The 39th Ryder Cup had social media abuzz, had people defying the weight of their eyelids and Americans eating a huge bout of humble pie. The 2012 Medinah hosted Ryder Cup produced the greatest comeback ever by the Europeans and the biggest comeback ever on foreign soil. It also was the biggest lead that USA had surrendered since the 2 shot turnaround in 1927. Europe fought through an incredible day to win the singles 8.5-3.5. Europe may have played 803 shots in 206 holes on Sunday, however there were 5 moments for me that won the Ryder Cup for Europe for the 7th tim in the last 9 editions. Here they are:
1. Rory McIlroy making his tee time
Rory McIlroy, the World Number 1, spent Saturday evening pretty inspired as he led the mini fightback with Ian Poulter to share the afternoon session 2-2. So after a great win what do you do? You watch highlights on the golf channel of course. Unfortunately for Rory the time shown by the golf channel was Eastern time and he was on Central American Time. The Northern Irishman, Denmark banging, star was escorted in an unmarked police car and managed to arrive 8 minutes before his tee time. If he had missed the tee off, Keegan Bradley would have won game 3 and USA would have won the Ryder Cup on the most bizarre technicality ever! Of course he made it and beat Bradley which was bloody enjoyable as the belly putting American is really annoying to watch!
2. The Putt on 17 by Justin Rose
Phil Mickelson goes 1 up on the 14th and misses a birdie putt on 15 to take it 2 up. On the 16th both men sink birdies to keep the score level. On to the ridiculously difficult par 3 17th. Rose plays first and finds the edge of the green, Mickelson misses the green. Mickelson then chips a ridiculously difficult chip that he thinks is going in and he starts to celebrate, it just misses but the fans go crazy as Mickelson has surely saved the hole with a simply outstanding shot. Rose of course now has to face an incredibly difficult 2 putt to save the whole and take the match to the 18th, so he does what every good European does, he putts it straight in. Mickelson is stunned but applauses very sportingly. Rose then goes on to win the 18th, but the putt on 17 is what turned this match and the point in favour of Europe.
3. The lack of a Tiger in the Woods
Tiger Woods is the type of golfer that can build incredible hype from the fans. And bearing in mind the fans that attended Medinah on Sunday, that hype could have been crippling for a fellow golfer. In previous times, when Tiger charges it has a huge effect on the crowd and would have been an inspiration to team America. Instead, there was a distinct lack of Tiger at the Ryder Cup. His only point being the half a point against Molinari in the final game. Tiger failed to impress and his final round was played without a single birdie! He has recently returned to the top 2 in the world and the Champions podium at golf events, but at the Ryder Cup he just couldn’t produce wood.
4. Ian Poulter on the 18th
If there was a man of the match selected in Ryder Cup golf, Ian Poulter would be it. He topped off an incredible year with his first ever come from behind victory in singles. He scored four out of four this week and his emotion is second to none. But what moment about him specifically helped Europe win? Well quite simply his second shot on the 18th. He won the 17th to go 1 up for the first time in the match and guaranteed a half point he drove into the rough off the right hand side. His second shot on the 18th was one that would make Bubba Watson proud. Over the tree and within 10 feet for a birdie putt, Webb Simpson was well and truly defeated. Out of interest’s sake, Poulter has now won 12 out of 15 games in Ryder Cup history!
5. Jim Furyk’s unfortunate implosion
Jim Furyk is a gentleman of the game. It is very hard to find anybody that really doesn’t like Jim or his ancient caddy Fluff. In his match up with Sergio Garcia, he took a 1 up lead onto the 17th, but nerves seemed to really affect the American major winner. A poor tee shot lands in the bunker and a very fast bunker shot leaves a long putt. Furyk gets onto his hands and knees and keeps re-looking at the putt. I have never seen him look this nervous. He misses the putt to go all square down the 18th. Furyk finds the bunker down the fairway but him and Garcia manage to line up Birdie putts. The nerves get to Jim though as he 3 putts for a bogey and Garcia 2 putts for a par to give Europe the match and another vital point on their way to Ryder Cup glory!
The video below is a complete highlights package of the final day where you will see each of the above 5 moments!
The comeback by the Europeans was one of the greatest in sporting history and the 5 moments listed above played just a small part in the epic encounter. Bring on 2014!