Europeans Stage Final-Day Comeback To Win Ryder Cup

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The United States required only four-and-a-half points from the 12 on offer, but the Europeans secured eight and a half to clinch a historic 14.5-13.5 win.

Martin Kaymer sank a five-foot putt on the 18th green to get his team to the 14 points needed to retain the trophy. Then a Tiger Woods bogey on the final green of the final match gifted Jose Maria Olazabal’s side overall victory. The victorious European captain said: “To the 12 men of Europe, what you did out there was outstanding. All men die but not all men live and you made me feel alive again this week. “I don’t know how heaven feels, but it must be close to this.”

luke donald and ben shear celebrate 2012 ryder cup win

The win matches the record recovery of Ben Crenshaw’s US team in Boston in 1999 and is the best from a European side in the Ryder Cup. It was a fitting tribute to the late Seve Ballesteros, the man who did so much to reinvigorate the competition and whose trademark navy blue and white the side wore on the final day in Chicago.

It was back and forth down the stretch, one side taking the lead before the other snatched it back, until it came down to the last two matches on the final two holes. Both were all-square, with overall score locked at 13-13. When Steve Stricker three-putted on the 17th, Kaymer had a one-hole lead. The German then made a brilliant approach from a bunker on 18, rolling home the pivotal putt as Stricker crumbled under the pressure. It was left to Italian Molinari to seal overall victory, when he split his match with Woods.
Ben Shear and Luke Donald at Ryder Cup 2012
For the first time in three days, Europe started strong thanks to Luke Donald. Luke Donald going into an early two-hole lead over Bubba Watson and muting both his opponent and the crowd in the process.

With Justin Rose also two up on Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy holding off the previously unbeatable Keegan Bradley and the unheralded Paul Lawrie taking early control against Brandt Snedeker, there was an entirely different atmosphere around the course than there had been on the first two one-sided days. Donald had been asked to do what Colin Montgomerie had done in 2004 and win the first point of the day in style. And he did so on the 17th despite a late charge from Watson.

The next Ryder Cup will be at Gleneagles from September, 26 – 28, 2014.