Ryder Cup heartbreak

Parker Fox, Editor-in-Chief

Entering the Sunday singles matches at the Ryder Cup, Team U.S.A. owned a commanding 10-6 lead, and a European comeback was all but impossible.  American captain David Love III chose his Sunday slots with confidence on Saturday night, noting that he believed Jason Dufner, playing in the third to last group, would provide the United States with the clinching point.  Little did he know that what the Europeans did the following day would live in Ryder Cup infamy.

            European captain Jose Maria Olazabal sent Englishman Luke Donald out in the first match, knowing that a fast start would be essential if there was to be any hope for his team.  Donald came through.  He crushed American Bubba Watson, going up by five holes before fending off a last ditch comeback effort from his opponent.  Donald won 2 and 1.  The Europeans won the next four consecutive matches after Donald’s, miraculously giving them the lead.  It took a memorable performance from Englishman Justin Rose, who dropped a 40 foot putt on 17 to tie his match with Phil Michelson, and then won it on 18 when he drained a 15 footer for birdie.

            The Americans would quickly regain the lead with victories from Dustin Johnson and Zach Johnson, winning 2 and 1 over Graeme McDowell and 3 and 2 over Nicholas Colsaerts, respectively.  American Jim Furyk missed a few gigantic putts coming down the stretch, bogeying 17 and 18 and losing to Sergio Garcia in the process.  Jason Dufner won a match for the Americans and Lee Westwood one for the Europeans, leaving just two matches left on the golf course and a tied Ryder Cup.  In the event of a tie, the Cup would be retained by the Europeans, due to their victory at the previous Ryder Cup in 2010.

            In one match, German Martin Kaymer was battling American Steve Stricker, both knowing exactly how important the match was.  On 17, Stricker, a famously good putter, missed a simple 5 footer to save par and Kaymer successfully saved par, putting him up one heading into 18.  Stricker knew he needed a birdie to halve the match and leave the tournament in final man Tiger Woods’ hands, who was just behind that group playing against Italian Francesco Molinari.  Stricker missed his birdie putt badly but was able to make the tough comebacker to keep any hope alive.  Kaymer had only needed two putts to clinch the Cup for the Europeans, but he knocked his first one a good five feet past.  Knowing exactly how big of a putt it was, Kaymer drained it.  The comeback was complete, and the last match on the golf course was irrelevant.