“The Miracle in Medinah”
On Saturday with two holes remaining, the U.S. Ryder Cup team lead Europe 10 to 4. Europe won the final two holes going into Sunday’s final. The score was 10 to 6.
With a lead that seemed insurmountable, the U.S. team entered match play Sunday confident they would return the cup to America.
The final event pairs one from the European team against one from the U.S. team. A victory and one point is given to the golfer who wins the majority of the 18 holes. If at the end they are tied, each receives ½ point.
To win back the Ryder Cup, the U.S. needed 14 and ½ points. The Europeans needed just 14 to retain it. The best of the U.S. faltered badly. Bubba Watson, Matt Kucher, Keegan Bradley, Steve Stricker, and Jim Furyk were lackluster in their efforts to bring the cup home to American soil.
For the team from Europe, Justin Rose made two incredible putts to win the 17th and 18th holes and defeat Phil Mickelson by one hole. Martin Kymer, who had his first day of play on Sunday, was matched against Steve Stricker. Stricker had to win the 18th hole to win a half point, but both golfers parred and the tournament was over. Tiger Woods and the Italian Molinari were the last pair to play. Woods had the advantage, but it never mattered. They never played the final hole. The cup had been won.
The European victory will be recorded as the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history. The announcers were already calling it the “Miracle in Medinah”. I could tell you that Stricker and Furyk, both ‘captain’s picks’, had played a difficult year on the tour, and were too old at 40 and 45 to compete in such an intense event. But that would be unfair to the European team. Rose, Kymer, Garcia, McIlroy, and Donald played some of the finest golf I have ever witnessed under pressure I could not imagine.
Sunday had as much drama as an overtime game in the Superbowl. Great crowds, (over 50,000), and great golf shots left the outcome uncertain until the next to last pairing on the 18th hole. I never wanted it to end.