 Masters. He enjoyed this year's moment of personal glory by securing the point on the last day to take his career tally in Ryder Cups to 25 ½, overtaking Sir Nick Faldo's record.

So, it was that a patch of the country that gave the world champagne got merrily soaked in it. This Ryder Cup may have been a first for France, but it was back to a familiar tale when it came to the destination of the trophy. 

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