Sport

‘Miracle of Medinah’ – Ryder Cup victory for Europe

After a summer of such sporting brilliance, it seemed only fitting that the “Miracle of Medinah” came to pass.

Trailing 10-4 at one point on the Saturday, it seemed that the European team had no answer to Davis Love III’s surging Americans or the raucous home crowd. Yet, come Sunday evening it was Jose Maria Olzabal’s men celebrating a miraculous 14½-13½ victory. So how did it happen? How were the European team able to silence the “U-S-As” and complete this record-breaking comeback?

It began as it had to, with Olazabal’s lead off selections taking the lead early, applying pressure to their rivals and silencing the exuberant galleries. Almost inevitably, it seemed as if the European’s could not miss a putt, with American efforts falling agonisingly short or skidding just past the hole. The bristling confidence that exuded from Medinah all week long was replaced with doubt, anxiety and fear.

Five matches reached the final hole.The US would only take 1½ from those matches as the much-vaunted home team crumbled under the pressure.

In terms of individual European heroics, there was no need to look any further than Ian Poulter. Having not won a tournament since May 2011 and only at Medinah by the grace of a captain’s pick, Poulter was inspirational and played with a determination that galvanised the European effort. Taking all four points from his four matches, it was he who kickstarted the European revival with his aggressive display in the Saturday foursomes. Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia, whose careers had been defined by opportunities missed rather than those taken, sank some of the most important putts of the weekend. After Rose’s winding 30 footer on the 17th green, the Europeans dared to believe. When he held his nerve on the 18th to steal the match from Phil Mickleson, the comeback was on.

The defining moment of the match fell to a man desperately out of form. Martin Kaymer, the former world number one, was dropped for three of the first four sessions, but nervelessly rolled in a putt from six feet to complete one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time.

Olazabal, by channeling the spirit of the great Seve Ballesteros, became the emotional fulcrum needed to spur his team on to a victory that will last long in the memory; giving us one last great sporting moment in what has been possibly the greatest ever summer of sport.

09/10/2012

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thomasritchie



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