Europe Win The Ryder Cup
It was magic Monday for Europe as they won The Ryder Cup on a sensational final day at The Celtic Manor Resort.
As if they did not have enough Ryder Cup heroes already, Ireland came up with another amid amazing scenes at The Celtic Manor Resort – a real giant in Graeme McDowell. Following in the famous footsteps of Eamonn Darcy, Christy O’Connor, Philip Walton and Paul McGinley, the 31 year old from Portrush won back the trophy for Europe when everything depended on him.
If McDowell thought he had faced the ultimate test of character when he won his first Major at the US Open Championship in June, he was made to think again. “I have never felt as nervous in my life,” he admitted. Yet under such enormous pressure – this was the first match to go to the final game since 1991 – McDowell, back at the course where he won The Celtic Manor Wales Open four months ago, beat Hunter Mahan. And he did so thanks to a dramatic 20 foot birdie putt at the 16th and then a par on the short 17th.
Colin Montgomerie’s side lost the singles 7-5, but having taken a three-point lead into the day – the first Monday in Ryder Cup history after all the rain – they triumphed by a 14 1/2-13 1/2 margin. “This is crazy,” added McDowell. “I was trying to do it for 11 team-mates, for all the fans, for the caddies, for Europe and for Monty – and we were all trying to win it for Seve (Ballesteros) too. “The back nine at Pebble Beach felt like a back nine playing with my dad at Royal Portrush. “It’s so much pressure and this is a special feeling – there’s nothing quite like it. “Monty was amazing. For the last two years he has been up for this.” Yet the Scot immediately pushed the praise back to his team and backroom staff. Montgomerie said: “Graeme was put there for a very good reason. He won the US Open, was full of confidence and it showed. His birdie on the 16th was unbelievable. “We got off to a flyer, were up in eight and it was over, but they came back extremely well and all credit to them.” After early morning fog had threatened to add to the weather woes, Dustin Johnson and Steve Stricker scored the first two points. Johnson beat US PGA Champion Martin Kaymer 6&4 and Stricker beat new World Number Two Lee Westwood 2&1. But Ian Poulter demolished Matt Kuchar 5&4 and 21 year old Rory McIlroy halved with Stewart Cink to make it 11-9.
After McIlroy’s first taste of The Ryder Cup – one win, two halves with Cink and one defeat to him said: “In two years’ time I do not want to be watching this on television. “This has been the best week of my life – and this is the best event in golf by far.” McIlroy’s relief was palpable, however, after his third shot from the sand by the final green rolled back in and he then got up and down.
Luke Donald took Europe close with a last-green success over Jim Furyk after being three up with five to play, and Miguel Angel Jim√©nez followed with a 4&3 success over Bubba Watson. Six games were still left on the course at that point, though, and when Jeff Overton beat Ross Fisher, and Tiger Woods – nine under par and seven under for his last seven holes – took care of Francesco Molinari 4&3 the tension was mounting.
That was even more the case when Phil Mickelson, point-less from his first three games, beat Peter Hanson 4&2. Padraig Harrington could not find a way back against Zach Johnson, also losing on the 16th, and then 21 year old Rickie Fowler produced an amazing fightback against Molinari’s brother Edoardo.
Four down after 12 and three down with three to play, the US PGA Tour rookie picked by American Captain Corey Pavin on a hunch birdied them all, holing from 20 feet at the 17th and 18 feet on the last. It meant that instead of needing “only” a half, McDowell had to win to keep the United States without a victory away from home since 1993. But he was equal to the task. What a man, what a team, what a match and what a Captain. The Full Monty indeed.
TIMETABLE OF THE FINAL DAY SINGLES
12.48pm Steve Stricker beat Lee Westwood to make the score Europe 9¬Ω – USA 7¬Ω.
12.50pm Dustin Johnson wins his first point, beating Martin Kaymer 6 & 4 to get the USA within one point, 9¬Ω-8¬Ω.
1.02pm Ian Poulter beat Matt Kuchar 5 & 4 to win Europe‚Äôs first point and takes the score to Europe 10¬Ω-USA 8¬Ω. Poulter now has a 100% record in Ryder Cup singles; played three, won three.
1.22pm Rory McIlroy and Stewart Cink finished all square to take the score to Europe 11-USA 9. Cink is the only player to remain unbeaten on either side.
1.30pm Luke Donald beat Jim Furyk by one hole to make the score Europe 12-USA 9.
2.05pm Miguel Angel Jim√©nez claimed his first singles win beating Bubba Watson 4 & 3 to make the score 13-9 to Europe.
2.11pm Jeff Overton defeated Ross Fisher 3 & 2 to make the score Europe 13-USA 10.
2.15pm Tiger Woods beats Francesco Molinari 4 & 3 to edge the USA closer to within two at 13-11.
2.44pm Phil Mickelson‚Äôs 4 & 2 win over Peter Hanson takes the score to Europe 13-USA 12.
3.02pm Rickie Fowler‚Äôs half with Edoardo Molinari means the score goes to 13¬Ω for Europe, 12¬Ω to the USA.
3.03pm Zach Johnson‚Äôs 3 &2 win over Padraig Harrington means the match is level at 13¬Ω-13¬Ω.
3.22pm Graeme McDowell‚Äôs win by 3 and 1 over Hunter Mahan means he claims the winning point for Europe 14¬Ω-13¬Ω to regain The Ryder Cup for Europe