A fantastic day of golf on Sunday saw Europe retain the Ryder Cup after beating the U.S. 14.5-13.5 in front of vociferous support for the home team in the biennial golf event.
Martin Kaymer made a clutch par putt on 18 at the Medinah Country Club to secure the return of the trophy, and Tiger Woods conceded the final hole to Francesco Molinari to give the Europeans an outright win.
Down 10-6 going into the 12 singles matches, Europe matched the biggest last day comeback in the history of the three-day tournament by winning 8.5 points from the head-to-head contests.
“The first two days, nothing went our way,” said European captain Jose Maria Olazabal. “But we changed it early today and that was key.” Europe were buoyed by both a good start to the round and some late-hole struggles by the Americans, and they have now won five of the last six Ryder Cups.
Luke Donald beat Bubba Watson 2&1 to start the day, and the holders won five of the first six matches to bring the contest even.
Ian Poulter beat Webb Simpson 2 up to go 4-0 for the weekend and take his all-time Ryder Cup record to 12-3, one of the best ever.
Poulter was one of three Europeans to win the 17th and 18th holes to change the result of his match.
Justin Rose made three long puts on 16, 17 and 18 to stun Phil Mickelson, who thought he had won the match only to see his chip on 17 narrowly skirt the hole.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve ever made three big putts in a row like that in my life,” said Rose, who won 1 up.
Sergio Garcia posted a similarly dramatic win over Jim Furyk, who missed an 8-foot par putt on 18 in losing the last two holes.
“I don’t know how we did it,” said the Spaniard afterwards.
In explaining the comeback, Olazabal pointed to the spirit of countryman Seve Ballesteros, who died last year but was an inspirational figure for the Europeans in this tournament.
“Seve will always be present with this team. He was a big factor in this event,” he said. “I think the boys understood that believing was the key. And they did.”
Keywords: Ryder Cup