Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Ryder Cup: Europe's incredible fightback completed by Kaymer

German's nerveless putt on the 18th retains Ryder Cup for Olazabal's side

Europe's Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald celebrate after winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Ian Poulter of Europe hits a shot on the 12th hole during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Europe's Rory McIlroy holds up the trophy after winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy of Europe poses with the Ryder Cup after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Sergio Garcia celebrate after Team Europe defeats the United States for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Martin Kaymer of Europe celebrates with Rory McIlroy and Peter Hanson after holing the decisive putt on the 18th green during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Members of team Europe celebrate after defeating the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Martin Kaymer (R) and Rory McIlroy celebrate in the locker room after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: (L-R) Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy celebrate in the locker room after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy celebrates after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy of Europe (L) and Tiger Woods of the USA greet each other on the 18th green after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy of Europe celebrates after Martin Kaymer holed the decisive putt on the 18th green during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Jim Furyk of the USA (R) reacts to a missed par putt on the 18th green as Sergio Garcia and the European team celebrate during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Justin Rose (L) and Rory McIlroy of Europe celebrate on the 18th green during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy of Europe waves to the gallery on the 17th green during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy of Europe celebrates a putt during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy of Europe waves to the gallery on the 17th green during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond receives a ceremonial putter to mark the passing of the Ryder Cup venue to Gleneagles 2014 during the closing ceremony after the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond receives a ceremonial putter to mark the passing of the Ryder Cup venue to Gleneagles 2014 during the closing ceremony after the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Lee Westwood of Europe reacts after making a birdie putt on the 15h hole during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Bubba Watson of the USA waits with his caddie Ted Scott during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: (L-R) Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Jose Maria Olazabal, Luke Donald and Ian Poulter pose with the Ryder Cup after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: (L-R) Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Jose Maria Olazabal, Luke Donald and Ian Poulter pose with the Ryder Cup after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Graeme McDowell poses with Martin Kaymer and the Ryder Cup after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy poses with the Ryder Cup after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy speaks with the media after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Davis Love III addresses the crowd at the closing ceremonies after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy speaks with the media after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy speaks with the media after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Martin Kaymer pose with the Ryder Cup alongside Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 28: Kristin Stape and Kate Rose look on during the Afternoon Four-Ball Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 28, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 28: Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley of the USA celebrate on the 17th green with Amy Mickelson and Jillian Stacey after defeating the McIlroy/McDowell team 2&1 during the Afternoon Four-Ball Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 28, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 28: Angie Watson (L) and Dowd Simpson watch the play during the Afternoon Four-Ball Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 28, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 28: Webb Simpson of the USA rides a golf cart with his wife Dowd during the Afternoon Four-Ball Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 28, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 28: Pernilla Bjorn and Kristin Stape watch the play during the Morning Foursome Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 28, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 28: Mandy Snedeker (L) and Tabitha Furyk watching the action during the Morning Foursome Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 28, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
A model promotes the 2012 Ryder Cup at the Medinah Country Club, Chicago
A model promotes the 2012 Ryder Cup at the Medinah Country Club, Chicago
A model promotes the 2012 Ryder Cup at the Medinah Country Club, Chicago
A model promotes the 2012 Ryder Cup at the Medinah Country Club, Chicago
A model promotes the 2012 Ryder Cup at the Medinah Country Club, Chicago
