Ryder Cup Heroes & Villains
The spirit of Seve conjured up the 39th Ryder Cup. A fighter to the end, he once said: “Thinking doesn’t cost much so if you have a chance to think, think positive.” And that’s just what Captain Ole’s troops did producing pure theatre, glorious unpredictability and the greatest comeback in sporting history.
For the Americans, Sunday’s defeat was unpalatable. The crowds were raucous, hostile and heavy on the European bashing. But by dusk the full-throated boos and inescapable morons yelling ‘get in da treeeees’ had given way to chants of “Ole, Ole, Ole” echoing across the course.
When all is said and done, this Ryder Cup was a magnificent feast of brilliance by both teams and one we may never see the likes of again. Putting God Justin Rose perhaps summed it up best: “As long as the Ryder Cup stays wholesome inside the ropes, golf is in a great place.”
MAN OF THE MATCH:
Take a bow, Ian Poulter, Europe’s golden boy. The self-made talent from working class England fuels his game with eye-bulging, fist-pumping, energy and passion. Lee Westwood joked of the Ryder Cup trump card: “We have actually revised the qualification for next time. It’s nine qualifying spots, two picks and Poults. It’s the Poults clause.”
HERO OF THE HOUR:
Justin Rose’s heroics over the last few holes were up there in the Ryder Cup annals of ordinary men rising under pressure to the superhuman. His snaking 25ft birdie putt at the par-three 17th pulled him level with Mickelson and set him on route for a storming finish.
GENT OF THE WEEK:
American veteran Phil Mickelson showed his sportsmanship by giving his European rival a thumbs-up after his mammoth birdie putt. The three-time Masters champion also proved his class by rooting out a Hannibal Lector impersonator among the boisterous Chicago crowd.
THE PEOPLE’S CHAMPION:
The self-effacing young man from Dusseldorf proved there’s more to Martin Kaymer than just German efficiency. Martin sparked off victory celebrations on the 18th as he struck the decisive blow for Europe draining a seven-footer to retain team golf’s greatest prize. Prost!
PUTT OF THE DAY:
America’s fun-loving Tiger Woods not only failed to win a point but he also flunked his attempt to salvage a tie on the 18th hole costing bookies a combined multi-million payout in what was their most expensive ever Ryder Cup. Ouch!
THE 13th MAN:
An honourable nod to US state trooper Pat Rollins who helped Europe lift the Ryder Cup by racing ‘snory’ Rory McIlroy twelve-miles across Chicago to Medinah Country Club with only minutes to spare. “I am just glad I could play my small part.” I doff my cap to you sir.
VILLAIN OF THE WEEK:
The commentating bore who relentlessly reminded everyone of his captaincy victory two years ago with all the zeal and charm of a cricket bat – step forward the insufferable Colin Montgomerie. In one memorable minute of self-worship, he droned: “I’m delighted for my good friend Jose Maria Olazabal. We’re both here in Chicago as winning Ryder Cup captains – it’s amazing to see him follow me in success.”