Tag Archives: graeme

Graeme Smith signs for Surrey

Surrey pull off major coup by signing South Africa skipper Smith to team up with old foe KP

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UPDATED:

11:14 GMT, 1 November 2012

Reunited: Smith (left) and Pietersen will line up together at Surrey

Reunited: Smith (left) and Pietersen (right) will line up together at Surrey

South Africa captain Graeme Smith is to take over as Surrey skipper next season after it was announced the batsman had signed a three-year deal at The Oval.

Smith – widely regarded as one of the best opening batsmen in world cricket for the last decade – will continue in his role with the Proteas alongside his county commitments.

The 31-year-old will captain England batsman and old foe Kevin Pietersen once he joins up with Chris Adams' side after the home Test series against Pakistan in March.

'I am excited to be joining such a professional and talented team, during what will hopefully prove to be a rewarding and successful period for Surrey CCC,' Smith told Surrey's official website.

'When you consider the ambition shown it was an easy decision for myself and my family and I would like to thank Surrey County Cricket Club and Cricket South Africa for giving me the opportunity to lead the side and make it possible.

'I am excited about what we can achieve at Surrey going forward and would like to state very clearly that I will balance my new role alongside my continuing commitments to the Proteas and I look forward to continuing to represent my country for many years to come.'

Coup: Smith is rated among the best openers in world cricket

Coup: Smith is rated among the best openers in world cricket

All-conquering: South Africa are currently ranked as the world's No 1 Test side

All-conquering: South Africa are currently ranked as the world's No 1 Test side

Smith captained the Proteas to victory over England last summer in a series that was marred by the Pietersen text controversy.

ECB chief executive David Collier was forced into apologising to Smith and his side after accusing South Africa of adding flames to the fire started by Pietersen's 'provocative' comments aimed at ex-England captain Andrew Strauss.

The victory saw South Africa take over the world No 1 mantle and resulted in the resignation of Strauss, who followed predecessors Michael Vaughan and Nasser Hussain in stepping down after losing to Smith's sides.

In 104 Tests since making his debut in 2003 Smith has scored 8,314 runs at an average of 49.78 including 25 centuries, placing him fourteenth on the all-time list of Test century makers.

Smith is likely to miss a chunk of next season when South Africa embark on a three-match tour of Sri Lanka in July and August.

Team Director Adams added: Signing Graeme Smith on a three year deal is a massive coup for Surrey CCC. As well as being one of the best captains in the modern game, he is a phenomenal opening batsman and will lead by example from the top of the innings.'

Smith follows Rory Hamilton-Brown as Surrey captain. The 24-year-old departed for Sussex at the end of a turbulent season during which the club were rocked by the tragic death of young batsman Tom Maynard.

Micky Mellon on Burnley shortlist

EXCLUSIVE: Mellon joins Pressley and Dyche on shortlist for Burnley job

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UPDATED:

08:51 GMT, 26 October 2012

Micky Mellon is the third name on Burnley’s shortlist of candidates to succeed Eddie Howe at Turf Moor, Sportsmail understands.

Burnley are in no hurry to make an appointment and are happy for Terry Pashley to continue in caretaker charge, as he seeks a third consecutive win at Cardiff this weekend.

But they are closing in on a new manager and whittling down the list of names under closest review to replace Howe, who returned to his former club Bournemouth a few days ago.

In the frame: Fleetwood boss Micky Mellon

In the frame: Fleetwood boss Micky Mellon

Gone: Eddie Howe has taken over at Bournemouth

Gone: Eddie Howe has taken over at Bournemouth

Sportsmail revealed earlier this week that ex-Watford boss Sean Dyche and current Falkirk manager Steven Pressley are the top two under consideration. Dyche was a popular figure at Vicarage Road, and led Watford to their highest Championship finish in four years before being sacked to make way for Gianfranco Zola, while Pressley is seen as an up-and-coming young Scottish manager in the same mould as former Turf Moor boss Owen Coyle.

Mellon is next in line, after becoming Fleetwood Town’s first-ever full-time manager, in the Conference North, four years ago, and not only leading them into the Football League but quickly establishing them as one of the frontrunners for promotion from League Two.

As a further point in his favour, he is a former Burnley player and had a brief spell as youth team coach at Turf Moor before leaving to take over at Fleetwood.

St Johnstone’s former Northern Ireland midfielder Steve Lomas is another candidate, though Burnley have had to forget any approach for Wigan coach Graeme Jones after being told it would be rebuffed.

‘Graeme is vitally important to what we are doing here, and this is the wrong time to be speaking to individuals about changing roles,’ said Wigan manager Roberto Martinez.

‘The summer is the time when that should be done. It is a compliment when there is interest in one of your players or members of staff, but I want to make sure nothing distracts from the job in hand. We are in the middle of an important season, and I would never allow my staff to be divided until we have finished what we set out to achieve.’

Harrington wins first title for two years with victory in Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda

Harrington wins first title for two years with victory in Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda

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UPDATED:

19:42 GMT, 24 October 2012

Padraig Harrington stormed to a 375,000 victory in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda, his first win for two years.

