The European Ryder Cup team equaled the biggest comeback in the history of the popular golf event on September 30 when they beat the USA by a score of 14.5 to 13.5.
The Europeans, led by captain Jose Maria Olazabal, shocked spectators at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois when they won the day’s first five games with golfers such as Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Paul Lawrie and Justin Rose in the lineup. They then finished the day strong as well with Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia, and won the day 8-3-1.
The last two games were crucial with Kaymer, who is a former number-one ranked golfer, beating American Steve Stricker during the second-last match to clinch the trophy. Stricker said he was disappointed that he let the other 11 Americans down, but he certainly wasn’t to blame for the European win.
Tiger Woods golfed last for the U.S. team against Francesco Molinari, but their contest didn’t mean a thing as the European squad had already defended the Cup by securing the 14 points that are necessary for a victory.
The Europeans wore a silhouette of former golfing great Seve Ballesteros on the sleeves of their shirts in honor of his passing in of cancer in 2011. Olazabal wanted his team to pay tribute to his former Ryder Cup partner and they didn’t let him down by never giving up even though all of the odds were stacked against them after Saturday’s play when they were trailing 10-6.
Olazabal said that everybody believed they could come back and win the event and then went out and put their money where their mouths were the next day. Olazabal has also been on the other side of the coin when it comes to amazing Ryder Cup comebacks.
He was on the European team that blew a four-game lead back in 1999 at Brookline. However, it was American team captain Davis Love who felt the agony of defeat this time. Ironically, he also played in the 1999 event as well.
After the game, Love said he and all of his teammates were extremely stunned and he now knows what it feels like to be on the losing side after throwing away a big lead. He added that he Americans thought they had things wrapped up heading into the final day because they were playing well, but they have definitely learned their lesson the hard way.
The Europeans dominated the matches early on the final day and then the Americans seemed to regain their footing after Dustin Johnson beat Nicolas Colsaerts and then Zach Johnson took care of Graeme McDowell. The veteran American golfers struggled though and that ended up costing them the tournament. Stricker, Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson all lost the last two holes in their games and were beaten.
Poulter had the best performance of the event by going 4-0. He beat Webb Simpson in the second match of the final day and became the first golfer in the past 31 years to post a 4-0 record.