Miracle men! Kaymer holds his nerve on the 18th as Euro stars retain Ryder Cup
22:59 GMT, 30 September 2012
Dressed in the colours of the late Seve Ballesteros, Europe pulled off one of his trademark great escapes in what will go down as the 'Miracle of Medinah'.
What looked mission impossible when Europe trailed 10-4 at one point late on Saturday night suddenly became possible after they dramatically won the first five singles games and then picked up further points from Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia.
That put Jose Maria Olazabal's side, almost unbelievably, 13-12 up and as the holders they needed only a tie to retain the cup. Yet they ended up winning it 14-13.
Magic moment: Kaymer sinks the winning put on the 18th green before running over to celebrate with his team-mates
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Three games were still on the course.
Peter Hanson lost the first of them on the final green, but Martin
Kaymer and Francesco Molinari had it in their power to retain the famous
And Kaymer, left out all day on
Saturday, was the one to deliver the point they required to match the
biggest comeback in the event's history.
He was up against Steve Stricker.
Level with two to go, the American bogeyed the short 17th after hitting
his chip far too strongly.
Kaymer, bunkered off the final tee, found the green and had two putts for it once Stricker missed his long birdie attempt.
Luke who's talking: Donald won the first match of the day
He gave himself and his team-mates
palpitations when he sent his first one six feet past, but 21 years on
from compatriot Bernhard Langer missing from the same distance to lose
at Kiawah Island Kaymer made the one back and sparked jubilant scenes.
Moments before Molinari had fallen one
down to Tiger Woods by bogeying the 17th himself, but suddenly it did
not matter. The cup was going back across the Atlantic.
They played on, however, and when
Woods bogeyed he conceded Molinari's par putt – a move that gave Europe
their fifth win in the last six games.
They won the 12 singles by a simply stunning 8-3 margin.
Nerves of steel: Poulter continued his fine form to see off Webb Simpson
It was no surprise to see Olazabal,
who of course formed with Ballesteros the greatest partnership in the
event's history, crying.
'It means a lot – not just for me,' he
said. 'This is for the whole of Europe, all those 12 wonderful men, my
four vice-captains and that band of caddies.
'Seve will always be present with this
team. He was a big factor for this event and last night when we had
that meeting I think the boys understood that believing was the big
'It's been a tough week. Until today
nothing went our way – we struggled on the greens, but this morning I
felt we were a little better in that regard.
No 1: McIlroy overcame a strong challenge from Keegan Bradley
'I've been under pressure hitting shots, but today tops that.'
Kaymer said: 'It's a feeling I've never had before. Bernhard helped me so much, just to sit me down and talk about it.
'Now I know how it feels to win the Ryder Cup.'
Stunned American captain Davis Love said: 'I would not have done anything differently. They played great.
'When you lose a segment (session) that badly it's going to cost you.'
The four-point overnight deficit
became three when Luke Donald beat Masters champion Bubba Watson 2&1
in the top game. It was a massive relief after he led by four with four
Coming up Rose's: Justin Rose won the last two holes to win a thriller against Mickelson
Scot Paul Lawrie crushed last Sunday's
7million FedEx Cup winner Brandt Snedeker 5&3 – he was six under
par with an eagle and four birdies – and Rory McIlroy then beat
previously unbeaten Keegan Bradley 2&1.
That was not the world No 1's biggest drama of the day, though.
As the singles began word reached everybody that McIlroy, out in the third game, was nowhere to be seen around the course.
Two minutes late and he would forfeit
the opening hole, five minutes late and he faced disqualification, but
to the relief of every European he was driven into the parking lot with
10 minutes to go, got his shoes on and gave a superb display.
Braveheart: Lawrie (right) easily saw off Snedeker
Olazabal admitted his heart had been
'racing quicker than expected' until McIlroy teed off and added: 'We did
not have that in mind.
'All of a sudden we realised Rory was not here and started to look for him. Finally we got hold of him and he came in.'
It was reported the Northern Irishmen
had seen a 12.25am tee-off time on television, but it was Eastern Time –
one hour ahead of Chicago.
After his win McIlroy said: 'I was
just casually strolling out of my hotel room when I got a phone call
saying you have 25 minutes.
Johnson and Johnson: American duo Dustin (above) and Zach (below) won the hosts' first points of the day
'I have never been so worried driving
to the course. Luckily there was a State Trooper outside who gave me the
escort – if not I would not have made it on time.'
McIlroy never trailed, but star man Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Garcia all did.
Poulter, whose finish to the second
session of fourballs really inspired the comeback, made it four wins out
of four – and 12 wins in his last 14 cup games – beat US Open champion
Webb Simpson on the last after being two down early on.
They were level with two to go, but
Simpson failed to get up and down from a bunker on the short 17th and
could not grab the birdie he needed on the last.
Making amends: Westwood bounced back from a shaky first two days to beat Kuchar
Rose's second win over Phil Mickelson
in his cup career came in amazing fashion. He trailed by one with two to
play, but holed from 40 feet on 17 and 14 feet at the last.
Mickelson, America's record cap-holder
and winner of his first three games, could only stand and admire – and
graciously applauded everything Rose did at the end.
Mickelson can still consider himself
to have had a good week. In contrast Woods had a shocker – and Love
joins 2002 captain Curtis Strange in putting the 14-major winner out
last and seeing his game become totally irrelevant in the destiny of the
Down and out: Furyk reacts after his missed putt on the 18th hands victory to Garcia
The only previous side to win from
four down entering the singles was Ben Crenshaw's in Boston in 1999 – a
match that ended so controversially with a premature invasion of the
Olazabal was on the receiving end of
that, standing there as he waited for calm to be restored and then
missing the putt which meant the Americans could not lose.
That was just another dimension to how sweet this day must have felt.
Job done: Kaymer pumps his fists to hail the victory