Not in the four-man event – meant to be a battle between the season's major winners – until Ernie Els pulled out injured last Saturday, and only there because Rory McIlroy and first two reserves Graeme McDowell and Tiger Woods all turned it down, the 41-year-old Irishman had rounds of 66 and 67 to beat US Open champion Webb Simpson by one and both Masters champion Bubba Watson and last year's winner Keegan Bradley by six.

Winning formula: Padraig Harrington chips onto the sixth green on his way to victory

Winning formula: Padraig Harrington chips onto the sixth green on his way to victory

In the swing: Harrington

In the swing: Harrington

He joins 1991 champion Ian Woosnam as the only European winners of the title, and it was a case of third time lucky after losing play-offs to Angel Cabrera and Jim Furyk in 2007 and 2008.

Two ahead overnight, Harrington went to the turn in 34 with birdies at the fifth and eighth, but with eight holes to play was only one in front of both Simpson and Watson.

Then came a hat-trick of birdies from the 11th, and although Simpson narrowed the gap by picking up shots at the 14th and 17th, the Dubliner was able to bogey the last and still triumph on nine under par.

Harrington's last victory came in Malaysia 24 months ago, but he has not tasted success on the European or PGA Tours since 2008 and is down at 57th in the world.

After three-putting the 18th Harrington, who switched from the BMW Masters in Shanghai when the invitation came, said: 'It was always the right decision no matter what.

'You've got to give yourself the chance – it's a fantastic tournament and even if I finished fourth I'd be quite confident that I made the right decision.

'It is a bonus to come and win, no doubt about it, and it was unfinished business for me having lost in two play-offs.

'I believe I'm playing really good golf. I see a lot of good things happening and I do believe that I'm turning the corner into a peak. What those peaks are, we'll wait and see.'

Simpson said after his bogey-free 65: 'He's playing well and made the putts you've got to make, but I'm really encouraged with how I played.

'My weakness this year has been when I'm in between clubs and I try to smooth one. My body kind of shuts down and doesn't work as well – it's just an eye-opener that I've got a lot of work to do in the off-season.

'I wish I could have putt a little more pressure on Padraig (at the last), but he'd probably have two-putted if he had to.'

Padraig Harrington leads Grand Slam from Bubba Watson

Harrington takes control of Grand Slam after surging into two-shot lead over Watson

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UPDATED:

22:29 GMT, 23 October 2012

Padraig Harrington is halfway towards the 375,000 PGA Grand Slam title in Bermuda – just three days after being offered the chance to play.

The 41-year-old Dubliner, who lost play-offs at Mid-Ocean in 2007 and 2008, started with a five-under-par 66 at Port Royal to lead Masters champion Bubba Watson by two, US Open winner Webb Simpson by three and holder Keegan Bradley, Rory McIlroy's replacement, by six.

Leading the way: Padraig Harrington is halfway towards winning the PGA Grand Slam in Bermuda

Leading the way: Padraig Harrington is halfway towards winning the PGA Grand Slam in Bermuda

The event is meant to be between the year's four major winners, but with McIlroy opting to play in Shanghai, Ernie Els pulling out with an ankle injury and reserves Graeme McDowell and Tiger Woods turning it down – they are in Asia as well – Harrington received a call.

In contention: Bubba Watson is two shots adrift of Harrington

In contention: Bubba Watson is two shots adrift of Harrington

Eighth behind Watson at Augusta and fourth to Simpson in San Francisco, he grabbed seven birdies and would have been even more in control but for bogeys at the third and 16th, both par threes.

Simpson came back into the picture with three back-nine birdies but then bogeyed the 431-yard last while left-hander Watson, his Ryder Cup partner, mixed an eagle and five birdies with four bogeys. Bradley, who last year beat McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Charl Schwartzel, was always fighting an uphill battle from the time he double-bogeyed the fourth and bogeyed the next two to stand four over.

Even the player who finishes last still earns 125,000.

Jock Stein remembered by those who were at Ninian Park when Wales met Scotland

We still weren't sure what had happened. It fell silent as Fergie came in. He said 'Jock's dead'

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UPDATED:

19:42 GMT, 10 October 2012

Pressure cooker: Jock Stein (centre) and Alex Ferguson (right) on the bench in Cardiff

Pressure cooker: Jock Stein (centre) and Alex Ferguson (right) on the bench in Cardiff

The 39,500 who poured into Ninian Park were expecting a game of football they would never forget. As it turned out, September 10, 1985, would be remembered as one of the saddest days in Scotland’s football history.

Wales were playing Scotland for the right to face Australia in a World Cup qualifying play-off. Mike England’s Wales needed to win, a draw was enough for the visitors to Cardiff.

Mark Hughes’s early strike had looked to be enough for Wales until Davie Cooper’s 81st-minute penalty sparked a Scottish party. It didn’t last long as Scotland manager Jock Stein, a man who wrote his name into British football history when he led Celtic to European Cup glory in 1967, collapsed at the final whistle and died of a heart attack.

As the sides meet in a competitive fixture for the first time since that tragic night, the memories are still fresh for those who witnessed Stein’s death.

