SHEBOYGAN (Wis.) -- Europe's goal became apparent as a tension-filled afternoon was played along Lake Michigan on Saturday. The score was 10-6 heading into the final-day singles.
This is a magical number for Europe. Memories both good and bad will come flooding back, depending on which side you were on when the Ryder Cup team from the United States was beaten by a comeback on the final day that was the best in its history.
It didn't happen.
For Europe to keep the Ryder Cup, it is essential that singles are played in an unrealistic day.
The United States, led by Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa, won two matches in the afternoon session of four-ball to lead 11-5 with 12 singles matches remaining.
To retain the Cup, the Europeans must win nine points. The Americans must win 3 points in order to win the Ryder Cup for the second time. In singles, there has never been a session where a team didn't win at least three points.
"That was an important one," said "If they blank us they're back in the game." We can get two points and split the session, which I believe is a positive outcome."
U.S. captain Steve Stricker stated, "I love how the guys play, and the energy they bring on a daily, regular basis. We have always said it from the beginning how loose and connected their relationships have been." It's showing. They're playing great.
They are free to play. They're having a blast. It's great to see. It's not easy to create a lineup, but you know that. There are so many options. It's just that I feel so happy about all twelve of my guys. All of them are doing great things and playing well together. The main part, I believe, is the great time we had this week together and as a team. It's shown on the course.
This six-point lead is the biggest in two days since 1975, when the U.S. led Great Britain & Ireland nine to one. It is also the largest since 1979, when the format was expanded to include continental Europe.
The U.S. won the morning foursomes sessions 3-1 and led 9-3 into the afternoon.
The scoreboard was not encouraging and showed that Europe could claim at least three matches to reach the 10-6 mark.
Bryson de Chambeau (left) and Scottie Scheffler, won 3 and 1 against Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland and Viktor Hovland, in Saturday's final match. Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm proved again to be strong, running their record to 3-0 together by defeating Brooks Koepka 2 and Jordan Spieth 2.
This tandem was the inspiration to the rest of European crew. Shane Lowry, Tyrrell Hatton and Tony Finau won a tight 1-up win over Harris English and Tony Finau. Lowry only managed to score a par at the 18th with a 10-footer.
This kept the dream alive for just a few moments. Soon Johnson and Morikawa had closed Poulter 4 and McIlroy 3.
McIlroy has had a disappointing Ryder Cup. He managed just one birdie and one eagle in his two four-ball sessions. McIlroy is at 0-3, while Poulter is at 0-2. The famous pairing won the final four-ball match at Medinah in 2012. Poulter is 0-3, and Poulter is 0-2.
To make it 10-6, the Europeans won the last two four-ball matches of that day. Although the Cup was not in their hands, Europe made an incredible comeback to win 14-13. The United States team won The Country Club 1999 by the same score.
On Saturday, however, the Europeans lost their last two matches. The other was the 3-and-1 win for Bryson deChambeau, Scottie Scheffler, over Tommy Fleetwood, and Viktor Hovland.
McIlroy stated, "We were up against them again." "Look, DJ, Collin are a great team, and they played very, very well. We tried to throw some things at them on the back nine but they always responded. Collin finished the match with two great birdies on 14th and 15.
"Clearly disappointing. It was disappointing that I didn't contribute any points for the team. I will try to go tomorrow to make a point and hopefully we can rally to give them something to talk about tomorrow afternoon.
There was plenty of feistiness throughout the day, which is a common trait at Ryder Cups. In the morning session, there was a heated issue regarding rules. Koepka verbally called two officials out who refused to give him relief.
Three players, Justin Thomas, Lowry, and DeChambeau, mocked each other by showing how close they were to the hole with the lengths of the putter.
There was plenty of banter among the galleries, who became louder and more brazen as each day went by.
Even in the most difficult conditions, there was still some great golf.
Rahm scored five birdies on his ball to win the victory for his team and improve his record to 3-0-1.
Scheffler and DeChambeau won the match, meaning that all players on the U.S. team have won at least one match.
Lowry birdied five out of the first 10 holes, as well as the 16th hole to give Europe a slight advantage. But he couldn’t overcome Finau and English who combined for six birdies until the end.
Morikawa, now 3-0 and playing in his first Ryder Cup, had an eagle as well as four birdies. Johnson birdied the opening two holes to set the tone.
After Friday's sessions, the U.S. led 6-2 and was then 3-1 on Saturday.
Rahm, who won 3 of Europe's five points, was teamed up with Garcia to defeat Koepka, Daniel Berger, and 3.
The Americans won the remaining matches: Johnson and Morikawa beat Paul Casey, Hatton and Paul Casey; Thomas and Spieth beat Lowry and Hatton; Patrick Cantlay and Patrick Schauffele beat Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick; and Xander Schauffele defeated Patrick Cantlay.
Stricker has always tried to ensure that his players were well-rested, given the difficult course and long days. Johnson, in his fifth Ryder Cup, was his favorite.
He was a Parisian who played 1-4 in Paris three years ago and has now turned his attention to 4-0. He is the American only to play all five sessions.
Johnson stated, "Had great partners." Johnson said, "Played three matches with Collin and one match with Xander. The golf course is very enjoyable. The conditions yesterday afternoon, today and throughout the day were very difficult. It felt like I had played very solid.
"We all share our experiences and talk, especially the guys who have participated in them. I have spoken to the players who have never played before. It doesn't seem like Collin is playing in his first Ryder Cup. He's a great player, has had lots of success early on and has played well in many big tournaments.
Morikawa is one six Ryder Cup rookies who make up the U.S. team. They have combined gone 11-2-2.
European captain Padraig harrington acknowledged that his players face a "very tall order ahead of" but stated "it's still possible."
Harrington stated, "At the conclusion of the day it's only half-a point more than what we won in singles at Medinah. It's just individually -- it isn't really that important in terms of the team." They must win their match. They can only do that. They must focus on what they can do and not look at the bigger picture.