The highlight of the golfing of year for Europeans was the Ryder Cup but US golf fans will want to forget the agonising defeat in the 2012 matches. The States have now lost seven of the last nine renewals. Tom Watson has been recruited to lead the side in 2014.
Darren Clarke looks like being chosen to captain the Europeans at Gleneagles in Scotland. However, Watson has won four British Opens in Scotland and he is as popular and respected there as much as in his own country.
The European side are favourites to win the Ryder Cup for the third time in succession but in Watson the States have chosen a leader who has not been on a losing side in four appearances as a player and as a former captain.
The first two days of the 2012 Ryder Cup saw the States establish what appeared to be a decisive lead. At one point on the Saturday afternoon they led by 10 points to 4 and looked untouchable. Typical of how the match was developing was the partnership of Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley who won three points from as many pair’s matches.
However, there was a shift in momentum when Ian Poulter (pictured) birdied the last five holes alongside Rory McIlroy to beat Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson. That crucial point meant the deficit was four points ahead of the singles.
No away side had overcome such a deficit to win the Cup and it had only been achieved once in the history of the matches. However the Europeans felt the match was still not decided but a fast start on Sunday morning was required.
Europe won the first five singles on that day in Chicago. McIlroy beat the confident Bradley despite arriving at the course ten minutes before he was due to play. Poulter delivered the point he had promised by beating Webb Simpson in the second match.
Every point was crucial but Justin Rose’s win over Mickelson was highly significant. He was a hole down with two to play but won the match at the 18th hole. Ultimately that point was the difference between the US losing and winning the Ryder Cup and the amazing comeback was complete
Martin Kaymer holed a putt of about six foot to beat Steve Stricker for Europe to retain the Cup. Tiger Woods’ missed putt on the last green against Francesco Molinari and concession of his opponents putt meant Europe had won the Ryder Cup outright by a margin of one point.