Kevin Ratcliffe
Wales captain

It had been a strange evening. Scotland keeper Jim Leighton lost his contact lenses and didn’t have a spare set, so Jock sent on Alan Rough in his place at half-time.

It wasn’t until about 30 minutes after the game that we realised something was seriously wrong with Jock. I had friends playing for Scotland: Graeme Sharp, Andy Gray, David Speedie, Graeme Souness and Davie Cooper.

Looking at the faces of those Scotland lads, it was almost as if they had lost a member of the family. They were silent. We kept ourselves to ourselves. What could we say A lot of the Scotland boys were visibly shaken by it all.

In shock: Scotland substitute and goalscorer Davie Cooper is comforted by Mo Johnston after receiving the news of Stein's death

In shock: Scotland substitute and goalscorer Davie Cooper is comforted by Mo Johnston after receiving the news of Stein's death

Graeme Sharp
Scotland striker

It is difficult to describe what Jock was to Scottish football. I will always be grateful to him. He gave me my first cap, an away trip in Iceland, and therein lies a tale that sums him up.

We met in a hotel for a meal ahead of the game. Andy Gray was the big star and he was asked by a waitress what he fancied to eat. ‘Prawn cocktail,’ came the reply. A voice boomed down the table: ‘Will you listen to him You wouldn’t have a clue where prawns come from, Gray. You’ll have soup like the rest of us.’ Andy had the soup.

That night in 1985, I knew from the moment our masseur Jimmy Steel came into the dressing room that Jock had gone. That pair went way back to their Celtic days. I saw Jimmy’s eyes brimful of tears and understood what had happened.

Jock was a big, powerful man. People said afterwards that he looked unwell. Perhaps. He was under enormous pressure to qualify, as we all were. The aftermath was eerie. I had planned an evening out with Andy (Gray) in Birmingham but we didn’t bother.

Far from celebrate the achievement, all we wanted to do was grieve. Scottish football had lost a great man in tragic circumstances. I’m not sure we’ll see his like again.

Mentor: Stein and Ferguson, pictured in Seville in 1985

Mentor: Stein and Ferguson, pictured in Seville in 1985

Alex McLeish
Scotland defender

We could see there had been an incident in the dug-out. We thought a fan had got in there and there was some bother.

Then we were told Jock had had a heart attack but we didn’t know for sure until Fergie came into the dressing room. It fell silent. He said: ‘Jock’s dead.’ There was silence. Normally after a result like that you would be full of the joys but if anything needed to be said, we spoke in whispers.

We flew to Glasgow and I hadn’t shed a tear. Then, on the drive back to Aberdeen, I pulled over into a lay-by and broke down.

Pain: Wales goalscorer Mark Hughes (left) tussles with Scotland's Richard Gough

Pain: Wales goalscorer Mark Hughes (left) tussles with Scotland's Richard Gough

Sir Alex Ferguson
Scotland assistant manager

When Davie’s penalty went in, Jock didn’t say a word. Shortly afterwards the big man rose to move towards Mike England. But as he did so, he stumbled. I grabbed for him as he started to fall. The medics came out of the tunnel. I held him until he was helped inside.

When I left to speak to the press I saw Graeme Souness and he was crying. ‘I think he’s gone,’ Graeme said. I couldn’t believe it.

When we filed on to the bus there were thousands standing outside and the quiet sadness of the atmosphere was unforgettable. The abiding memory is of a solemn silence. It was as if the king had died.

In football terms, the king had died.

Graeme Smith vents fury at ECB over Kevin Pietersen text slur

South Africa captain Smith vents fury at ECB over 'provoked' Pietersen text slur

By
Richard Gibson

PUBLISHED:

21:00 GMT, 9 October 2012

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 9 October 2012

South Africa players have demanded an apology from ECB chief executive David Collier following his claims that they provoked Kevin Pietersen during textgate.

Collier spoke out on Sunday – two months after Sportsmail exclusively revealed Pietersen had sent messages about his team-mates to the South Africans during the Test series – and suggested South Africa’s strategy was to unsettle Pietersen.

However, their captain Graeme Smith retorted: ‘We pride ourselves on being a sporting and ethical team. We talk a lot about values and our approach to the game. We play hard but we play fair and any suggestion that we did this as a tactic is totally unwarranted and unnecessary.’

Exile over: Kevin Pietersen is set to be 're-integrated' into the England squad

Exile over: Kevin Pietersen is set to be 're-integrated' into the England squad

Tony Irish, chief executive of the South African Cricketers’ Association, added: ‘By his own admission Mr Collier never saw any text messages and we know Kevin himself has never suggested he was provoked, so where is the evidence for this claim

‘In international cricket if a player makes an inflammatory comment or accusation he gets punished. Look what happened to Kevin Pietersen himself. The players think that the same should apply to administrators, especially when this is done publicly. Our players are awaiting an apology.’

