Europe roar back as Cup returns home
The top five singles were captured by Europe, with only Dustin Johnson’s win over Nicolas Colsaerts in the sixth singles stopping the rot as the match developed into one of the most tense played on American soil. In Brookline, the USA had staged the fightback; here, though, on home turf, they were the ones who were the fall guys.
On a beautiful day, with early cloud cover clearing to leave blue skies, the final series of 12 singles offered the defining play of this biennial match. In such circumstances, as Sam Torrance once observed, heroes emerge from the shadows and this was typified by Rose.
Seemingly dead and buried with two holes to play and two down to Mickelson, Rose chipped in for a most unlikely birdie on the Par 3 17th from 40 feet and then rolled in a 12-footer for a winning birdie on the 18th.
The drama was relentless, as one hero after another emerged for Olazabal and one match after another swung Europe’s way. Someone had turned on the tap and it developed into a tsunami which swept the Americans aside. The momentum from the top matches was brought into the middle order.
Although Zach Johnson secured a 2 and 1 win over an out of sorts Graeme McDowell, the hero of two years ago, there was a late collapse from US ‘wild card’ Jim Furyk which let Sergio Garcia in.
One up with two holes to play, Furyk – whose fragile putting was evident in letting the US Open slip from his grasp earlier this season and who also fell at the death in his bid to win the Bridgestone Invitational – bogeyed the 17th and, then, missed a eight-footer to save par on the 18th. He slumped, hands in head, as Garcia almost apologetically went to shake hands.
That win for Garcia – combined with a simultaneous 3 and 2 win for Lee Westwood over Matt Kuchar – moved Europe 13-12 ahead. Unbelievable as it seemed, Europe, finding form that had deserted them for the first two days, knocked aside all preconceptions about the outcome, with Jason Dufner, probably the calmest man in Chicago, winning the 18th in his match with Peter Hanson to even matters up at 13-apiece.
After three days of golfing combat, it all came down to four players who could hardly have envisaged they would be put into the spotlight. Not one of them had managed to earn a point in two days of foursomes and fourballs. But Kaymer, when the moment came, delivered big time and showed nerves of steel to sink a five footer on the 18th that won the match and retained the trophy for Europe.