It was a feeling of déjà vu for team U.S.A on 1st October, when Europe staged one of the finest comebacks ever on a Golf course, but were on the wrong side of affairs this time around. A comeback made by U.S.A at Brookline in 1999 when they came back form 10-6 down on the final day to win it 14 ½- 13 ½ , was termed as miraculous and no one could have thought anything greater could ever happen, until what happened 2 days back.
Europe pulled off a remarkable comeback, coming down from 10-6 on the last day, winning it 14 ½ points to 13 ½. This had a similar score line to the one in Brookline, but had a little more greatness attached to it. As is being said, Europe managed to do this deriving inspiration from the spirit of Seve Ballesteros, a legend of the game.
The European captain Olazabal was quoted as saying:
“Even at 6-10, we didn’t believe we were doomed”.
This just illustrates the fact confidence and belief can take you far.
Europe, the defending champions, needed eight points in the concluding singles to retain the title. On the other hand, the U.S needed a meagre 4 ½ to steal it from Europe. It started with Europe sending the World No. 3, Englishman Luke Donald to reduce the deficit. He was up against World No. 8 Bubba Watson of the U.S, the winner of the European Masters.
Europe won the first 6 of the 8 encounters; the chances of Europe were then resting on their German player Martin Kaymer, who then beat America’s Steve Stricker one up to give Europe the lead. The tie then rested on the match-up between the final group consisting Tiger Woods (U.S.A.) up against Italy’s Molinari (Europe). Woods, to everyone’s surprise, missed a three-foot par putt at the 18th, then conceded a putt from similar length to halve his contest, handing Europe an outright victory. Each got half a point, with Europe then clinching the title and staging one of the greatest comebacks ever, not only on golf, but any sport.
The debate on which is the greatest comeback ever on a golf course, the one by the U.S. in Brookline or the one by Europe in Medinah can go on for life, but the way Europe did it and the quality of players the U.S. had in their ranks; 5 out of 12 on the top 10 including the likes of 14 Majors holder Tiger Woods and the 10 Majors winning veteran, Phil Mickelson. Also, Martin Kaymer, who had a horrendous 2 year period falling from being World No.1 to No. 32, defeating the World No. 12 under such huge pressure speaks volumes of the character the Europeans showed. Hence, taking these factors into account, this gets a slightly higher rating compared to the one in Brookline way back in 1999.
The U.S captain Davis Love III was quoted as:
“I don’t have a reaction yet, we are all kind of stunned. It’s a little bit shocking. We were playing so well, everyone on our team was playing so well.”
This even further makes the claim of this being the greatest ever, since, the U.S. were playing well and to beat them, coming behind from a four point deficit, is a remarkable feat.
But, in all this an interesting point is being left out and it’s funny too; Rory McIlroy, the Northern Irish World No.1, almost handed it to the U.S, not by virtue of his play, but due to a huge misunderstanding. He thought his match commences at 12.25, which actually was to start at 11.25. A call from his manager at 11 asking if he was at the golf course, found McIlroy in shock who then rushed for the tee-off aided by a policeman, Patrick Rollins and reached just in time to avoid disqualification and save face. The amount of abuse he would have faced had he not made it, is beyond anyone’s imagination. The World No. 1 then defeated Keegan Bradley 2&1 to save face and kept Europe’s hopes alive. Had he not been there on time, Europe would have gifted a point and in the bigger picture, the title to the U.S. Hence, there is a strong case for McIlroy’s manager, Conor Ridge to be rewarded and given fair credit for the triumph.
The European players were found rejoicing and paid tribute to the legendary Seve Ballesteros.
Watson lost to Donald 2&1
Simpson lost to Poulter 2&1
Bradley lost to McIlroy 2&1
Mickelson lost to Rose 1 up
Snedeker lost to Lawrie 5&3
D Johnson beat Colsaerts 3&2
Z Johnson beat Mcdowell 2&1
Furyk lost to Garcia 1 up
Dufner beat Hanson 2 up
Kuchar lost to Westwood 3&2
Stricker lost to Kaymer 1up
Woods halved with Molinari