Ryder Cup 2012: How Europe won it – Derek Lawrenson

The Masters of Medinah: How Europe came from behind to retain the Ryder Cup

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 1 October 2012

How do you win the Ryder Cup when you’re four points down and the Americans are so exultant the bookmakers have made them 33-1 on to win the trophy How do you beat the best player in the American team without so much as a single warm-up shot

How do you keep the will to win when the crowd has turned febrile and they’re making Hannibal Lecter noises at you as you’re trying to play a bunker shot Or hissing ‘Miss it! Miss it!’ when you’re standing over a putt to complete the Medinah miracle

Three of the classiest men in golf stood centre stage on Sunday and what stories Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer had to tell. It is part of Ryder Cup legend now that McIlroy beat Keegan Bradley after arriving at the course with minutes to spare.

High point (from left): Sergio Garcia, Paul Lawrie, Ian Poulter, Nicolas Colsaerts, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Francesco Molinari, Peter Hanson, Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer lift captain Jose Maria Olazabal aloft

High point (from left): Sergio Garcia, Paul Lawrie, Ian Poulter, Nicolas Colsaerts, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Francesco Molinari, Peter Hanson, Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer lift captain Jose Maria Olazabal aloft

If you had to pick one moment from the whole exhausting occasion and pronounce it the one when the tide shifted inexorably from red to blue, it would have to be Rose’s astonishing success over Phil Mickelson.

And then there was Kaymer, standing over a five-foot putt to retain the trophy, just as his idol Bernhard Langer did at Kiawah Island in 1991.

As Kaymer said, emphasising one particular word: ‘If I’m lucky enough to have grandchildren one day, this is the story that I will HAVE to tell.’

Nobody who saw Kaymer on Saturday morning could have believed he would be playing the role of hero the following afternoon. His captain, Jose Maria Olazabal, had told him he would be sitting out both matches after an awful showing the previous day and he was distraught.

Nerves of steel: Kaymer holes the winning putt on the 18th green

Nerves of steel: Kaymer holes the winning putt on the 18th green

Nerves of steel: Kaymer holes the winning putt on the 18th green

single scores GRAPHIC.jpg

A major champion as recently as 2010, how could this happen If truth be told, the 27-year-old was feeling sorry for himself.

‘I fully respected the captain’s decision, but when you play badly on the Friday you want to show people what you can do the following day,’ he said. ‘I didn’t have that chance.’

He sought out Langer for advice. Trust him to put Kaymer right and spell out what team golf is all about.

‘My attitude wasn’t right, but it was after my chat with Bernhard,’ said Kaymer, smiling.

Rose had holed nothing in a Saturday fourballs pummelling and was feeling helpless with the team trailing by six points as he went off the course. He had been one of the few success stories in the defeat at Valhalla in 2008 and this Ryder Cup was unfolding in a similarly disappointing fashion.

Like his team-mates, though, Rose took inspiration from the heroics of his great mate Ian Poulter, who put in the best five holes of his career to win the anchor fourballs match with McIlroy. The deficit had been reduced to four overnight and there was at least a glimmer of hope.

Four matches in two days at a Ryder Cup is an awesome workload. Historically, only 25 per cent of those players who have done that go on to win their singles. But Rose still took his clubs back to his hotel and practised on the carpet in his room.

‘I was just hitting some putts and
thinking about things and something clicked to do with my grip pressure
that really paid off for me,’ he said.

Sunday morning dawned the same as so
many others for McIlroy when he is on the road. He picked up the phone
and talked to his girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki, who was competing in a
tennis tournament in Beijing. He went for a walk around the hotel to
kill time before retreating to his room on the 14th floor. McIlroy was
excited about the day and eager to find out how Americans like his
opponent Bradley, who had looked unbeatable with his partner Mickelson,
would fare on his own.

Imperious: McIlroy saw off the challenge of Bradley

Imperious: McIlroy saw off the challenge of Bradley

Captain marvel: Olazabal holds aloft the Ryder Cup

Captain marvel: Olazabal holds aloft the Ryder Cup

Back in the lobby, a few groupie fans
were moaning they hadn’t seen him leave. Maggie Budzar, manning the
transportation desk for the PGA of America, made up a white lie that he
had left but noticed his name had not been crossed off the list. She
phoned the course to see if he was there but was told he was not. She
rang the European Tour to alert them.

After ignoring a couple of calls from
numbers he didn’t recognise, McIlroy eventually answered one from his
manager, Conor Ridge.

‘Are you at the course’ asked Conor.

‘No, I’m not,’ replied McIlroy.

‘You’re teeing off in 25 minutes.’

‘No, I’m not, it’s an hour and 25.’

‘You’re taking the mick, you’re at the golf course.’

‘No, I’m not.’

‘Rory, listen to me, you need to get there.’

So it was that McIlroy sprinted into the lobby and found the state trooper who might have been the American star of the final day. With the emergency light on and every speed limit broken, McIlroy sat in the patrol car on the edge of panic.

‘It would have been bad enough missing my tee-time playing for myself but letting down all my team-mates and the whole of Europe I’ve never been so worried in my life,’ he confessed.

Bradley, a nice guy under that scarily intense demeanour, was worried McIlroy had been involved in an accident or had received bad news from home. They shared a laugh when McIlroy explained the real story.

Late arrival: McIlroy is greeted by Bradley at the first tee

Late arrival: McIlroy is greeted by Bradley at the first tee

Then the chanting began. McIlroy liked the one on the first tee: ‘Rory where are you Your tee-time is right now.’

