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Ryder Cup 2012: U.S. collapse opens door for European victory
And he had plenty of help. Europe’s top five players in the lineup all won, including Rory McIlroy, who was lucky to be playing.
McIlroy thought his match was at 12:25 p.m. — it was listed in Eastern time, not Central — and needed a police escort to get to the course with 10 minutes to spare. Then, he came up with key birdies to hand Keegan Bradley his first loss of the week.
The biggest match might have belonged to Rose. He was on the verge of losing to Mickelson when Rose holed a 12-foot par putt to halve the 16th, made a 35-foot birdie putt from the back of the 17th green to win the hole, and then closed out Mickelson with a 12-foot birdie on the last hole.
Six of the 12 matches went to the 18th hole on Sunday. The Americans won only one of them.
The Americans also rallied from a four-point deficit to win in 1999 at Brookline. This was different, though. The Americans won big in those early matches. At Medinah, so many of them could have gone either way.
“Today was certainly not what we expect,” U.S. captain Davis Love III said.
Europe now has won seven of the last nine Ryder Cups, and even more remarkable about this comeback is that they did it on the road.
Love became the first U.S. captain to sit every player at least once before Sunday, wanting them to be fresh for the decisive day. Instead, the Americans faltered at the end — especially Furyk and Stricker, two of his captain’s picks.
“The plan worked the first two days,” he said. “It just didn’t work today.”
The only U.S. points came from Dustin Johnson, who went 3-0 in this Ryder Cup, Zach Johnson and unheralded Jason Dufner.
“We’re all kind of stunned,” Love said. “We know what it feels like now from the ‘99 Ryder Cup. It’s a little bit shocking. We were playing so well, we figured it didn’t matter how we sent them out there. We got a couple of matches flipped there in the middle that cost us.”
Kaymer gave German golf some redemption from Kiawah Island in 1991, when countryman Bernhard Langer missed a par putt from about the same length that allowed the Americans to win.
“It’s a feeling I never had before,” Kaymer said. “On Friday, I sat down with Bernhard and talked a little bit about the Ryder Cup because my attitude was not the right one. But now I know how important the Ryder Cup is.”
It means everything to Europe, and it showed.
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