'Quite pleased': Tommy Fleetwood clinches Ryder Cup after Rickie Fowler concession
The winning moment of a Ryder Cup is forever frozen time.
And this year, it was Tommy Fleetwood who ingrained Europe as the champions of the 44th Ryder Cup at Marco Simone in Rome.
Fleetwood was facing off against Rickie Fowler in his Sunday singles match. By the time they reached the par-4 16th, Europe led 14-10 and only needed a half-point to win the cup.
The 32-year-old Englishman was 1 UP in his match; therefore, Fowler, 34, couldn't lose any of the final three holes if he wanted to keep the U.S. Team's victory hopes alive.
Fowler, however, hit his tee shot on the drivable par-4 into the water right of the green. Fleetwood then piped his tee shot onto the putting surface.
"I was really in control of the match," Fleetwood said afterward. "Just the occasion was very, very big. Rickie let me off. You never really want to see someone hit in the water, so I was not particularly pleased about that. But I still have to step up and hit. There's no point in me bailing out with the tee shot there, he could still make four, and he probably was still going to make four.
"I was just very happy to sort of tee the driver down. I was playing very, very well, put a swing on it and it set off straight and it wasn't moving, and I was happy to pick the tee up and move on."
Fowler hit a spectacular shot from the drop zone that spun back and gave him a solid look for par. But by that point, all Fleetwood needed to do was two-putt from 23 feet. He hit his eagle attempt to about 3 feet and Fowler surprisingly conceded the match to give Europe the win.
"The thing is with that green, you can't really see where the ball is landing with the sun," said Fleetwood, who went 3-1 in his third Ryder Cup appearance. "So you just wait for the crowd's reaction, and yeah, I was quite pleased when he gave me the putt."
Added Fowler: "Fought, fought today, and I kept hanging around and tried to keep pushing. But ultimately a couple swings on my end that cost me, and Tommy played some pretty solid golf. So we had a good match. Obviously, it has to go one way or the other."
After Fleetwood picked up his ball, he turned towards the roaring crowd and raised his arms in celebration.
It's a moment that will live forever.