But he soon grew tired of people
shouting at him and pointing to their watches. ‘/10/01/article-2211371-15494B58000005DC-876_634x366.jpg” width=”634″ height=”366″ alt=”Domino effect: Donald won the first point of the day against Watson” class=”blkBorder” />

Domino effect: Donald won the first point of the day against Watson

The miracle according to Twitter…

JUSTIN ROSE
@JustinRose99

‘No messing tonight!’

One of Europe’s star performers gets ready to party after tweeting a picture of the personalised bottles of champagne presented to the team

IAN POULTER
@IanJamesPoulter

‘On the plane on the way back to Orlando, why does it feel like we just robbed a bank. Not sure how long it will to take to sink in.’

The man of the tournament feeling slightly quilty after Europe’s smash and grab

RORY McILROY
@McIlroyRory

‘Wow!!!!!!! Did that just happen!!!! Unbelievable performance from all the boys today! Seve…..This one is for you!’

The world No 1 dedicates Europe’s win to the late, great Seve Ballesteros

PHIL NEVILLE
@fizzer18

‘Morning all, struggled sleeping after watching the Ryder cup last night, got to be the best sporting event on tv it never lets u down!’

The Everton star on a dramatic night

BUBBA WATSON
@bubbawatson

‘Wow! What a finish. Congrats to Europe! Seve would be proud.’

Bubba shows true dignity in defeat, while still managing to display his patriotic devotion

MICHAEL OWEN
@themichaelowen

‘Greatest Sporting Year ever Tour De France, Olympics, Champions League, epic end to Premiership, Andy Murray, Ryder Cup, just to name a few.’

Owen reflects on a memorable year

Rose, however, felt great and was
playing as such. He took an early two-hole lead as Europe got the start
they wanted. But it all started to change around the turn. He started
losing holes and his rhythm.

The crowd could sense his discomfort.
At the 12th he was facing a difficult bunker shot and was just taking
the club back when the Hannibal Lecter noises – hard to describe if you
haven’t seen the film, but suffice to say, very unpleasant if you’re
trying to play a shot – disrupted his concentration. An appalled
Mickelson pointed out the perpetrator to a marshal.

‘Are we all settled now’ asked Rose of the crowd.

‘It was really a gut check at that point,’ he added. ‘After that it became a battle and a test of how badly I wanted to win.’

The Americans had been banging on about this being the start of a Bradley-McIlroy rivalry and the pair will unquestionably have more duels in the future. But a rivalry at the top of the world rankings There’s no chance. McIlroy is head and shoulders above anyone else in golf and probably half an upper torso ahead of the valiant Bradley.

So it was that class told and McIlroy followed Donald, the admirable Paul Lawrie and the incredible Poulter in putting points on the board.

The trouble was, Dustin Johnson was beating Nicolas Colsaerts and Mickelson was standing over an eight-foot putt for a birdie at the par-four 15th, with Rose plugged in the bunker in two. It looked for all the world that Rose would be two down with three to play, but a fabulous bunker shot rescued a par and Mickelson missed his short birdie.

‘I dodged a bullet right there, no question about it,’ said Rose.

Mickelson got over his disappointment by holing a great 12-foot putt for par at the 16th. Now Rose was staring over one from 10 feet for a half. He holed it and let out an exultant cry. ‘The first big putt I’d holed all week,’ he said.

Walking to the 17th tee, he was thinking to himself that in normal circumstances he would have taken a halved match in a heartbeat.

‘I knew there was nothing normal about
this,’ he said. ‘I knew I had to win my match. /10/01/article-2211371-1548F8A5000005DC-687_634x388.jpg” width=”634″ height=”388″ alt=”Thriller: Mickelson (right) and Rose played out a thrilling match” class=”blkBorder” />

Thriller: Mickelson (right) and Rose played out a thrilling match

Both players were just over the green at the 17th, with Mickelson to play first. The man with the imperious short game had the flag taken out and thought his chip was going in until it veered off at the death. Then it was Rose, standing over a putt from 35 feet.

‘How often do they go in Once every 25 tries But I knew I’d hit a good putt and it was a fantastic feeling when it went in,’ said Rose.

So to the 18th, where Mickelson was left with a short putt for par and Rose had a 15-foot birdie effort to complete an improbable victory.

‘My legs were shaking so hard I could hardly feel them, but that putt told me putting is about heart and that if you’re strong enough in the head, it will override how your body is feeling,’ said Rose.

Champagne moment: Justin Rose tweeted a picture of the individual bottles handed to each player

Champagne moment: Justin Rose tweeted a picture of the individual bottles handed to each player

Champagne moment: Justin Rose tweeted a picture of the individual bottles handed to each player

‘When it went in, I looked at the Seve logo on my sleeve and thought of him. I was overjoyed. I turned to my team-mates in ecstasy but then I saw Phil and I didn’t want to rub it in his face. So there was a moment of calm out of respect as I shook his hand, and then it was joy.’

Rose’s gloriously unlikely victory was the sort that had to happen for a European success. Another came when Sergio Garcia, who had been outplayed by Jim Furyk, was the beneficiary as the American lost his nerve. Lee Westwood showed his mental strength to put two awful days behind him and claim a point against Matt Kuchar.

