Ryder Cup 2012; Europe beat USA after record comeback


European Ryder Cup Winning Captain Jose Maria Olazabal

The Ryder Cup 2012 turned into a magical explosion of great golf as the European Ryder Cup Team produced a stunning final-day comeback to win the Ryder Cup at a shell-shocked Medinah Country Club on the final day of this wonderful competition, to beat Team U.S.A. I personally have to eat humble pie, after yesterday saying a betting man would not give Europe a chance, you can see why I am not a gambling man.

Team U.S.A.  only required four points from the 12 on offer on the last day, Team Europe somehow secured eight and a half to clinch a historic 14½-13½ win. German Martin Kaymer sank a five-foot putt on the 18th green to get his team to the 14 points needed to retain the Ryder Cup Trophy, before a Tiger Woods bogey in the final match gifted them overall victory.

Etched in the sky during the last day was a message about remembering  Seve,  so I guess it worked. Team Europe wore the trademark Seve Ballesteros colors for the final day, it was a fitting tribute. European Team Captain said,

Seve will always be present with this team. He was a big factor for this event, for the European side, and last night when we were having that meeting, I think the boys understood that believing was the most important thing, and I think they did.”

This was the first time in three days that Team Europe had come charging out of the traps, Luke Donald going into an early two-hole lead over Bubba Watson and muting both his opponent and the crowd in the process. Then with Justin Rose also two up on Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy held off the previously unbeatable Keegan Bradley and the unsung hero Paul Lawrie taking early control against Brandt Snedeker. There was an entirely different atmosphere around the course than there had been on the first two one-sided days. Team Europe won the first five matches of the day, and that set the tone, and paved the way to Victory.

In the end  it came down to the last two matches on the final two holes, both matches were all-square and is was all square on the leaderboard.  None of the four, Martin Kaymer, Steve Stricker, Francesco Molinari or Tiger Woods, had won a single point between them all week. Then suddenly Steve Stricker three-putted on the 17th green and Martin Kaymer had a one-hole lead. Tiger Woods went one up on Molinari on the 17th which left Martin Kaymer two putts for the Cup, and he somehow held his nerve as the shadows lengthened to seal an extraordinary triumph. The usually noisy home galleries were silent with disbelief, as a dazed Tiger Woods blew two putts from within eight feet to hand Molinari a half point, and with it victory.

U.S.A. Team Captain Davis Love 111 said in disbelief;

“We know what it feels like now from the ’99 Ryder Cup, it’s a little bit shocking. We were playing so well.”

USA 13½-14½ Europe

Singles matches:

Watson lost to Donald 2&1

Simpson lost to Poulter 2 up

Bradley lost to McIlroy 2&1

Mickelson lost to Rose 1 up

Snedeker lost to Lawrie 5&3

D Johnson beat Colsaerts 3&2

Z Johnson beat McDowell 2&1

Furyk lost to Garcia 1 up

Dufner beat Hanson 2 up

Kuchar lost to Westwood 3&2

Stricker lost to Kaymer 1 up

Woods halved with Molinari

Volvo World Match Play Championship

Volvo World Match Play ChampionshipLogo European Tour small v4Ian Poulter ()

Group 1: (1) Martin Kaymer, (16) Rafael Cabrera Bello, (24) Richard Finch
Group 2: (4) Graeme McDowell, (13) Robert Karlsson, (20) Jbe Kruger
Group 3: (2) Justin Rose, (15) Robert Rock, (19) Darren Clarke
Group 4: (3) Charl Schwartzel, (14) Nicolas Colsaerts, (18) Retief Goosen
Group 5: (5) Sergio Garcia, (12) Alvaro Quiros, (22) Tetsuji Hiratsuka
Group 6: (8) Ian Poulter, (9) John Senden, (23) Tom Lewis
Group 7: (6) Peter Hanson, (11) Paul Lawrie, (21) Camilo Villegas
Group 8: (7) Brandt Snedeker, (10) Thomas Bjorn, (17) Branden Grace

Ian Poulter starts his defense of the Volvo World Match Play tournament in Andalucia Spain on Thursday against Australian John Senden. Ian has said he is ready for the cut and thrust of matchplay;

“I love the cut and thrust of match play and find it a refreshing change from the usual stroke play format we play week in week out on the Tour. And with the fact it is Ryder Cup year, I think it will be even more exciting with every match from the group stages to the final a chance for aspiring team members to impress Captain Olazábal in what is our final chance to play match player before Medinah.”

