( 4UMF NEWS ) U.S. Epic Loss In Ryder Cup:
With the image of Seve Ballesteros on their sleeves and his spirit in their hearts, Europe’s Ryder Cup team channeled its greatest hero to bring the trophy he cherished most back to the continent on Sunday.
For the Americans, it must have been as if the late Spanish legend was taunting them one more time, having one more hearty laugh at their expense. The United States once led these matches 10-4 and would end up losing them, 14½-13½. The epic collapse in singles, 8½-3½, allowed Europe to match exactly the famed American comeback at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., in ’99, but on foreign soil. The Euros played out of their minds while their opponents lost their nerve.
“We’re all kind of stunned,” U.S. captain Davis Love III said after Europe’s fifth win in the last six meetings. “We know what it feels like now from the ’99 Ryder Cup. It’s a little but shocking. We were playing so well. Everybody on our team was playing so well. We just figured it didn’t matter how we sent them out there.”
It really didn’t matter because only Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner won their matches — with Tiger Woods, a deceptive 0-3-1 on the week, adding a half-point in a match that ended after the Cup was clinched, Woods conceding a final three-footer to Francesco Molinari.
While Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker were all steamrolled in their matches, two of Love’s captain’s picks, veterans Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker, came up the smallest. Furyk bogeyed the final two holes to blow a 1-up lead against Sergio Garcia. Stricker lost 17 with a missed six-footer and watched Martin Kaymer earn the winning point with a final six-footer on 18.
Captain Jose Maria Olazabal closed his eyes and shed tears thinking of his countryman and Ryder Cup partner after Kaymer’s putt dropped. It was the first Ryder Cup since brain cancer took Ballesteros, the man largely responsible for making the event what it is today.
“Seve will always be present. Seve will always be present with this team,” Olazabal said. “He was a big factor for this event, for the European side, and last night when we were having that meeting, I think the boys understood that believing was the most important thing, and I think they did.”
The only thing the United States players could understand is that they gave this one away, even though they didn’t admit it. They had glazed looks on their faces at the closing ceremonies as they listened to European fans singing “Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole” until Olazabal had to ask them to stop.