Sunday rallies by U.S. and Denver native Wyndham Clark fall short as Europeans earn Ryder Cup for 13th time in last 19 matchups; U.S. Open champ hopes this is first of many Ryder Cups for him
By Gary Baines – 10/1/2023
It was as if a pin popped a balloon, all the air rushing out.
Denver native Wyndham Clark had rallied from 3 down to tie his singles match in his first Ryder Cup. He’d won the last two holes, making an 8-foot birdie on 13 and watching as his opponent, fellow Ryder Cup rookie Robert MacIntyre, lipped out a par putt from near-gimme range.
But while the two were playing the 15th hole in Rome, American Rickie Fowler conceded a 2-foot, 8-inch birdie putt to Tommy Fleetwood a hole ahead, putting Europe over the top to clinch the Ryder Cup victory. The Euros would win at home for the seventh consecutive time, dating back to 1997.
With the overall American cause lost, Clark faltered down the stretch of his match. The U.S. Open champion and two-time PGA Tour winner in 2023 missed an 8-foot par attempt, losing the 15th hole. Then he put two balls in the water on the drivable 16th and conceded that hole to MacIntyre, falling 2 down. And after both players parred No. 17, MacIntyre secure a 2-and-1 victory on the same Marco Simone Golf Club course in which he won the 2022 Italian Open on the DP World Tour.
Moments later, Europe put the final touches on a 16.5-11.5 team victory, winning or retaining the Ryder Cup for the 13th time in the last 19 occasions the event has been contested.
“Europe has taken over; there’s no question about it,” NBC analyst and former U.S. captain and player Paul Azinger said.
“We’re a team — we’re one — that’s why we’re so good,” Irishman Shane Lowry noted.
Clark — a product of Valor Christian and Cherry Hills Country Club who won a CGA Amateur, a Pac-12 and two high school titles in Colorado — ended up with a 1-1-1 record in his Ryder Cup debut. He won and tied in four-ball and lost in singles.
“It’s obviously my first Ryder Cup. It was pretty awesome,” Clark said on Sunday. “It’s tough playing in this atmosphere, and the first two days, there weren’t too many positives (for the Americans) until obviously last night (when the U.S. won a Saturday four-ball session).
“And we felt that momentum going into today. It’s tough being in the anchor spot when we’re so far behind, and then obviously coming up just short. It’s tough to finish those last four holes when it doesn’t mean much. But it was a great first experience, obviously in a more hostile environment. And I’m hoping the next one I play in is at home and then we have all the momentum and fans on our side.”
Wyndham Clark rallied from 3 down to tie Sunday’s singles match, but Europe’s Robert MacIntyre finished with a 2-and-1 victory.
On Sunday, Clark came in ranked No. 10 in the world while MacIntyre is No. 55. Squaring off in the anchor match in this pressure-cooker of an event, the Scotsman never trailed, He went 3 up through five holes, sinking three putts of 8-10 feet, two of them for birdies.
But from holes 8 through 14, Clark won four holes (to one for MacIntyre), making two birdies in that stretch, his second and third of the day. That comeback tied it up through 14. Then came the Europeans’ overall clincher and MacIntyre went back ahead as Clark struggled on 15 and 16.
With the victory coming on 17, the left-handed MacIntyre finished unbeaten in his first Ryder Cup, going 2-0-1.
The fans surround the 18th green coming down the stretch on Sunday.
Despite the loss, Clark is hungry for more Ryder Cups in the future.
“I obviously want to be on these (American teams) for a long time, and I think and hope I’m going to be,” he said after being the first Colorado high school graduate since Hale Irwin in 1991 to compete in the Ryder Cup.
It’s little wonder why Clark feels that way. As European Rory McIlroy said on Sunday about the Ryder Cup, “It is the best event in golf — bar none.”
How Denver native Wyndham Clark fared at 2023 Ryder Cup:
Friday four-ball: Clark and Max Homa (USA) tied Justin Rose and Robert MacIntyre (Europe)
Saturday four-ball: Clark and Patrick Cantlay (USA) def. Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick (Europe), 1 up
Sunday singles: Robert MacIntyre (Europe) def. Clark (USA), 2 and 1
For all the results from the Ryder Cup, CLICK HERE.
About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for ColoradoGolf.org since 2009. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates ColoradoGolfJournal.com