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 28: Mandy Snedeker (L) and Tabitha Furyk watching the action during the Morning Foursome Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 28, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Kristin Stape (L) and Kate Rose attend the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Paul Lawrie's wife Marian Lawrie before the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: USA team players wives and partners walk in during the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: L-R: Marian Lawrie, Katie Poulter, Laurae Westwood, Alison Clarke, Graeme McDowell's partner Kristin Stape during the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Jordin Sparks sings the national anthem as Davis Love III and Keegan Bradley of the USA look on during the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Peter Hanson of Europe poses with his wife Sanna after the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Justin Rose of Europe walks with his wife Kate to the stage at the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Graeme McDowell of Europe poses with his girlfriend Kristin Stape after the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Phil Mickelson' wife Amy Mickelson acknowledges the applause during the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Keegan Bradley of the USA with his partner Jillian Stacey during the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Matt Kuchar of the USA with his wife Sybi Kuchar during the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Webb Simpson of the USA and his wife Dowd attend the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Diane Donald and Pernilla Bjorn attend the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Ally McGinley attends the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Laurae Westwood attends the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Valentina Molinari attends the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Sanna Hanson attends the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Kate Rose attends the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Ian Poulter of Europe and his wife Katie Poulter walk in during the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Donald Trump and his wife Melania attend the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: European Team captain Jose Maria Olazabal with the players wives and partners during the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Graeme McDowell of Europe and his partner Kristin Stape attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Zach Johnson of the USA and his wife Kim Johnson attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Dustin Johnson of the USA and his partner Amanda Cauder attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Jim Furyk of the USA and his partner Tabitha Furyk attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Jason Dufner of the USA and his wife Amanda Dufner attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Keegan Bradley of the USA and his partner Jillian Stacey attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Lee Westwood of Europe with his wife Laurae Westwood attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: USA team captain Davis Love III and his wife Robin Love attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Graeme McDowell of Europe (L) poses with his girlfriend Kristin Stape and Rory McIlroy (R) for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Paul McGinley of Europe poses with his wife Ally for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Darren Clarke of Europe poses with his wife Alison for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Miguel Angel Jimenez of Europe poses with his girlfriend Susanne Styblo for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Graeme McDowell of Europe poses with his girlfriend Kristin Stape for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Justin Rose of Europe poses with his wife Kate for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Francesco Molinari of Europe poses with his wife Valentina for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Luke Donald of England of Europe poses with his wife Diane for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Ian Poulter of England of Europe poses with his wife Katie for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Paul Lawrie of Europe poses with his wife Marian for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Peter Hanson of Europe poses with his wife Sanna for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Thomas Bjorn of Europe poses with his wife Pernilla for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Actress Jessica Biel watches the play of Justin Timberlake during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Actress Jessica Biel (R) watches the play of Justin Timberlake during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Actress Jessica Biel watches the play of Justin Timberlake during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Actress Jessica Biel watches the play of Justin Timberlake during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Actress Jessica Biel watches the play of Justin Timberlake during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Phil Mickelson of the USA and his wife Amy Mickelson attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Matt Kuchar of the USA and his wife Sybi Kuchar attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Webb Simpson of the USA and his wife Dowd Simpson attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Brandt Snedeker of the USA and his wife Mandy Snedeker attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Steve Stricker of the USA and his wife Nicki Stricker attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: The European team players pose for a photograph with their wives and partners prior to the 39th Ryder Cup gala>> at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: European Team captain Jose Maria Olazabal poses for a photograph with the European players wives and partners prior to the 39th Ryder Cup gala>> at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Peter Hanson of Europe and his wife Sanna Hanson attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Paul Lawrie of Europe and his wife Marian Lawrie attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Francesco Molinari of Europe and his wife Valentina Molinari attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Ian Poulter of Europe and his wife Katie Poulter attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Justin Rose of Europe and his wife Kate Rose attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy of Europe pose with the Ryder Cup after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Unbelievable theatre, unimaginable tension, barely credible outcome. From the outer limits of probability Europe conjured the magic number 14 to retain the Ryder Cup. The impulse is to write that twice to make doubly sure.

