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Tiger Woods didn’t know tie was still possible

By Karl MacGinty

Incredibly, Tiger Woods had no idea of the significance of the putt he conceded to Francesco Molinari on the 18th green at Medinah.

Woods, one ahead of the Italian as they played the last, described the four-foot putt he missed at the last as “inconsequential”.

Yet had Tiger holed it and beaten Molinari, the 39th Ryder Cup would have ended in a 14-14 draw, with Europe retaining the trophy they won at Celtic Manor.

“To be honest, I didn't really pay that much attention,” said Woods. “I was trying to get my point.

“I went one-up at 17 and I asked Joey La Cava (his caddie) what was going on down 18 because my responsibility was to be able to get my point.

“Then they said Europe had a chance to win on this hole, or retain the Cup,” Tiger added. “After all that settled down, my putt was useless. It was inconsequential.

“So I hit it too quick and gave him his putt and it was already over.”

Woods should try telling his captain, Davis Love III, that putt was inconsequential, or the many punters who wagered money at big odds on only the third tie in the history of the Ryder Cup.

Mind you, those who backed Europe to win outright will be delighted. But while they celebrated, bookmakers were counting the cost of Woods’ magnanimous gesture.

The visitors were quoted at 33/1 for victory when they trailed 10-4 at one stage during Saturday's fourballs matches but prevailed in the last couple of those ties and then dominated the closing day's singles games to claim a fifth triumph in the last six renewals of this event.

Bet365 spokesman Steve Freeth said: “USA looked home and hosed on Saturday evening but Ian Poulter's heroics gave Europe backers hope and that's when we saw the first signs of belief in a fightback from Olazabal's men at fancy prices.

“With the flying start they made in the singles on Sunday that momentum continued during the day leaving us ‘full-up' with money for Europe as punters smashed into the matches, correct score and outright, leaving us with our worst ever golf result.”

Along with many golf fans, bookmakers William Hill are in shock after seeing one of the biggest swings in sports betting history.

With a book heavily weighted in Europe's favour, they were cheering home a USA victory or the tie but the turnaround was little less than spectacular, with Tiger Woods' final miss costing Hills alone over half a million pounds.

“The tie would have been a perfect result, Tiger's missed putt cost us about £100,000 a foot and resulted in probably the biggest swing in golf betting history,” said Hills spokesman Rupert Adams. “Team USA and the British bookies are both licking their wounds.”

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