Medinah miracle as Europe win Ryder Cup
By Allan Kelly ,AFP
October 2, 2012, 12:05 am TWN
CHICAGO, Illinois -- Europe produced the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history to reel in the United States and retain the trophy at Medinah Country Club on Sunday.
Trailing by 10-6 going into the closing 12 singles, Jose Maria Olazabal's men thrillingly won the first five matches out and went on to make sure of victory when Martin Kaymer downed Steve Stricker 1 up in the penultimate match.
He clinched it with a 6-foot putt at the last, 21 years after his fellow German Bernard Langer missed from a similar distance to hand victory to the United States at Kiawah Island.
That gave the Europeans the 14 points they needed to make sure of keeping the small, golden trophy for another two years, and then minutes later Tiger Woods missed a 4-footer at 18 against Francesco Molinari to hand overall victory to Europe 14 1/2 to 13 1/2.
“This is indescribable,” Kaymer said.
“I was so nervous in the last two or three holes. Olazabal came up to me on the 16th and told me we needed my point to win the Ryder Cup. I loved that feeling. Loved it.
“You cannot compare the pressure of winning this to winning my major. I won that for myself. But today I could hear my team and hear all the people. My season hasn't been good but today I made a huge step for my confidence.”
The Americans had started the 12 closing singles 10-6 ahead and needing just 4 1/2 points to win the cup for just the second time in the last decade, the other time being at Valhalla, Kentucky four years ago.
They got to that position by dominating the foursomes and fourballs play on Friday and Saturday, taking two sessions 3-1 and splitting the two others 2-2.
Jose Maria Olazabal's outgunned team were left with the mammoth task of winning eight out of the 12 singles to put the overall match score at 14-14, thus ensuring Europe retained the cup as holders.
No European side had ever managed to comeback from 6-10 down in the Ryder Cup and no U.S. team had ever lost more than a two-point advantage on the final day since the competition began in 1927.
Olazabal loaded his top guns at the start of the singles slate and there was some early momentum as Luke Donald quickly went 2 up on Bubba Watson in the lead match and Europe eased ahead in three of the first five matchups with one all-square.
But gradually the U.S. team settled in with some strong middle-order players and it became increasingly clear how huge the task on hand was for the Europeans.
Tiger Woods, of Team USA, reacts to a poor shot during the singles matches of the 39th Ryder Cup in Medinah, Illinois on Sunday, Sept. 30. (AFP/AP)