October 2nd, 2012
11:53 AM ET

Did the U.S. throw away the Ryder Cup?

Davis Love watched his team throw away a four-point lead heading into the final day.
Davis Love watched his team throw away a four-point lead heading into the final day.

As a Brit who followed this year’s Ryder Cup every step of the way – I take immense pride in the European team’s come-from-behind victory. It was a fantastic achievement, but did Jose Maria’s Olazabal’s men win it or did the U.S. blow it?

The Americans were without question the better, hungrier team over the first two days and there will be many who will feel Davis Love III’s players deserved to win back the prestigious trophy.

Events during Sunday’s dramatic final round certainly conspired against them. They simply didn’t get the rub of the green when it mattered most.

Europe did what they had to. Luke Donald and Ian Poulter came out all guns blazing and both secured vital points for the holders. Rory McIlroy – despite almost missing his tee-time due to his own tardiness – recorded a crucial victory over Keegan Bradley, who had been one of the USA’s stand-out performers, which really set the pace. The momentum was with Europe and they took full advantage.

Inspired by the memory of the late, great Seve Ballesteros, Team Europe played their hearts out. But in the end I feel they were handed victory because their opponents never truly believed they could go on and seal the deal.

By getting so much blue on the scoreboard so early in Sunday’s play – the seeds of doubt were sewn in the American team. You could see the tension etched all over Love’s face.

I was out on the course in the thick of it during an historic Sunday at Medinah. Europe had its fair share of travelling support, although it didn’t compare to the raucous masses cheering on Team USA!

But was their frenetic screaming a help or hindrance? The huge crowds should have been the home team’s 13th man just as they had been four years previously in Kentucky.

Something was missing though. The U.S. team wasn’t responding in the manner they had during Sunday’s play at Valhalla in 2008. The crowds were instrumental in helping their country go on to secure a five-point victory on that occasion. Not this time around.

For me – the turning point was what happened at 17 in the Justin Rose vs. Phil Mickelson match.

Had Mickenson's fantastic chip shot dropped – the Ryder Cup was headed back to the States. No question. It stayed out and Rose’s remarkable putt not only kept Europe alive, it spurred him on to victory on the final hole.

I’m sure Rose himself would admit he wouldn’t sink another putt like that, with so much riding on it, in a month of Sundays!

The Europeans were galvanized by Justin’s win. The Americans were left deflated. I witnessed the mutterings of discontent among the host nation’s fans.

They wanted this win badly for their country but I could feel they sensed the inevitable. When Jim Furyk threw away his advantage against Sergio Garcia – who looked as shocked as anyone he’d won – the Americans’ fate was effectively sealed.

Sadly for the U.S. team, Tiger Woods endured another miserable Ryder Cup. He cut a forlorn figure as Europe celebrated their victory ahead of him.

He had been given the anchor role for his country, but in the end his efforts against Francesco Molinari were rendered inconsequential by what had gone on before him. This was a tournament to forget for Woods – a player who has only once been on a winning Ryder Cup team.

In conclusion – it was a thrilling contest from start to finish and the Europeans must take huge credit for their comeback, but did the best team win over three days?

Perhaps Europe’s victory was written in the stars.

Seve himself would have it no other way!

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Filed under:  Golf
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. US Citizen...not otherwise

    When a country (the US) makes life extremely easy and totally coddles a population segment like we do with the rich class, that population segment goes soft and can't hack it when the going gets tough. There is no better example of this than what is happening to the US in every single sport that belongs to the rich (the Aristocracy).

    Golf...rich man's sport
    Tennis...rich man's sport
    Sailing....rich man's sport
    Squash...rich man's sport

    You name it, the US rich are softies. That's what happens when the entitled inherit and have everything handed to them. Heck, they don't even fight in our wars anymore.

    US rich...world champs of being softies!

    October 2, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  2. joe fabitz

    "As a Brit who followed this year’s Ryder Cup every step of the way – I take immense pride in the European team’s come-from-behind victory."

    Really?...well then, congratulations are in order - job well done! ;-)

    October 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  3. Gary

    Nice piece of crawling to your American market Patrick.

    October 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Reply
  4. Vic

    At the end of the day the final scoreboard says it all, Europe won.
    Saying that if this chip or that putt had gone in is irrelavent.

    Europe had putts that lipped out and 3 putted a few times themselves.
    The USA should be proud of their contribution to a fantastic three days.

