Golf does not usually get many posts on Thee Sports Blog, but I was all sucked in to the Ryder Cup this weekend to see if the US of A could win the cup back from the Europeans. I consider myself an above average golf fan, I keep up with it especially during the majors, I have been to a few tournaments including the Tour Championship last week. I suck at playing, mainly because I hardly ever play, my clubs are collecting dust in the garage. So every two years when the United States takes on an entire continent, I tune in.
After the first two days things were looking good. The USA had built a commanding 10-6 lead after the four ball and foursome matches. They did this even though Tiger Woods (and Steve Stricker) went 0-3. Team captain Davis Love III even SAT DOWN Woods on Saturday morning. Keegan Bradley was on fire, so was Phil, Zack, Webb and Kuchar. Bubba Watson was getting the crowd all fired up and chanting while he hit off the tee. Michael Jordan was there, BOTH President Bushs’ were there. This was going to be great on Sunday, up 10-6, we just needed 4 1/2 points out of the 12 singles matches. pffft. No problem.
Then Sunday happened.
Back in 1999, in Brookline, Mass, it was Europe who was ahead 10-6 heading into Sunday. US Captain Ben Crenshaw said he had a feeling about that Sunday. The United States made the greatest comeback in history and it was sealed when Justin Leonard made a 50 foot putt to win his match. His opponent that day was Spain’s Jose Marie Olazabal….
13 years later, Europe’s team captain, non other than Jose Marie Olazabal. He pretty much used Crenshaw’s playbook against the United States. He put his best players out early and gained momentum. Bubba was getting beat up by Luke Donald, I watched Webb Simpson shank a ball into the crowd, (uh oh) I could have done that. So I changed the channel to football for good luck, and changed back a few minutes later. The tipping point was when England’s Justin Rose made a 40 foot birdie putt on the 17th hole against Phil Mickelson. He then closed out Phil on the 18th hole.
That was when I stopped flipping back and forth between golf and the NFL and stayed on golf. Next thing I know that 10-6 lead is gone and the score is tied 11-11. Tiger Woods was the anchorman for the US, I was thinking “Oh ISH” it is going to come down to Tiger and he is going to stomp this Italian dude he is playing and get the winning point. But that didnt even matter, the collapse continued through Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker (DL3 captain’s picks). So when Martin Kaymer rolled in his 6 foot par putt against Stricker, that was it. Tiger (0-3-1) was left standing on the 18th fairway watching Europe celebrate (he was winning his match, btw).
Game over man, game over! 14 1/2 – 13 1/2. Matching the biggest Ryder Cup comeback ever.
It was great and agonizing television. See you in two years.