- Associated Press - Sunday, September 30, 2012

MEDINAH, ILL. (AP) - The debt was outstanding for 21 years. It took less than 10 seconds to erase.

Martin Kaymer stood 6 feet below the hole on No. 18 at Medinah Country Club with a par putt to keep the Ryder Cup in European hands, much like his countryman, Bernhard Langer, faced at Kiawah Island in 1991. This time, the German poured it in.

It came at the end of picture-postcard fall afternoon featuring more twists and turns over the course of nearly 6 1/2 hours Sunday than a season-long sitcom. Here is how it unfolded:

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11:07 a.m.

European captain Jose Maria Olazabal’s strategy to front-load his singles lineup with his hottest players looked better and better as the day stretched on. But it paid immediate dividends, too. Luke Donald teed off first in the opening match against Bubba Watson, and although the Englishman was born in Hertfordshire, he has called Chicago home since arriving at Northwestern University on a golf scholarship more than a dozen years ago. What sounded like a scattering of “boos” when he stepped onto the first tee were actually cries of “Luuuuke!” for a guy the hometown galleries have always treated like a local hero.

Donald cracked his drive down the middle of the fairway. Watson, who worked the grandstands into a frenzy the two previous days and then hit his tee shot to the crowd’s full-throated roar, turned the trick a third time. The left-hander hooked his drive into the gallery on the right. The two players were finally reunited on the green, where both made pars.

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11:14 a.m.

Fellow Englishman Ian Poulter and Webb Simpson were set to start when an unmarked, black state police car zoomed up to Medinah’s ornate, Byzantine-styled clubhouse and Rory McIlroy jumped out. The European star’s match was scheduled to go off in 11 minutes. Back at the team hotel, McIlroy had been watching The Golf Channel, which showed his 11:25 tee time as 12:25 EASTERN.

McIlroy is not one for warm-ups, but this was ridiculous, even for him.

“Put my shoes on, a couple of putts, just your average sort of warm-up,” he would chuckle after winning his match against Keegan Bradley, the breakout star on the U.S. side, 2 and 1. “It was probably a really good thing I didn’t have to think about it too much.”

Easy for him to say.

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11:25 a.m.

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