Tag Archives: poulter

Texas Open – PGA Tour: Rory McIlroy shoots five-under second round to move two shots behind the lead

Rory's back in the groove! McIlroy shoots five-under second round to close in on Texas lead

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

23:55 GMT, 5 April 2013

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UPDATED:

00:06 GMT, 6 April 2013

LIVE LEADERBOARD

Click HERE for the latest scores from the Texas Open in San Antonio

Rory McIlroy allayed fears about the state of his game by storming into contention at the Valero Texas Open.

With the Masters just days away, the world No 2 shot a five-under-par 67 to follow his even-par opening round, and move three behind leader Billy Horschel in San Antonio.

The Northern Irishman was a late entry for this tournament as he desperately sought to play himself into form for Augusta, and by the looks of today's performance he has done precisely that.

Strong showing: Rory McIlroy carded a five-under round of 67 to finish three shots off the lead in San Antonio

Strong showing: Rory McIlroy carded a five-under round of 67 to finish three shots off the lead in San Antonio

Improvement: McIlroy started the day at level par after his opening round 72

Improvement: McIlroy started the day at level par after his opening round 72

He finished off with birdies at 16, 17 and 18 to make an already good round a quite excellent one, tying with Charley Hoffman and KJ Choi for the lowest score of the day.

McIlroy had a 25-foot eagle putt at the last to go into a share of the lead, and he put it close, but he would have settled for five under at the start of the round and made sure of that by tapping in from inside a foot.

Charley Hoffman, Daniel Summerhays and Steven Bowditch were in the clubhouse on six under, before back-to-back birdies from Horschel moved him two clear at eight-under.

In his stride: McIlroy entered at late notice

In his stride: McIlroy entered at late notice

Leader: Billy Horschel moved to eight-under-par

Leader: Billy Horschel moved to eight-under-par

Meanwhile, Ian Poulter’s attempt to use the Valero Texas Open to help get ready for the Masters threatened to leave him even more short of confidence instead.

Europe’s Ryder Cup hero, who has slipped outside the world top 10, went almost immediately to the driving range to do more work after his second round 75 left him one over for the tournament, just inside the cut.

Poulter tweeted: ‘On the range giving myself a talking to. I was utter dog meat today. Absolutely disgraceful off the tee. But I can still win. No mistakes.’

Struggle: Ian Poulter carded a round of 75 to end day two one-over-par

Struggle: Ian Poulter carded a round of 75 to end day two one-over-par

Struggle: Ian Poulter carded a round of 75 to end day two one-over-par

Later he added: ‘I hit two out of 14
fairways. That’s just simply s***. I’m so mad it’s crazy. Just hit 100
drives on the range and sorted it.’

He drove into the rough at the first hole and missed two short putts, then it got worse as he double-bogeyed the second.

Ian Poulter says he doesn"t need a sports

Poulter: I know how to climb the rankings… and it isn't by using a sports psychologist!

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 21 November 2012

Picture a press centre enthralled to see what happened next after Ian Poulter was asked whether he had ever thought about seeing a sports psychologist.

Heavens, It must be Poults’s obvious lack of self-belief that prompted the question. All those vital putts he leaves short at a Ryder Cup.

For a few seconds the Englishman appeared to be weighing up how he could reply politely. ‘Do you honestly think I need a sports psychologist’ he began.

Are you crazy Ian Poulter responded to questions about whether he needs a sports psychologist

Are you crazy Ian Poulter responded to questions about whether he needs a sports psychologist

‘Are you crazy Wow. I think there are people in this game who would pay me a fortune to be their sports psychologist.’

Indeed they would, given there’s hardly anyone in the history of the sport who’s got more out of his game, and is less in need of the dark science.

The 36 year old is right in his pomp just now, of course, still on a high from his stunning contribution to the miracle of Medinah and playing some of the best golf of his career. In three events since the Ryder Cup Poulter has won one, finished runner-up in another and fourth in the third.

‘It just shows what golf can be played when I focus my mind and I am going to work hard in my little head to keep the focus the same as it was at the Ryder Cup,’ he said. ‘I know I am dangerous when I have that frame of mind.’

Could it be that seeing all those UK boys dominating the top five in the world rankings and the headlines also brought out the competitor in him

'I would say that I am good friends with a lot of guys who were playing a lot better golf than I was playing, so it did spur me on,’ he admitted.

‘It told me that I was capable of playing better golf but hopefully I’ve changed that picture now and it is time to kick on from this position.’

Poulter, currently ranked 13th in the world, certainly has the chance to kick on at the tour’s grand finale, the Dubai World Championship, where the presence of every other member of Europe’s Ryder Cup team means there are oodles of ranking points on offer.

