They didn’t have a home crowd to rally them, relying instead on the silence.
“Last time it was done, it was the American team in America,” Lee Westwood said after closing out Matt Kuchar in 16 holes. “This would be against all odds. This would be the greatest comeback in the Ryder Cup — ever.”
And it was a collapse the Americans won’t soon forget. Just 24 hours earlier, they had a 10-4 lead with two team matches still on the course — they were ahead in one of them, while Woods and Stricker were closing in on the other. It’s hard to believe they would only win 3½ points the rest of the way.
Europe came out fast, and for McIlroy, that started at his hotel.
He was leisurely heading out of the hotel — thinking that his tee time was an hour later than it was — when he got a frantic call to tell him his match was in 25 minutes. McIlroy was lucky to run into the police, who helped him get to Medinah with enough time to change his shoes, take a few putts and head to the tee box.
He never trailed in his match, making two straight birdies late to knock off Bradley.
“It’s my own fault,” McIlroy said. “If I let down these 11 other boys and vice captains and captains this week, I would never forgive myself. I’m just obviously happy to get the point and help the cause out a little bit today.”
Everyone pitched in.
Luke Donald, who makes Chicago his home and had a small share of gallery support, overwhelmed Bubba Watson despite being some 50 yards behind him off the tee. Paul Lawrie, returning to the Ryder Cup after a 13-year absence, had the shortest match of the day against FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker. Poulter outlasted Simpson when the U.S. Open champion hit into a bunker on the 17th and made bogey, and then hit well long on the 18th when he needed a birdie to halve the match.
Jack Nicklaus first suggested in 1977 that all of Europe be included in the Ryder Cup, which brought the great Ballesteros into the matches. He was determined to prove that Europeans were equal to the Americans, and they have shown to be every bit of that over the last three decades.
By Mark Mix
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