Call it what you will, but it's another Ryder Cup victory for the Europeans. On Sunday at the Medinah Country Club near Chicago, the visitors retained the cup, 14 1/2 points to 13 1/2, returning the favor from 13 years ago, when the US stormed back to win the Cup in Sunday singles.
By Saturday night, US squad had done well to build a 10-6 lead, winning most of the two-man team competitions. But as Yogi Berra once said, "It ain't over 'til it's over."
Many observers pointed to Ian Poulter's out-of-this-world putting exhibition Saturday afternoon in four-ball, when he made five straight birdie putts to help himself and Rory McIlroy defeat the US team of Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson, as the starting point of the European comeback.
The Europeans won the first five singles matches out of the gate Sunday afternoon. NBC's Dottie Pepper, who was reporting from on the golf course, said that early success just took the pro-US crowd right out of their element. As the US lead shrunk, the European fans got louder.
The Johnson boys, Dustin and Zach, stemmed the Euros momentum by winning their singles matches. But the victory march continued when Jim Furyk missed consecutive putts on 17 and 18 in his match with Sergio Garcia, allowing the Spaniard to claim another singles win.
After Lee Westwood defeated Matt Kuchar 3 and 2, it was left up to Martin Kaymer to sink a six-foot par putt on the 18th hole to defeat Steve Stricker of the US and provide the cup-clinching point for the European squad.
Stricker later talked about the Ryder Cup experience on ChicagoTribune.com
"That's probably the most pressure that I've been under," said Stricker, who played the final eight holes Sunday in 3 over par. "It was tough, very tough. I don't think I'll ever experience that kind of pressure again. It was fun, but I don't want to do it again."
Following a raucous, green-side celebration, European captain Jose Maria Olazabal remembered his late friend and teammate, Seve Ballesteros, to RyderCup.com and how much the Ryder Cup competition meant to him.
“When I saw we had a chance coming down the stretch I was very emotional. The boys have done an unbelievable job. I have a few thoughts for my friend Seve and this one is for him," Olazabal said. “That’s why I’ve always said that this event is so special. Last night (Saturday) I told them I really believed we could do it and they just believed in themselves. That’s why we’re here as winners.”