Ryder Cup 2012: Europe steal victory

October 1, 2012 12:30 pm

Europe came from behind to beat America and win the 2012 Ryder Cup on the third and final day at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois, completing the greatest comeback in the history of the team. The golfers from Europe started the day 10-6 down to the seemingly unbeatable Americans, but some incredible individual performances in the singles matches saw them turn the deficit around to take the tournament 14 1/2-13 1/2.

Europe got off to a winning start, posting victories in the first five games of the day, with wins for Luke Donald (2&1), Ian Poulter (2 up), Rory McIllroy (2&1), Justin Rose (1 up) and Paul Lawrie (5&3). These five wins, including a dramatic final-hole victory for Rose over veteran Phil Mickelson, saw Europe take an 11-10 lead in the tournament.

The United States found some form in the middle matches, with victories for Dustin Johnson (3&2), Zach Johnson (2&1) and Jason Dufner (2 up), but Europe struck back with wins by Lee Westwood (3&2) and Sergio Garcia (1 up). These wins levelled the score at 13-13, with two matches remaining. As Europe won the previous Ryder Cup in 2010 a draw would see them retain their title, and so a total of 14 points would be enough to ensure that the trophy stayed east of the Atlantic.

The penultimate match saw German Martin Kaymar against American Steve Stricker. Kaymar came to the 18th hole with a 1-point lead, meaning a half on the last hole would be enough to retain the Ryder Cup for Europe. Both players found the green in regulation, and after Stricker’s birdie putt sailed past the hole, the German had two putts to complete Europe’s turn-around. He made it uncomfortable for the

European fans, hitting his first putt long and leaving a nervy six-footer to halve the hole, but Kaymer looked the calmest man on the course as he stepped up and slotted the ball home, making the score 14-13 to Europe. With just one match left to finish, Europe was guaranteed a draw, meaning that as reigning champions they would retain the trophy.

But the surprises weren’t over yet. Even as the European players, coaches and fans celebrated the retention of the trophy, the final pair was playing down the 18th hole. Italian Francisco Molinari trailed Tiger Woods by a single point, but Woods missed a short putt on the final hole to hand Molinari the win, drawing the match and sealing Europe’s victory, 14 1/2-13 1/2.

The European team had dedicated their performance to the late, great Seve Ballesteros, and each player had a picture of the golfing legend on their bag. European captain José María Olazábal, a close friend of Ballesteros, was overcome with emotion as he watched his team complete their miracle comeback. The Spaniard barely managed to talk during the post-match interview, but he praised the ‘unbelievable job’ done by his team, and summed up the feelings of the entire golfing world as he spoke of his friend and mentor, Seve. ‘This one is for him.’

%d bloggers like this: