Ryder CupOctober 2, 2016

Ryan Moore goes from last-minute captain's pick to Ryder Cup hero

USA's Ryan Moore speaks with reporters after winning the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Course in Chaska, Minnesota, October 2, 2016.  / AFP / JIM WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty ImagesUSA's Ryan Moore speaks with reporters after winning the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Course in Chaska, Minnesota, October 2, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

CHASKA, Minn. -- Amid the crazy scrum on the 18th green following the U.S. winning its first Ryder Cup since 2008, captain Davis Love III walked to the hole and picked up a ball resting about a foot from the cup. Ryan Moore had left a pretty valuable souvenir behind after lagging his birdie putt close enough to get a concession from Lee Westwood, and Love wanted to make sure Moore got it back.

When the two finally found each other in the chaos, they shared a long embrace. "Thank you," Moore said. He wasn't referring to the golf ball, but rather the fact that just a week before, Love had called him to tell him he'd be coming to Hazeltine as Team USA's final captain's pick. And now he had earned the final point necessary for the Americans to clinch the Ryder Cup thanks to a 1 up win over Lee Westwood.

"I don't even know," Moore said when asked to describe his hectic, but memorable week. "I mean, this is unbelievable right now. To actually get the point that clinched it for us. Obviously we had some great play going on behind me. I was able to relax and play those last couple of holes and able to sneak a win out there."

After a successful past couple months on the PGA Tour that included a win at the John Deere and a playoff runner-up to Rory McIlroy at the Tour Championship, Moore was clearly the hottest player available for Love to pick. And he carried that good form over, winning a crucial point in four-ball Saturday afternoon before Sunday's triumph that left him with a 2-1 record in his Ryder Cup debut.

Despite Moore just learning he was on the team on Sunday night and arriving at Hazeltine on Monday afternoon, he said it was easy to make the transition to Team USA. And it showed. Moments after his hug with Love, Moore was giving an interview when Bubba Watson planted a huge kiss on his cheek. "I love you," said Watson, the seventh-ranked player in the world who was left off the team in favor of Moore.

And as for that winning golf ball? Moore let Love keep it.

"I lost my golf ball in '93 when I made a putt that ended the Ryder Cup. I left it in the hole," Love said. "So now I got one from the last hole."

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