Magical comeback inspired by the spirit of Seve
CADDIE'S ROLE:Europe were possessed by the spirit and sense of team worth that this little Ryder Cup trophy evokes, writes COLIN BYRNE
HOW DIFFERENT Medinah is in the autumn compared to the summer. Apart from the beauty of the falling leaves, from a golfing perspective it was thoroughly enthralling.
I am not saying this as a Ryder Cup enthusiast – more as a golf appreciator.
The difference was simply the course set-up. Medinah Number Three was set up for scoring. The rookie star of Europe, Nicolas Colsaerts, indicated this with his 10-under par contribution in his fourball match victory over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker with his partner Lee Westwood.
The controversial tradition in the Ryder Cup that the home captain gets to choose how the course is presented ensured that Davis Love III was going to give his long-hitting team a real home advantage by shaving the rough.
In other words Tiger and Phil Mickelson could hit their tee shots all over Chicago and still have a shot to the green. They did, and they did.
The excitement of this form of team competition is that it is such a unique format of play. It is 18 holes of matchplay. With this format anything can happen and if you putt well, you will most likely win your match.
From a player’s perspective it is the one week when they have to think not only of themselves but also participate as one cog of the team machine. So when we all became aware that the world’s number one golfer had cut his arrival at the course very fine for his last day singles match there was both indignation and amusement. How could he have made such a mis-judgment? Well it is a wonder but with his three-under-par front-nine score seeing him two-up in his match he was quickly forgiven and slowly vindicated.
Who cares about routines and pre-round preparation. It’s how you perform under pressure that matters.
In an arena fuelled by passion and patriotism, given the remarkable turnaround in fortune for the trailing Europeans, I hope the state trooper who managed to get Rory to the course with minutes to spare before his tee-time was given an invite to Sunday night’s celebrations.
It seemed like the wishes of both captains for measured enthusiasm from the crowd in their partisan support was well respected. Despite acceptable crowd cajoling from players there appeared to be suitable decorum shown to all competitors.
What did us Europeans all really think as the Americans holed putt after putt in the fourballs and foursomes? I thought it was impossible to win in America without the golfing gods pulling hard for Europe on the greens. The gods were pulling for the home team it seemed until Sunday and the singles.