Birkdale, 1969: A mean-spirited match that featured Eric Brown, the Great Britain & Ireland captain, instructing his team not to help look for their opponents’ balls in the rough, finished with one of the great sporting gestures. On the final green in the final singles match, Jack Nicklaus gave Tony Jacklin a six-footer, knowing it meant the Ryder Cup would be drawn. His team were furious, while the world continues to applaud.
The Belfry, 1985: The US had not been beaten in 28 years but all the hope produced by Europe’s close brush in Florida two years before came to fruition. It was appropriate that it was not Ballesteros, Faldo or Langer who holed the winning putt but Sam Torrance, a Scot whose passion summed up the new European cause. When he holed the 22-footer on the 18th to beat Andy North, he held his arms aloft, tears flooding, in an immortal pose.
Kiawah Island, 1991: The most tense finish in the match’s history. After three days of ‘Desert Storm’-fuelled acrimony it was all down to the final singles between Bernhard Langer and Hale Irwin. Langer needed to win the 18th to secure a half, which would have meant Europe retain the Ryder Cup because of a draw. But after Irwin received a huge break off the tee, his snap hook, bouncing off a spectator, Langer needed a six-footer. It slipped by.
K Club, 2006: The Ryder Cup roar on the first tee on the first morning has become one of the match’s great traditions. Never was it louder or, indeed, more emotional when greeting Darren Clarke, six weeks after he had lost his wife, Heather, to cancer. Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco, the opponents of Lee Westwood and the Ulsterman, joined the applause and Clarke somehow proceeded to produce a birdie on his way to a remarkable triumph.
Chicago, 2012: One of the great sporting comebacks was sealed by a nerveless six-footer by the German Martin Kaymer to beat Steve Stricker and then by Tiger Woods bizarrely giving Francesco Molinari a three-footer. But the hero of the fightback from 10-4 down was Ian Poulter, who reeled off five closing birdies in the Saturday afternoon fourballs for him and Rory McIlroy to beat Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner. The bulging eyeballs said it all.
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