The host country has Rafael Cabrera Bello, Sergio Garcia and Alvaro Quiros to try and achieve a Spanish win, a feat last completed by Seve Ballesteros in 1991 at The Wentworth Club in England.

England is represented by five players, more than any of the other nations, second is South Africa with four, Spain three, Northern Ireland and  Sweden both have two players, with Australia, Belgium, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Scotland, United States, fielding one each. The lone American is seventh seeded Brandt Snedeker, who faces Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn in the first round.

All the  players are divided into eight groups of three. They play in a round-robin group format on Thursday and Friday. This will decide which 16 players progress to Saturday’s knock-out stage. The semi-finals and final will played on Sunday. The first 16 players have been seeded based upon their Official World Ranking Points as of Monday 14 May 2012. The eight un-seeded players will be drawn at random on Tuesday 15 May. Good luck to them all, I love watching matchplay, you either win your match or your out.

Peter Alliss steals the Show, at Hall of Fame Induction

Peter Alliss at the 2012 World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Peter Alliss at the Hall of Fame Induction, Getty Images

Peter Alliss stole the show at the Hall of Fame Induction ceremony in St Augustine Florida on Monday. True to form he recounted many a story to delight the audience, and Peter has many stories to tell, garnered during his 50 years as a TV pundit and commentator. A Hall of Fame official said;

 “We should induct Peter Alliss and Dan Jenkins every year.” Or, at the least, make them part of the annual show to guarantee spewing of wit and wisdom.

Here are some of the gems Peter delivered on the night;

 “Today’s keyhole journalism, I think, is one of the sad things not only about sport but about life, that somebody can be a promising young person, boy, girl, whatever; and the editor in today’s society wants to find out if they ever did anything naughty when they were young. Did they ever steal something from Woolworth’s, a packet of sweetie’s, or did they ever have a boy-boy relationship when they were at college or girl-girl relationship, and have you got any photos?”

Then he recounted his school report from his headmistress,  Violet Weymouth, a short Welsh woman who routinely had a cigarette dangling from her lips and had a way of striking fear. Weymouth sent the report to Peter’s parents dismissing the young Alliss, saying he was loath to use his brain and seemed interested in only golf and a particular girl who, in his words, helped teach him the “ways of the world.” The report concluded with,

“I fear for his future.”

Peter smiled, then concluded his speech;

“So mom and dad died a long, long time ago, and if there is such a thing as heaven and if people do look down, well, mom, dad, here we are. Look at this lot. Look where I’ve been, look what I’ve done. Never worked very hard at it. But it’s all fallen into place. Lovely family, lovely wife, looks after me, shouts a bit occasionally. But they are remarkable. They put up with all my nonsense, and I love them dearly.

“And Mrs. Weymouth, if you’re there …”

And with that, he held up a middle finger for what seemed like several seconds and then walked off to loud applause.

Peter is also blown away by the decline of  Tiger Woods and by the fact Woods often seems lost in instructional mechanics saying;

“His golfing brain, for some reason or other is completely addled.  He was Gulliver in a land of Lilliputians. He dominated everyone. He frightened everybody. Then he gets into this trouble with the ladies and seemingly he loses it, and then he has to start again.”

“I’m not saying I’m a great teaching guru but,  if he couldn’t be put right in an hour, I’d go home and stick my head in a bucket of ice water, because to me it’s so simple. You stand and you swing. His golfing brain, for some reason or other is completely addled.”

He remembers being taken aback when he and Arnold Palmer watched Tiger practice on the range at last year’s Masters. Tiger Woods, arguably the most dominant golfer off all time, was getting a chipping lesson. He turned to Arnold and said

“Arnold, are we seeing things? Are we going mad?  It’s like Pavarotti saying I’m fed up being a tenor. I think I’m going to sing as a baritone. That’s not a criticism; it’s an opinion. But that’s why Tiger is fuddled and befuddled.”

He later spoke of his affection and friendship with Seve Ballesteros;

“He was a dear friend of mine, but he was the tightest duck-assed fellow I ever knew in my life. He had millions. He had two cars in his garage. He had a Lamborghini and a Ferrari, and I think they both had about 3,000 miles on the clock. And a Range Rover. He said, ‘They use too much petrol. I can’t afford that petrol. And he was the 840th richest person in the world, or whatever it was at that time.”