Continental shift: How the stars aligned for Europe
1 A cop in the right place at the right time . . .
Rory McIlroy had mixed up his tee-time for Sunday’s singles with Keegan Bradley, misinterpreting the texted time on his phone. He was casually making his way out of the hotel when his manager Conor Ridge got through to tell him he had 25 minutes to make his tee-time.
Fortunately for McIlroy, a state trooper was parked outside the hotel and switched on the flashing lights to get him to Medinah on time. If he had missed his tee time by less than five minutes, he would have lost the first hole. Any longer, and he would have been disqualified. McIlroy won 2 and 1.
2 A shank in the wrong place at the wrong time. . .
On the eight tee, Webb Simpson – one-up on Ian Poulter – shanked his tee-shot into the trees on the right which led to a bogey four. “He was under pressure. I knew he felt really uncomfortable at that point. I felt if I could just get my nose in front I could win, and that was what was required. There were the other guys on the front of that leaderboard all up, and I was done and I felt, ‘If I can turn thus match, if we can win the first five games, then we’re in front.’ All of a sudden 10-6 to them is 11-10 to us. That feeds the other guys for them to get some inspiration and finish the job.” Poulter won by two holes.
3 A putt in a million .. . .
Justin Rose was one down to Phil Mickelson standing on the 17th green and faced with a 40-foot putt with a severe left-to-right break. Rose – who sank an eight-footer on the 16th to halve the hole – had watched Mickelson almost hole-out with a chip shot and then proceeded to roll in the birdie putt. “I buried it on top of him, that was one of the best feelings of my life to make that putt.” On the 18th, Rose stood over a birdie putt to win the match. Just before he made the birdie putt, he glanced down at his left sleeve to see the silhouette of Seve Ballesteros.
4 A cold, cold putter . ..
Jim Furyk held a one hole lead over Sergio Garcia playing the 17th hole. As it transpired, this singles match came down to a series of missed putts, both by Furyk, on the 17th and 18th greens. On the 17th, Furyk’s tee-shot finished in a bunker and he splashed out to 12 feet but missed the par save. On the 18th, he hit an approach to the back of the green: his first putt finished eight feet beyond the hole, and he missed the par save back.
5 A thinned chip shot
Steve Stricker’s tee-shot to the 17th finished up a matter of feet over the back of the green. Stricker – who failed to muster a point – then caught his chip shot a little thin and it ran seven feet by the hole. His par putt back rimmed the hole. It gave Martin Kaymer a one-up lead playing the last and the German duly finished the job (bravely holing his par putt on the 18th) to win his singles and retain the trophy for Europe.
6 A concession from Tiger. . .
With Europe having retained the Ryder Cup with Kaymer’s win bringing the team’s total to 14 points, Francesco Molinari ensured it became a win rather than merely retaining the trophy. The Italian found the green from a fairway bunker; Tiger Woods missed the green from the fairway.
Woods’s chip hit the hole but he missed the par putt back. He conceded Molinari his short putt to give Europe overall victory.
– PHILIP REID