The Ryder Cup. European Glory at Gleneagles.

Ryder Cup Gleneagles The Ryder Cup

The European Ryder Cup Team tasted Glory at Gleneagles by lifting the trophy once again.

World number one Rory McIlroy lead by example as he put the first point of the day on the board when he defeated good friend Rickie Fowler 5-4.

Rory was full of praise for Captain McGinley;

“I can’t say enough about the Captain. Paul McGinley has been absolutely immense this week. He has left no stone unturned. He has given this week a lot of thought over the last two years. I am just glad it worked out for him.”

Ryder Cup

Jubilant Rory / Getty Images

Graeme McDowell then recovered from three down to hand rookie Jordan Spieth his first defeat at this Ryder Cup, G-Mac won 2-1.

There was a brief interlude as Team USA fought back, Patrick Reed beat Henrik Stenson on the 18th, Phil Mickelson took down Stephen Gallacher and Matt Kuchar beat Thomas Bjørn.

The European Team responded to the challenge, Martin Kaymer chipped in to complete a 4 and 2 win over Bubba Watson and Justin Rose snatched a half from Hunter Mahan at the 18th to take Europe to 13 ½ points.

Jamie Donaldson capped of an impressive debut, having the honor of claiming the winning point with a 5 and 3 victory over Keegan Bradley.
Jamie felt over the moon with his experience;

“I hit the wedge shot of my life to close the game out. I can’t really put words to it. It is unbelievable. I knew it was getting tight there at the end and everyone was building on my group. I just tried not to spend too much time looking at the scoreboard.”

“I was able to do it well enough to close it out.The lads have got on so well all week. It is an incredible week. It is hard to describe how good it is , there is nothing else like it in golf.

“It has been amazing to be a part of it.”

European Captain Paul McGinley applauded the Team effort;

It has been a real honor to captain these 12 players, our backroom team, it has been a huge team effort.” 

“We had three or four big ideas which we kept feeding back to and they came off. I have a great sense of pride giving happiness to everyone.”

The two sides will square off next time at Hazeltine in 2016, will the European’s make it four in a row ?

Ryder Cup Gleneagles

The Ryder Cup. Europe In Control.

Ryder Cup Gleneagles The Ryder Cup

Europe are in control of The Ryder Cup, taking a commanding lead into the final day of 10 points to 6. They dominated the Saturday foursomes after the USA had won two matches in the morning session. Europe won one and the final match of the session between Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler against Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter was halved. That reduced the lead of Europe to 6.5 points to 5.5  points going into the afternoon Foursomes matches.

In the afternoon matches  Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, set the tone by  making 12 birdies in a record-setting duel against Hunter Mahan and Matt Kuchar. This was no push over as Hunter and Matt recorded 9 birdies between them, but it was not enough to overcome the most birdies by a single side in any Ryder Cup match by the Europeans.

The Americans missed some opportunities on Saturday afternoon, and American TV commentator Johnny Miller summed it all up , after Jim Furyk had made a mess of a short pitch shot that went long, he referred to the pressure of the Ryder Cup;

“It’s all nerves at this point. All these people around and the importance of getting, maybe, somehow another half a point for the U.S., just melted. He’s had trouble finishing all year even though he’s played great.”

Lee Westwood edged closer to becoming Europe’s record points scorer when he and Jamie Donaldson beat Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar in the foursomes.

Europe now needs only  four more points to retain the Ryder Cup. It sounds easy, but two years ago, Europe rallied from the same deficit to shock the U.S. at Medinah. The U.S. did the same in 1999 at The Country Club at Brookline, the two biggest rallies in Ryder Cup history, so it can be done.

The Ryder Cup

The Ryder Cup

 

The Ryder Cup. Great 1st Day at Gleneagles

Ryder Cup Gleneagles

It was a great first day at Gleneagles in the 2014 Ryder Cup. In the morning foursomes, Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia lost a tense match to Phil Mickleson and Keegan Bradley, this was after Team Europe were leading 1up with three to play. The match took five and half hours to complete.

Team USA were leading after those morning foursomes, Europe 1.5 and US 2.5. Big shock of the day was Ian Poulter and Steve Gallacher being thrashed 5-4 by the young pairing of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, much to the delight of the American Team as Ian was the thorn in their side at Medinah, Jordan explained;

“There are a few guys on our team that specifically would like to match up against Ian. There are a few guys that came up and told us that they are very jealous that we had them today.”

