Ryder Cup: These guys made captaincy easy for me, says Europe captain Bjorn

Europe's captain Thomas Bjorn holds the Ryder Cup as the team, vice captains and other support staff enjoy the celebrations after completing a 17.5-10.5 over the United States at Le Golf National (Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire).
Europe's captain Thomas Bjorn holds the Ryder Cup as the team, vice captains and other support staff enjoy the celebrations after completing a 17.5-10.5 over the United States at Le Golf National (Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire).
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Captain Thomas Bjorn hailed the victorious European team as the best he had been involved with after they reclaimed the Ryder Cup in Paris.

Bjorn’s team wrapped up a 17.5-10.5 victory over the United States by scoring sevenandahalf points in yesterday’s singles session at Le Golf National.

It was Bjorn’s eighth taste of the Ryder Cup having previously played in the competition three times and served as a vice-captain on four occasions.

The Dane said: “This is the best team room I’ve ever been in. It was calm, it was determined, it was focused, it was fun. Everything that this Ryder Cup was is what I think the Ryder Cup should be about for a European team.

“How do you sum that up? I felt all along that this was a good group of guys.

“The way they looked after each other and have been there for each other throughout the whole week made captaincy pretty easy.

“The hardest thing about the captaincy was that there were so many guys playing well, and being in such good frame of mind, that I wanted to get everybody on the golf course, but you can’t.”

Europe went into the final day holding a 10-6 lead and their ultimate margin of victory looked convincing, but the United States did make them battle hard.

The erstwhile holders claimed three points early on to move within one and, at that stage, what proved a pivotal match between Jon Rahm and Tiger Woods was in the balance.

Bjorn said: “There was a little moment in the middle of it all where I was getting a little bit worried, but then everybody stood up and did their bit.

“I can’t describe how I feel about these 12. They have been amazing from day one and I’m just so proud of them.”

All 12 members of Bjorn’s team contributed at least a point over the three days.

Bjorn said: “That doesn’t happen very often. The whole team has been part of this. We worked as a team and we knew we were up against very strong opponents, but we went out on the golf course and believed in ourselves and what we stand for as a team.”

Bjorn attracted some criticism over his wild card selections in the build-up to the tournament after opting for experience over form in, most notably, the case of Sergio Garcia. Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson were his other picks. Bjorn said: “I’m not very good at adding up, but I’m sure if I put these numbers together they make the difference in the score.

“I think I got it right and they have been fantastic.”

Ian Poulter took his side to the brink of victory by beating world No 1 Dustin Johnson on the 18th and fittingly it was Open champion Francesco Molinari who had the honour of officially securing the win, Phil Mickelson conceding after dumping his tee shot into the water on the 16th to suffer a record 22nd defeat.

After four wins alongside Fleetwood, Molinari became the first European player to compile a perfect 5-0 record in the contest, with American Larry Nelson the only other to do so, back in 1979.

After losing the first three matches on Friday morning, Europe won 10 of the next 11 against an American team that was the strongest assembled since the world rankings were introduced, with an average ranking of 11.2.

With the contest over there was still time for Henrik Stenson to make it three wins out of three by beating Bubba Watson and fellow wild card Garcia made a mockery of questions about his selection by defeating Rickie Fowler to become the top points scorer in Ryder Cup history.

No wonder then that United States captain Jim Furyk admitted his team had lost to the better side.

“At the end of the day you have to tip your cap, they outplayed us this week and Thomas was the better captain,” Furyk said.

Poulter plans to frame the postbox costume in which he celebrated Europe’s Ryder Cup triumph.

He earned the nickname of ‘The Postman’ because he always delivers points in the biennial contest and the 42-year-old was thrown a costume from the crowd amid the celebrations and happily pulled it over his head to the delight of the fans.

“I might go and deliver some letters around Lake Nona in it when I get home,” Poulter joked. “I’m going to frame it.”

More Ryder Cup reaction and pictures: Page 3.