All around Medinah folk of a European persuasion were asking how this could happen. Perhaps the answer was tattooed across the sky. Midway through the afternoon "Spirit of Seve" appeared overhead in tiny puffs of cloud. It became possible to believe as Europe's heroic top order came in one after another in a blaze of scoreboard blue that the great man was indeed pulling celestial strings. First, Luke Donald then in quick succession Paul Lawrie, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose impaled the American foe to bring Europe level in this incredible contest.



At 11 apiece a triumph that at the start of play had looked beyond Europe's battered golfers was suddenly, tantalisingly within their grasp. Lee Westwood made it 12 points and Sergio Garcia came from behind to beat Jim Furyk at the last. Garcia pointed to his left sleeve, where the players wore a tribute to Seve Ballesteros, feeling certain that the father of the European Ryder Cup team had his hand on the rudder of fate. Jose Maria Olazabal, the Europe captain, dared not look. It came down to the last two matches, Martin Kaymer versus Steve Stricker and Francesco Molinari against Tiger Woods.



Kaymer needed a half at the last to secure the winning point, and spare Molinari, who had fallen one behind at the 17th . Easier said than done after finding sand off the tee. Stricker was feeding off adrenalin, too, and from the middle of the fairway could get no closer than 20 yards. His birdie putt sailed 12 feet past. Kaymer followed him past the hole leaving him an eight-footer to retain the cup for Europe. It never looked like missing. Cue delirium.



Europe were required to overturn history as well as a four-point deficit. Only eight times in 38 previous meetings had this team, firstly as Great Britain and Ireland and subsequently Europe, prevailed in mano a mano combat on the last day. The degree of difficulty simplified the challenge. It was win or bust straight out of the box. Olazabal top-loaded his line-up sending out his four best players in a high-risk strategy to put points on the board. No one could argue with that.



As much as they tried to guard against complacency, the American team betrayed a sense of comfort in their easy deportment at the start of play. Vice-captain Freddie Couples was bouncing around the first tee like a puppy, conducting the bonding session with the American supporters boxed behind the tee. Most of the seating had been taken three hours before the whistle went. As many as 40,000 were expected through the gate. There was the inevitable communion with America's mascot-in-chief Michael Jordan, who resembled a tower block with a coat on so much did his impressive physicality dominate the setting.



Europe responded with subtelty in the shape of Pep Guardiola. The former Barcelona coach was in the house with his wife and two children.



Keegan Bradley has been the screaming face of American endeavour. In deed and mood he had set the agenda over the opening two days. Hitherto unanswerable, the singles pairings threw McIlroy his way. At least it would do eventually.



Between them Captain Olazabal and his four lieutenants left their prize asset in bed. This was the morning when everything had to run like clockwork, no mistakes, everyone on his game. While preparations were under way at the course McIlroy was watching from his hotel room believing his tee time was an hour away. The Golf Chanel clock ticks on Eastern time. McIlroy was on Central time, an hour back. Oops.



While Bradley was sprinting around the tee box, working the crowd with his Arnold Schwartzenegger impressions, his opponent was speeding to Medinah via police escort. With less than 10 minutes to his tee time, McIlroy bolted from the front passenger seat to the putting green. No time to loosen up on the range. A quick swig from a water bottle and a munch on an energy bar and McIlroy was on the gantry making his way from the putting green to the tee.



This insane development with Europe in the midden bettered any of the cock-ups fashioned by Sir Nick Faldo at Valhalla four years ago. Never mind. Donald was out first after returning a point in the gloaming alongside Sergio Garcia on Saturday night.



Ranged against him was Bubba Watson on a course that was made to measure for the long-hitting Masters champion. He hadn't reckoned with Donald's surgical precision, silencing his noisy assailants in the stands, who taunted him over his majorless state. Donald had the major winner at four-down before prevailing at the penultimate hole to claim the first point of the day for Europe and reduce the deficit to three.



That would soon come down to two courtesy of the brutally efficient dispatch of Brandt Snedeker by Lawrie. Up ahead Europe's go-to sorcerer, Ian Poulter, was locked in a tense duel with Webb Simpson. Poulter was understandably slow to rise after the intensity of the previous day and fell two behind at the fourth and again at the sixth, but he was all square at the 12th and fully engaged once more.



They came to the par-three 17th locked together but when Simpson found sand off the tee the initiative passed to Poulter at the last. It proved to be the point that tied the teams after McIlroy speared Bradley at the 17th. Having overslept at the PGA and won by eight, McIlroy was not overly concerned. He led from the fourth hole, and though pegged back briefly at the 12th, hit the accelerator with birdies at 14 and 15 and won it at the penultimate hole. Golf, bloody hell.

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