Europe clinches Ryder Cup with stunning comeback
MEDINAH - Reuters
European team is presented its trophy on stage at the closing ceremonies after the Ryder Cup victory over the United States team. AFP photoEuropean team pulls off one of the most dramatic comebacks in the Ryder Cup history to beat the team US. The winners dedicate thevictory to late Seve Ballesteros Nikola Karabatic (R) prepares to leave the Pierre de Coubertin Arena to be escorted by policemen to the central station after the match between PSG and Montpellier.
European team is presented its trophy on stage at the closing ceremonies after the Ryder Cup victory over the United States team.
Inspired by the spirit of Seve Ballesteros, Europe pulled off one of the greatest comebacks on a golf course to beat the United States and win the Ryder Cup by 14-1/2 points to 13-1/2 on Sept. 30.
Needing to claim eight points in the concluding singles to retain the trophy, Europe won six of the first eight encounters before Germany’s Martin Kaymer secured the vital point to retain the Cup by beating Steve Stricker one up.
After Stricker had coolly holed his par putt from eight feet at the last, Kaymer buried his five-footer for a matching par before thrusting his arms skywards in delight as European fans erupted with deafening cheers at Medinah Country Club.
“It’s indescribable,” the German said as chants of “Ole, Ole, Ole” echoed across the course. “I was so nervous the last two, three holes. I loved it. It’s amazing.”
With the chance of a tie resting on the final match, Tiger Woods astonishingly missed a three-foot par putt at the 18th, then conceded a putt from similar length to halve his contest with Italy’s Francesco Molinari to hand Europe outright victory.
“It was already over,” Woods said. “This is a team event and the Cup was already been retained by Europe.”
Europe, who sent out their best players early, emulated the miracle comeback achieved by the U.S. at Brookline in 1999 when they also overhauled a deficit of 10-6 on the final day, in front of vocal home crowds, to triumph by the same margin.
However Europe’s turnaround, which stunned the American fans into periods of silence in the late afternoon, will be viewed as more impressive having been delivered on foreign soil.
“We believed in our hearts we could win this,” said Luke Donald. “It’s been done before and we believed we could turn it around.”
The Europeans drew inspiration from their beloved Ballesteros, who died last year aged 54 after a battle with cancer, with every player wearing the navy blue colors favored by the Spaniard.
“Seve will always be present with this team,” said Olazabal, for whom his compatriot Ballesteros was both a friend and mentor. “He was a big factor for this event, for the European side.
“Last night when we were having that (team) meeting, I think the boys understood that believing was the most important thing, and I think they did. This one is for the whole of Europe.”
Europe won four and halved one of the six matches that reached the 18th hole as they triumphed for a fourth time on U.S. soil. The Europeans have now won the Ryder Cup seven times in the last nine editions.
U.S. captain Davis Love III, whose team had been in a dominant position when leading 10-6, was stunned by the defeat.
“We know what it feels like now from the ‘99 Ryder Cup. It’s a little bit shocking.
“I wouldn’t have done anything different. They played great.”
US CONSOLED BY YOUNG GUNS’ PERFORMANCES
A strong contingent of US young guns appear ready to take the torch from a group of American veterans whose Ryder Cup careers could be coming to a close.
A trio of recent major championship winners Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley all had solid Ryder Cups at the Medinah Country Club.
“I can’t be more proud of this team,” said US skipper Davis Love. “This is one of the most powerful teams ever put together but it’s also one of the classiest teams.”
Watson and Bradley provided the youthful energy that inspired veterans like Phil Mickelson, who was appearing in his ninth Ryder Cup.
Bradley was finding it hard to come down off the high of playing in the Ryder Cup. “I never felt more on a team in my life,” Bradley said. “I am going to be disappointed that we are not going to get together tomorrow to all get ready to play.”