Close call: Poulter missed out on the Australia Masters after losing to Adam Scott

Close call: Poulter missed out on the Australia Masters after losing to Adam Scott

Close call: Poulter missed out on the Australia Masters after losing to Adam Scott

He then has a couple of limited field events to play before a six or seven week off-season where he will try to improve a few areas of his game in time for the Masters in April.

‘I would like to drive the ball a bit further than I do, and my mid-iron play could get a little better,’ he said.

‘Most of all I need to be a little more consistent with my putting and putt like I have been doing for the past month over a longer period. Look at Luke Donald.

'He has putted consistently well for 18 months and look what that has done for his world ranking.

‘The main goals next season will be all around the majors. I’ve played well in three of them this year, three top 10s, and I’d like to get a lot closer.

'I would think coming down the stretch, if I was in contention, I’ve got a lot of self-belief in me that can hopefully get me over the line. But we will just have to see. They are hard to win, as you know.’

Star of the show: Poulter was in fine form for Europe at the Ryder Cup in Medinah

Star of the show: Poulter was in fine form for Europe at the Ryder Cup in Medinah

Poulter finished as he began, his eyes glazing over at another baffling question. An American journalist used a baseball analogy.

Seeing Poulter’s bemused response, the writer concluded: ’Living in Florida, you know baseball….’

That was enough for Poulter to knock the question out of the room for a home run.

‘I’ve never watched a full game of baseball,’ he said. ‘You want to sit there for four and a half hours eating a hot dog and a coke Really I’m sorry.

'I’ve been living in America for four years and I have never watched a full game. In fact I can’t think of many sports where I’d sit there watching for four and a half hours. Unless it was the Ryder Cup, of course.'

Hopefully, it will be a good few Ryder Cups yet before he is reduced to watching. Or playing the role of sports psychologist.

Rory McIlroy can"t shake winning feeling in Hong Kong

Rory rises to the challenge! McIlroy can't shake that winning feeling in Hong Kong

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UPDATED:

16:32 GMT, 14 November 2012

Rory McIlroy just keeps on winning as he prepares for the defence of his Hong Kong Open title at Fanling.

McIlroy was already celebrating topping the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic when he arrived in Hong Kong and quickly got the better of his rivals on the eve of the tournament.

Surrounded by Hong Kong’s iconic
skyline, McIlroy, Paul Lawrie, Matt Kuchar, Jose Maria Olazabal and Steven Lam took turns to try their luck at a hole in one at
the specially-designed par three in Chater Garden, in the heart of the
city’s Central District.

Watch the windows: Rory McIlroy has a go at the Urban Golf Challenge ahead of the Hong Kong Open

Watch the windows: Rory McIlroy has a go at the Urban Golf Challenge ahead of the Hong Kong Open

Up for the challenge: (from left) Rory McIlroy, Paul Lawrie, Jose Maria Olazabal, Matt Kuchar and Steven Kam

Up for the challenge: (from left) Rory McIlroy, Paul Lawrie, Jose Maria Olazabal, Matt Kuchar and Steven Kam

And it was McIlroy who took the honours after hitting nearest the pin.

'I've won four tournaments this year but this was the biggest one of the lot,' he joked as he collected his champagne.

'I was nervous at The Ryder Cup but nothing compared to this.'

McIlroy starts as favourite on Thursday after winning 12 months ago and finishing second (twice) and sixth on previous visits.

He said: 'This week will be extra special after wrapping up the Race to Dubai and I can't wait to tee up as the defending champion. There will definitely be an added spring in my step.

'I love tree-lined courses and Hong Kong is definitely one of my favourites anywhere in the world. When you've played well and won on a course you're always looking forward to going back.'

Great Scot: Ryder Cup star Paul Lawrie took part in the Urban Golf Challenge

Great Scot: Ryder Cup star Paul Lawrie took part in the Urban Golf Challenge

Matt finish: Kuchar appeared to be enjoying himself ahead of the tournament in Hong Kong

Matt finish: Kuchar appeared to be enjoying himself ahead of the tournament in Hong Kong

With Ian Poulter defending his Australian Masters title and Graeme McDowell there too, the stiffest competition to McIlroy this time should come from American Ryder Cup player Matt Kuchar, Scot Paul Lawrie and last week's winner Matteo Manassero.