The home side were under unbearable pressure now. For them, it all came down to the two men who they thought would prove their most dependable partnership. First up was Steve Stricker. If he didn’t win, it didn’t matter what Tiger Woods did in the bottom match.

Standing opposite him was Kaymer. In the end it came down to that five-foot putt and Kaymer could not help but think of the eerie symmetry as he surveyed it from all angles. He could not help but recall that the only other Ryder Cup player from Germany had found himself in exactly the same situation.

Magic moment: Kaymer is mobbed by his team-mates after sinking the winning putt

Magic moment: Kaymer is mobbed by his team-mates after sinking the winning putt

Magic moment: Kaymer is mobbed by his team-mates after sinking the winning putt

Magic moment: Kaymer is mobbed by his team-mates after sinking the winning putt

For just a moment, he thought: ‘Oh no, it can’t be another German missing this putt, can it’
There is a reason why some players win majors and others who are equally gifted fall short, and it comes down to moments like this. Kaymer’s putt never looked like finishing anywhere but the middle of the hole.

So that was the story of Medinah and the final day of the Ryder Cup on September 30, 2012. A day fit to compare with any in even the rich and dramatic history of this unrivalled contest.

When it was over, the recriminations for the Americans began. But this was more about the team who lived up to their mentor Seve Ballesteros’s maxim never to give in, rather than the side who didn’t get the job done.

This was about men like McIlroy, Rose and Kaymer and their wildly exciting journeys to scale the summit of their sport.

History makers: Europe celebrating completing the greatest ever Ryder Cup comeback

History makers: Europe celebrating completing the greatest ever Ryder Cup comeback

History makers: Europe celebrating completing the greatest ever Ryder Cup comeback

Keegan Bradley brings new backbone to USA

Rookie Bradley brings new backbone to USA

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UPDATED:

23:36 GMT, 28 September 2012

The only time Keegan Bradley had
attended a Ryder Cup before this was the notorious Brookline edition in
1999, when his father Mark hoisted the then 13 year-old on his shoulders
to give him a view over the crowds.

Mark Bradley could not help but
remember that visit on Friday as he watched his son overcome cloying
nerves on the first tee and nail his opening drive down the fairway in
the second Foursomes match of the Ryder Cup.

Get in: Keegan Bradley celebrates

Get in: Keegan Bradley celebrates

As last year's USPGA winner Keegan should be equipped to deal with the major moments, that title earning him repeat chants of 'Major winner!' before he teed off, designed to mock his opponents Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia, who have so far fallen short of that honour.

The family Bradley – which includes Auntie Pat, one of America's best women golfers – need not have worried, for that drive up the first was the precursor to one of the finest debut days ever seen in the competition.

The 26 year-old from Vermont capped a magnificent display with his belly putter by holing a monster on the fifteenth to down Donald and Garcia four and three before lunch, and afterwards he helped derail the European juggernaut of Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell two and one alongside Phil Mickelson.

More than anyone, even Nicolas Colsaerts, Bradley made this the day of the rookie, and with his wired, eye-bulging intensity he turned out to be America's answer to Ian Poulter. Asked if he was tired at the end he blurted 'Oh baby, I could go 36 more.'

Up for it: Bradley after nearly making a long eagle putt on the 15th

Up for it: Bradley after nearly making a long eagle putt on the 15th

Another massive achievement was that he
managed to turn Mickelson into some kind of Ryder Cup titan rather than
the wimp he has often looked in this competition.

Against Europe's go-to pairing in the afternoon Bradley, lining up his
putts with the look of a psychopath planning some dastardly deed,
delivered five birdies to establish a three hole lead.

When his level then dropped a little Mickelson was inspired to step into
the breach, carving out a series of halves against McIlroy to protect
it, culminating with a sensational drive on the seventeenth over the
water to win their second point .

Over these three days the Americans desperately need their veteran
triumvirate of Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk, who have been the
wobbly spine of the team for the past fifteen years, to come good.

Delight: Bradley celebrates victory over Donald and Garcia

Delight: Bradley celebrates victory over Donald and Garcia

They bear the most responsibility for America's sliding performance in
the bi-annual as a virtual common denominator in the turnaround of the
Europeans' fortunes that goes back to Mickelson's debut in 1995.

The Californian has four Majors, but prior to yesterday he had played in
eight Ryder Cups and won just fourteen points from 34 matches, too
often going missing when his team most needed him.

Woods has only a marginally better record and Furyk one even worse, but
at least Mickleson yesterday started to look more backbone than
invertebrate, thanks to the company of someone who was barely nine when
he made his Ryder Cup debut.

Ryder Cup 2012: Martin Samuel – Superhero Rory McIlroy falls to earth

Superhero McIlroy falls to earth as Americans shatter his aura

By
Martin Samuel

PUBLISHED:

00:13 GMT, 29 September 2012

|

UPDATED:

00:13 GMT, 29 September 2012

Take me on, he challenged. And they did. They took him all the way to the last at Medinah Country Club on Friday morning. Then they took him and his mate to the cleaners in the afternoon. They massed the forces of American golf, and then some, to take out the world No 1.

