Ryan Moore was given the final invitation to this week’s Ryder Cup as a player but he came away with one of the biggest honours when he secured the decisive point for the United States on Sunday.
Exactly a week after being announced as the final wildcard pick in the 12-man American lineup, Moore finished eagle-birdie-par in the last-day singles at a sun-bathed Hazeltine National to complete a 1-up victory over England’s Lee Westwood.
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After Westwood missed a par attempt from 15 feet on the final hole, Moore was left with two putts from 12 feet to claim the win and he was conceded the second by the Englishman for the U.S. to regain the trophy they last held in 2008.
“This is unbelievable right now, to actually get the point that clinched it for us,” Moore, 33, told reporters after being sent out in the seventh match of the day by U.S. captain Davis Love III, “Obviously we had some great play going on behind me. I was able to relax and play those last couple of holes … sneak a win out there.”
Moore secured Love’s final captain’s pick with a red-hot run after the PGA Championship in July, highlighted by a victory at the John Deere Classic in August and a playoff loss to Rory McIlroy at the season-ending Tour Championship last Sunday.
His consistent form and clutch putting at East Lake were enough for him to impress Love, who had been keeping him under the radar due to his superb matchplay record, both as an amateur and as professional.
“Something simple about it,” Moore said of his love of matchplay, “You are just trying to beat one guy. Man, when I went 2-down with three (holes) to go, I didn’t want to let my team down.
“I wanted to do everything I could and try to hit a couple of great shots coming in,” he said, “Was able to eagle 16, which was huge. That birdie on 17 and then to win with the par on the last hole, it’s incredible.”