Ryder Cup 2012 – The Greatest Ever?

Ryder Cup 2012 – The Greatest Ever?

A Finish That Will Never Be Forgotten #RyderCup

Well, what can I say? PG’s Ryder Cup prediction concluded with the line “If we do triumph it will surely be one the greatest ever European performances”. Having been glued to the coverage all weekend, I think it’s safe to say we have not just witnessed the greatest ever performance by a European Ryder Cup team, but instead one of the greatest ever performances in the history of our sport.

The odds were stacked against José María Olazábal and Team Europe from the start, with the American team on imperious form throughout the season and a course set up to suit the stateside bombers of Bubba, Phil, Dustin Johnson and a certain Mr. Woods. We may have started strong on the opening day, with the Northern Irish pairing of McIlroy and McDowell taking the opening match of the competition, but some inspirational play from the Americans saw them take a 5-3 lead into the weekend.

It didn’t get much better for the Europeans, with the Americans thriving in the Chicago cauldron of Medinah Country Club to take 3 of the 4 points on offer in Saturday’s morning’s foursomes, including a record equalling 7&6 defeat for the former world number 1’s pairing of Lee Westwood and Luke Donald. It was looking ominous for Ollie and Team Europe, with the American’s continuing their form to take a 10-4 lead at one stage of Saturday afternoon, making PG’s prediction of a 3 point win for the US look a bit hopeful! Only some absolutely heroic play from Mr. Ryder Cup himself, Ian Poulter and a 1UP win for Donald/Garcia stopped Team USA running away with it, bringing the score to 10-6 but still leaving Team Europe with almost an impossible task on Sunday if the famous trophy was to return to the blue continent.

Now if there’s one man who was renowned for making the impossible possible, it was the man worn of the sleeve of every European player on Sunday. Seve Ballesteros, Captain Ollie’s great friend and a golfer that changed the way many looked at the game of golf, would have revelled in what was about to come. Already written off by many American journalists, the European team came out fighting, with emphatic performances in the first 5 singles matches to cover the leaderboard in blue. Despite defeats for McDowell and Colsaerts, Garcia won the last hole against Jim Furyk to take a valuable point and put Europe in the lead for the first time all week.

It was almost unbearable to watch, especially when Peter Hanson narrowly lost to Dustin Johnson to bring the scores to 13-13 with two all-square games coming down the stretch. Celtic Manor two years ago was quite something, the drama was talked about for months. However, on Sunday night when Martin Kaymer, who has been out of sorts this season, won the 17th, found the green in regulation on 18 and holed his tricky seven footer for par to retain the Ryder Cup for Europe, it produced scenes and a explosion of emotion that will be talked about for years. European tears, embraces and chants spread through Medinah, and when Tiger Woods missed a short putt on the last to give the Europeans the extra half point needed to win the Ryder Cup outright, the fairy-tale was complete.

As expected, Olazábal dedicated to win to the late, great Seve in an emotional final speech. He would have loved every minute, and was on the mind of every European on Sunday, inspiring a day that will surely never be repeated again. I’m not sure my heart could take it if it did.

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