The United States threw everything they had at Rory McIlroy on the first day of the Ryder Cup.

They threw the inspirational presence of Michael Jordan in the gallery, they threw the boisterous barracking of those famed Chicago sports fans, they threw the player American captain Davis Love regards as the greatest putter in the world right now: Brandt Snedeker. All to no avail. And then they threw Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, the hot streak pairing in the morning foursomes. And, finally, they found a way through.

Rory McIlroy

Under pressure: Rory McIlroy feels the heat

Captain Love caught a break when his form partnership ran into McIlroy and Graeme McDowell as the second match out in the afternoon fourball competition and made them look ordinary. It is a different ball game from here.

Former Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger compared McIlroy's current status to that of Seve Ballesteros, and perhaps in McIlroy and McDowell, European captain Jose Maria Olazabal felt he had an echo of his old alliance with Ballesteros, too. By close of play on day one, however, Mickelson and Bradley had gone some way to dispelling that idea.

They paraded round the amphitheatre that is the 17th like conquering heroes after Mickelson had put his tee shot to within three feet. The Northern Irish pair, two down with two to play, conceded immediately. The Americans had put Rory in his place. Today is now a big one for him.

Chip off the block: McIlroy finds the hole from the edge of the green and celebrates with partner McDowell (below)

Chip off the block: McIlroy finds the hole from the edge of the green and celebrates with partner McDowell (below)

Perhaps weakened by a game won on the last hole that morning, McIlroy and McDowell struggled from the first. They were three down after three and fell to four adrift after eight, the final score of 2&1 barely doing America's domination justice. Once behind on the first, at no time did the scoreboard for the match show any colour bar red.

It could not have been more different from the morning session when McIlroy and McDowell took a confident three-hole lead, handed it back, and then rallied to win defiantly on the last. At the end of those 18 holes, McIlroy was upright, the bull's-eye on his back unmarked, his first point of the Ryder Cup on the board. From there, however, it became very clear how tough it will be to operate as the main man at a tournament that inflames such nationalistic passion.

'Get in the hole' became 'get in the water' when McIlroy was over the ball. It did not help that his partner McDowell seemed to be obeying those instructions at key moments. The Ryder Cup is golf's great team contest but, even so, being Rory must have felt very lonely at times.

Fans watch the play of Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell on the 17th green

McIlroy is plainly relaxed in McDowell's company and tried his best to smile through the tension, but he will not have had many harder days than this. The first game, against Snedeker and Jim Furyk, was hardly easy, but the hush as McDowell sank the decisive putt on the 18th green told the story of a psychological point won. America had taken their best shot at McIlroy and friends and missed. They then found their range in the afternoon, it must be said.

Talk had been of the blow that could be struck by defeating McIlroy in his first game, but it was America's form guy who blinked under pressure. Snedeker is in superb nick, but his wayward tee shot on the last allowed Europe's victory.

Snedeker retired hurt from the afternoon action, while McIlroy and McDowell were rushed into battle once more. By then, however, the complexion of the scoreboard was changing. Peter Hanson and Paul Lawrie were losing hugely to Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, and when the second American pair streaked ahead it put Europe into a tight spot. 'We're coming for you, Rory,' they shouted from the bleachers, and suddenly it did not sound like an empty threat.

Controversy: Graeme McDowell (C) remonstrates with Jim Furyk over a ruling at the second

Controversy: Graeme McDowell (C) remonstrates with Jim Furyk over a ruling at the second

How different from earlier, when McIlroy's strength of character dominated. The first shot of the 39th Ryder Cup revealed the exquisite torture of team golf, a mighty hook from McDowell that took leaves and twigs from a tree and nestled just north of Captain's Club II, but short of hospitality tent 36, belonging to the Aeroterm Vanquish Group.

It could have been golf's equivalent of Steve Harmison's first ball of the 2006-07 Ashes. Instead, McIlroy strode deep into corporate land and left his recovery shot just short of the green. Europe halved the hole. It set the standard for McIlroy's morning turn, his determination further cemented by a little episode on the second.

McIlroy's tee shot came to rest near a sprinkler. McDowell immediately claimed relief, America – Jim Furyk in particular – objected. The chief referee was summoned. He sided with America. Furyk looked McIlroy straight in the eye. 'You do understand, don't you' he said. He might as well have added 'sonny'. Furyk has close to 20 years on McIlroy.

Sandman: McIlroy plays from a bunker during Friday morning's Ryder Cup foursomes

Sandman: McIlroy plays from a bunker during Friday morning's Ryder Cup foursomes

So fractious was the mood that the
pairs could then not agree on whose turn it was to putt, and the pin was
used to measure distance from the hole.

'It's not going to be a nice match
now,' said Darren Clarke's mum, part of a large European entourage
following the game. 'I've never seen anything like that at the Ryder
Cup.'

McIlroy, though, grew from the incident. Faced with a difficult chip from the back of the fourth green, he sank it with a master craftsman's precision. His celebration – fist clenched, face unsmiling and defiant, eyes coldly furious – would not have been out of place on the football pitch. That sprinkler nonsense had made him angry and, like The Hulk, America wasn't going to like him when he's angry.