    Jack Nicklaus summed it up when he said that it gives the winners bragging rites for two years. I think that we should just give credit to players,who under immense pressure, gave us great entertainment.

    October 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  5. so

    The good thing about all of this is, it doesn't matter. People getting so excited about a little ball going into a hole. Weeeeeee.

    We wonder why our world is so screwed up.

    October 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Reply
  6. Ray

    Patrick,are you for real ? The europeans deserve praise, not some of your excuses for the losers.This US team were supposedly the strongest for years,with home advantage ! But where was the team spirit, wonder if there were too many in the team that could,nt get along.

    October 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  7. Tony

    The game was the winner here. The few spectators that were rowdy and booed when the Europeans had a bad shot, must be brought to order or taken out of the park. The game does not need this. Is difficult enough without having them gloating loud when a put was missed.

    October 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  8. Dipak Patel

    "They simply didn’t get the rub of the green when it mattered most".
    Oh yes they did, on the first two days. What were you watching Patrick? How many putts of Europe lipped out, how many times did the US hit wayward drives and were saved by not having any rough and clear lines to teh green. If the course was a fair one (even the great Jack Nicklaus was disappointed with the course changes made by Davis Love) then Europe would have sewn it up a lot earlier. The right result as far as fairness is concerned. The better team won – agaijnst the odds as well. Golf is not just about a putting contest. Youhave to drive it straight too not lust lump it down the fairway and hope for the best.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Reply
  9. jumpingpolarbear

    It ain't over until it's over and the Europeans showed their big heart by never giving up. Well deserved, and what a show for the viewers :).

    October 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  10. Vee Sphere

    The title of this story is dumb. The Europeans were down, and like all great teams find a way to come back and win, keeping the title. It had nothing to do with the usa team not winning, they were never going to win the title. The best golfers are European, and the result was fully expected. The usa doesn't have any team or athlete that can win on the world stage, so this is really not a surprise at all.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Reply
  11. Vee Sphere

    Also, both teams go to the golf course, play, use the same scoring method and at the end tally up the score. The team with the highest score wins and is deemed the best.

    Final score Europe 14 1/2 and 13 1/2 for the usa team.

    Done.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Reply
  12. Baldur

    There is only one way to find out which of two teams is the better one – let them fight it out. And Europe won. Golfing ability is not only a question of skills, it´s a question of character and spirit as well. And when every detail was counted Europe was on the top.

    October 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Reply
  13. pierre

    ok, so with the world at war. The economies of Europe plunging and America in serious need of a new President. People in 1/2 the world living on less than a dollar a day. Now let's get our priorities right CNN. What happens to some people on both sides of the Atlantic who practice their profession by smacking a Octo-tetra-hedron shaped ball into a small hole makes news? Get a life CNN. Who gives a S*** about Golf but some anal retentive moron who can't think of any real exercise on weekends. Particularly nauseating is the British and their love for sports that they think they invented. The French were practicing a sports similar to golf 1000 years before the English think they invented it. Focus on news "shaping" the world and leave sports to ESPN.

    October 2, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  14. andy G

    Europe won it. USA fell short. it's that simple!!!

    October 2, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Reply
  15. nicky c

    Pierre,

    The English have never claimed to be the inventors of the game of golf. That honour belongs to the Scots. If you're right about the French having played the game three times as long as anyone else it does beg the question why they are so bad at it. Didn't notice too many Frenchmen on the European team.

    As for the golf the telling statistic was the record of the individual players going into the match. Eleven europeans and eight americans had played in previous Ryder Cups. Nine out of eleven europeans had a winning career record, none of the eight americans could match this.

    October 2, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Reply
  16. JCS

    The comment about the Amercans being rich softies is ludicrous at best. Maybe the poster should check the background on Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley and some others. These guys came from run of the mill, middle class or lower middle class backgrounds and made it through hard work, mental toughness and grit. I watched the entire day Sunday and am amazed at the golf played on both sides. And for the person who says golf isn't real exercise should carry a bag and walk 18 holes, stopping along the way to make a precise swing. Congrats to both sides on a great event.

