Column: Decades-old debt erased in 10 seconds

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Kaymer drives into the right bunker on 18 and his approach shot rolls 20 feet past the flag. Waiting for Stricker to play, his caddy begins massaging his shoulders. Stricker hits his iron 45 feet past the flag and the crowd makes one final, feeble attempt to pump up the U.S. team.

“USA! USA! USA!” rings across the ground.

In short order, Stricker misreads his putt and runs it down the left side of the green, still a good 8 feet from the hole. Kaymer’s nervous jab at a birdie is only slightly better, sliding 6 feet past.

Stricker misses and all that stands between Kaymer and the “Miracle at Medinah” is that measly half-dozen yards.

___

5:14 p.m.

The putt drops, Kaymer lets the handle of the putter collapse against his side and raises both hands in the air.

“Now I know,” he says, “how it really feels to win the Ryder Cup.”

Somewhere, thousands of miles away, a smile creases Langer’s face.

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