“But whatever it is, past history or just the fact that he’s known as being The Ryder Cup wizard for the Europeans, he’s certainly not under our skin because we haven’t dealt with him before.”

Ian shrugged off the loss;

“Obviously it’s a loss on the board, whether that be 5 and 4 or one down, but I don’t look at it as a heavy loss, I just look at it as a loss.”

“Ryder Cup is very black or white. It’s very simple: You lose or you win.”

Team Europe equalled that 5-4 score in the morning when Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson beat Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, Justin went on to win again in the afternoon foursomes, he had this to say;

That’s the job, that’s the role. When you go out one, that’s the position the captain obviously put you into to go deliver a point” 

“That’s what me and the Iceman came to do today. We got off to a good start and we know how key that was.”

Last match of day one was won by Graeme McDowell and Victor Dubuisson against Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley.

Europe came back in the afternoon to lead at the end of day one 5-3. Already looking forward to tomorrows matches in this intriguing Ryder Cup, there are many twists and turns to come, and as Ian Poulter said, you lose or you win.

Poulter and Colsaerts,Euro Ryder Cup Wildcards

Poulter and Colsaerts get Ryder Cup wildcard picks  (Source: Photosport) Ian Poulter/ PhotosportYou're in: Jose Maria Olazabal named Nicolas Colsaerts (right) in his European Ryder Cup team

Ryder Cup Captain Jose Maria Olazabal & Nicolas Colsaerts

Ian Poulter of England and Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium were named by captain Jose Maria Olazabal as Europe’s two wildcard picks for next month’s Ryder Cup at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois. Jose spoke at a press conference at Gleneagles, Scotland, he said,

“Every one of you pretty much guessed Ian was going to be there. That was not a difficult pick because he has a great Ryder Cup record and he’s playing well. He had some issues earlier this season when he got ill and couldn’t play as much as he wanted. But his attitude and his spirit in the Ryder Cup has always been great and he is a player that likes to be in that environment. It gets the best out of him. At Valhalla in 2008 and at Celtic Manor in 2010 you didn’t need to motivate him. Just by looking into his eyes you could tell he was going to give everything he had.”

Nicolas is one of the longest hitters on the European Tour, and will become the first Belgian to play in the Ryder Cup. Captain Olazabal explained his reasons for picking the Belgian Bomber;

“Nicolas has shown a lot of heart, a lot of character, and I think he has got the game and the desire to do well. It’s also a long course at Medinah and he can take advantage of that, he will be suited to it. He has had a very solid season and on top of that he has made the extra effort to try and get in the team, that showed me he wants to be a part of it. Nicolas is going to be the only rookie in an experienced team but his match play record is very good, he won the World Match Play Championship in Spain this year.”

Among those who missed out on selection were Padraig Harrington of Ireland, Paul Casey, Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson. Jose said he had called the disappointed players;

“I talked to the next few guys on the points list, David Lynn, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Alvaro Quiros and Padraig. I made those phone calls and it wasn’t easy. They were disappointed not to make the team but they all took my decision well. Padraig played well at the US Masters, finishing eighth, he also had a good US Open and a good Irish Open, but he is 19th on the points list and he was just a little bit too far down. I know he’s a great player and I would have loved to have him in the team, in the same way I’d have loved to have Paul Casey, Robert Karlsson, Henrik Stenson, but you need to be playing well too,”

Jose has stated that the European Team  and the American Team, captained by Davis Love III, are evenly matched for the contest  at Medinah, even though Europe won 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 in the previous edition of the competition at Celtic Manor, Wales.

“Both teams are strong and I don’t see that there is a favorite. But the support of the home crowd will be massive to the U.S. They will also set up the course the way they want and we are going to have to play really well to have a chance to win.The atmosphere will be electrifying so I need to prepare my players for that and make sure they don’t allow themselves to be bothered by it. Luckily the guys have the experience to make that easier. We are playing great opponents but anything can happen.”

European team are: Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), Justin Rose (England), Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland), Paul Lawrie (Scotland), Francesco Molinari (Italy), Luke Donald (England), Lee Westwood (England), Sergio Garcia (Spain), Peter Hanson (Sweden), Martin Kaymer (Germany), Ian Poulter (England), Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium).

US captain Davis Love will announce his four wildcard picks on September 4 in New York, I love the Ryder Cup, and match-play.