    October 2, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  17. Claudio Ferri

    I was appalled by the extremely poor sportsmanship displayed by the US spectators. Booing good shots and applauding bad shots by the European team was nothing less than boorish and despicable

    October 3, 2012 at 12:51 am | Reply
  18. VJ J

    This is what happens when you have a lot of rookies on the American side. They may have caved under pressure this time, but it served as a learning experience. I expect them to only get better and be very dangerous in Ryder Cups to come!

    October 3, 2012 at 5:04 am | Reply
  19. Super Z

    Passion and emotional endurance was the factor here. How Loves missed the chance to leverage in MJ (Michael Jordan) to propel a winning spirit, it was the big pitfall. In the other side Olazabal, smartely leverage on Seve image to spur a winning team.
    It is a winner mentally prepare was the missing element in this Rider Cup for USA.

    MJ a super sportman was not called to insert the right message into USA Team one night before the final day.

    Now Europe is a big winner and well deserved

    October 3, 2012 at 11:09 am | Reply
  20. rob

    Like to have seen you write that article in the UK Patrick. Nice to see you pampering to your American boss...

    The US unlucky and blew it? Not a chance. Europe simply stepped it up for the final day. Europe were both poor and unlucky for the first two days. The amount of lipped putts Europe had in comparison to every put the US hit going in.

    Europe won this with heart, spirit and skill...

    October 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  21. Archie

    I have a lot of American friends and every one of them agrees that the better team won and that it would have been a whitewash in favour of the Europeans had the event been held in Europe. So why the writer is trying to find excuses for the Americans beats me. The Europeans won the Ryder Cup fair and square despite the crowds because they were the better team.

    October 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  22. Andy Dickson

    As a scotsman and golf nut I sat last week watching from the first drive to the last put, and I can honestly say I have never witnessed such a sporting event fought so intensly by two warrior teams who wanted a trophy so badly , the real winners on this occasion were the viewing public and we have got to salute both teams for serving up this spectacle. gentlemen I doff my hat. oh and by the way I do believe the game was first played in Holland and called ( KOLF )

    October 3, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Reply
  23. rossdstarkey

    If the US did 'throw away the Ryder Cup' then why? The phrase throwing away would denote something intentional. By looks on the faces of the Americans at the presentation and closing ceremony they were far from happy about the outcome. The Americans got beaten by Europe, when it really mattered, the US team fell short...this time!

    October 3, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Reply
  24. jorgen friis

    Patrick, as usual your blowing smoke with all your analysis, The bottom line in this case was the British were better when it counted. Thats all there is to it.

    October 4, 2012 at 11:13 am | Reply
  25. John B

    I believe that the younger players for the US team should have been the anchor players in the final match plays.
    The older guys, Furyk, Mickelson, Stricker, and even Woods, should have played in the early matches.

    Watson, Keegan, Dufner, Zach should have been in the latter matches.

    That was the difference IMHO.

    October 5, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Reply
  26. Torete

    There is always an excuse for the Americans, no matter what happens it is never their fault, (Sports or real life events) they never lose, even in losing they have to win, like this article, they did not lose to the European team, they did not play up to standards………………….

    October 10, 2012 at 8:18 am | Reply
  27. wghaole

    this article fails in that the author searches for another excuse to praise the American team. We should ask why is this necessary. To ask the question "...but did the best team win over three days?" at the end of the article takes away from the spirit of the competition and the winning European team. Here in Europe, we know who won and we know who the better team was – the score tells the story.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:45 am | Reply
  28. graham

    I’m sure Rose himself would admit he wouldn’t sink another putt like that, with so much riding on it, in a month of Sundays!

    You have not spent much time with Pro Golfers have you Patrick. Their self confidence and self belief is of the charts.

    Any flat chip, that does not need to fly a bunker or water, under 30 yards they expect to hole, let alone putts.

    G

    November 17, 2012 at 5:16 am | Reply
  29. frespech

    The author of the article is spot on as his conclusion about the decisive moment of Roses putting beating Phil is exactly as I saw it. There were 2 miraculous putts by Rose and you could feel it from that moment on.
    It's a game and on that day the Euros were better. Congrats to them, maybe we can get them back in 2 years.

    November 21, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Reply
  30. golfer

    Let's not forget when Justin Leonard made that monster putt on 17 and everybody celebrated when it was not over. Who was he playing?
    It was Jose Maria Olazabal who waited patiently like a classy gentlemen for our US team to calm down and get off the green.
    Somehow I always felt that he would have his day back.

    December 18, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Reply

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