Yet even before the afternoon session there were signs of mental fatigue. Three up standing on the 13th tee, Team Northern Ireland were comfortable. Even when Furyk sank a par putt to claw a hole back, Europe's win seemed assured. But 15 is the ultimate risk-reward hole, a short par four with a green that can be taken on from the tee, but is guarded by serious water.

Stars and stripes: Phil Mickelson celebrates with wife Amy (R) after defeating McIlroy and McDowell

Stars and stripes: Phil Mickelson celebrates with wife Amy (R) after defeating McIlroy and McDowell

Furyk went bold, almost drove the green. McDowell tried to follow him, found the lake. It seemed a poor call. He could just as easily have laid up and trusted McIlroy to target the pin. Now the crowd were raucous and the lead cut to one. At the next, Snedeker put his second shot to three feet. All square.

And that was how it remained until the last, when Snedeker cracked, sending his tee shot wildly right. McDowell found sand with his second. Now it was McIlroy's moment. He stepped into the bunker and lofted the ball close.

McDowell did the rest. It was gladiatorial golf at its finest. They started an argument: he finished it.

By the afternoon, though, the scoreboard had been painted red. McIlroy looked exhausted. McDowell had struck his last shot of the day in the drink. 'Oh baby, I wish I could go 36 more,' said Bradley. Then again, he doesn't have a dirty great bull's-eye on his back.

Ryder Cup 2012: Nicolas Colsaerts lifts Europe after rookie Americans shine

It's the march of the rookie as Colsaerts lifts Europe after Love stars shine

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UPDATED:

00:19 GMT, 29 September 2012

America took the first
day honours at the Ryder
Cup as Jose Maria Olazabal's
men wilted under a fourballs
onslaught.

The hosts celebrated an explosive
new partnership in veteran
Phil Mickelson and rookie Keegan
Bradley as the USA turned a 2-2
lunchtime score into a 5-3 lead.

What a day: Nicolas Colsaerts finished in remarkable fashion

What a day: Nicolas Colsaerts finished in remarkable fashion

They beat Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald in the morning and Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell in the afternoon as Mickelson enjoyed his best day in these matches.

Bradley, though, was the star, firing up Mickelson to such an extent he was unrecognisable from the pale shadow seen in past Ryder Cups.

'This is one of the most memorable occasions of my life,' said the feisty 26-year-old Bradley. Asked if he had energy left, he replied: 'Oh baby, I wish I could go 36 more.'

Europe had done well enough in the morning as Ian Poulter and Justin Rose ensured a 2-2 scoreline by clinching a point after McIlroy and McDowell had also registered a victory.

Put it there:Vice-captain Darren Clark greets Nicolas Colsaerts - Europe's best fourball player today

Put it there:Vice-captain Darren Clark greets Nicolas Colsaerts – Europe's best fourball player

Woods for the trees: Tiger has endured a torrid day - in both sessions

Woods for the trees: Tiger has endured a torrid day – in both sessions

But after lunch it was a completely
different story with all the momentum going America's way until an
incredible European performance in the anchor match.

Here it was left to their only rookie, Nicolas Colsaerts, to prevent a
whitewash as he singlehandedly beat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker. Lee
Westwood was his partner but, completely out of sorts, he didn't have a
birdie throughout.

Colsaerts, by way of complete contrast, had an astonishing eight birdies
and eagle to give Woods another Ryder Cup nightmare, as he lost both
his matches. His morning defeat in the foursomes means he has now tied
Raymond Floyd for the most defeats in that format in American Ryder Cup
history.

First blood: Keegan Bradley (right) celebrates with Phil Mickelson after the pair beat Donald and Garcia

First blood: Keegan Bradley (right) celebrates with Phil Mickelson after the pair beat Donald and Garcia

Hug it out: Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson celebrate winning another point for their team

Hug it out: Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson celebrate winning another point for their team

Asked if he realised how important that point was, Westwood said: 'I
did, but luckily Nicolas didn't. That's why he played so well.'

The Belgian summed up the way he and Westwood had clung on to win by
saying: 'You have just got to go with what's in your pants'.

Questions will inevitably be asked as to why Europe captain Olazabal
left players such as Poulter and Donald on the sidelines after lunch,
but at least his wildcard decision to pick Colsaerts was thrillingly
vindicated.

Woods for the trees: Tiger has endured a torrid day - in both sessions

Woods for the trees: Tiger has endured a torrid day – in both sessions

Woods talks to his caddie Joe LaCava

Pointing the way: Woods talks to his caddie Joe LaCava

'Ollie told me on Thursday afternoon I wouldn't be playing in the
fourballs and that was fine with me,' said Poulter. 'We have a strong
team and he wanted everyone to have a game, so that meant four players
had to sit it out. He said he wanted to keep me fresh for the last two
days.'

McIlroy said: 'We were trying to claw our way back, and we played some
good stuff on the way in, but Keegan and Phil were just too strong this
afternoon.'

Europe will now have to call on the spirit of 1995, when they came back from a two-point deficit after the first day to win.