Back-to-form Paul Casey, meanwhile, is seeking a fifth successive top 10 and will need it to be third or better if he is to be among the 60 who qualify for next week's DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

No trees, just skyscrapers: McIlroy and Kuchar take a break during the Urban Golf Challenge

No trees, just skyscrapers: McIlroy and Kuchar take a break during the Urban Golf Challenge

Ernie Els removed from European Tour money list

Open champion Els removed from money list due to lack of appearances

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UPDATED:

20:10 GMT, 5 November 2012

Big Easy: Els

Big Easy: Els

Ernie Els had his name removed from the European Tour money list on Monday and the Open champion is no longer eligible for the 5million DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in two weeks or a share of the 2.4million end-of-season bonus pool.

Tour members are required to play 13 counting events in a year and the 43-year-old South African's joint runner-up finish at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China this weekend was only his 10th appearance on the circuit.

To stay on the Order of Merit and play in Dubai Els would have had to compete in this week's Singapore Open and then either the South African Open or Hong Kong Open next week, but his next scheduled tournament is the Asian Tour's Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia on December 13-16.

Winner of his fourth major at Royal Lytham in July, Els was initially listed in sixth place on the 'Race to Dubai' following Ian Poulter's win this weekend, but now it will be the first time since 1997 that he does not appear on the final list.

The top 60 at the end of next week qualify for Dubai and with no Els England's Lee Slattery moves into 60th place. He plays in both Singapore and Hong Kong.

Off the list: Els has not appeared in enough events

Off the list: Els has not appeared in enough events

There is a first prize of nearly 850,000 in Dubai and the bonus pool, even though it has been slashed in half this season, ranges from 642,000 to the leading money-winner – almost certainly Rory McIlroy – to 64,000 for the player finishing 10th.

Scot Martin Laird and American John Daly, currently 64th and 81st respectively, have also only played 10 events, but they stay on the list.

Laird joined as an affiliate member, while in his 'past winner' category Daly was not guaranteed 13 starts.

McIlroy, with the PGA Tour money list title already secured, has a lead of more than 616,000 over Ryder Cup team-mate Peter Hanson, who has decided not to join the world No 1 in the next two tournaments and could therefore be too far back come Dubai.

The same applies to third-placed Justin Rose and fourth-placed Poulter.

Ian Poulter wins WGC HSBC Championship in China

Poulter comes from four behind to win HSBC Champions title by two shots

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UPDATED:

10:57 GMT, 4 November 2012

Ian Poulter joked about taking two years off after his Ryder Cup heroics. Now he is glad he didn't.

Five weeks on from his unbeaten performance in the victory over the Americans, the 36-year-old today joined Darren Clarke as the only Europeans to win two World Golf Championship titles.

Poulter trailed by nine shots halfway through the HSBC Champions at Mission Hills in China, but two closing rounds of 65 gave him a two-stroke triumph over Open champion Ernie Els and Americans Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner and Scott Piercy.

Winning in style: Ian Poulter came from four shots down to win the HSBC Champions title

Winning in style: Ian Poulter came from four shots down to win the HSBC Champions title

Sealed with a kiss: Poulter won the title for the second time in his career

Sealed with a kiss: Poulter won the title for the second time in his career

'It's so nice to get my hands on another trophy,' said Poulter, whose last individual success was the Australian Masters last December.

HSBC Champions leaderboard

Click here to see the full leaderboard

'I've been in good form for a while and knew if I did the right things and stayed patient I would be right there. It's been an amazing six weeks.'

What he could not have expected, however, was for both overnight leaders Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen to finish so poorly.

After a third round 61 had brought him level Westwood went three clear early on, but double-bogeyed the short fifth and had three back nine bogeys.

Well done: Poulter is congratulated by Ernie Els

Well done: Poulter is congratulated by Ernie Els

Falling behind: Lee Westwood was the joint leader overnight but could not hold on in the final round

Falling behind: Lee Westwood was the joint leader overnight but could not hold on in the final round

That makes it a total of 100 majors and world championships in his career and the 39-year-old has yet to win one.

Oosthuizen, five clear of the field after 36 holes, also shot only a level par 72 on the low-scoring lay-out and so they dropped back into a tie for sixth place.

Poulter's performance certainly put a smile back on his face after he had let off steam on Twitter on Saturday night about Arsenal's performance at Manchester United.

'Simply not good enough,' he told his 1.3million followers. 'This is not an Arsenal side that can compete. But they are making a profit. I guess someone is happy.

'Bored of watching this s***. Not in the same league. Won't finish top six.'

Chip for glory: Poulter hits a shot on the 17th fairway

Chip for glory: Poulter hits a shot on the 17th fairway

Driving to success: Poulter came out on top in China

Driving to success: Poulter came out on top in China

Poulter was in a tie for fourth with 18 holes to go on the course designed by Ryder Cup captain Jose

Maria Olazabal and still two back despite a front nine 32.

But while Westwood then bogeyed the 10th, 12th and long 15th – a chip from just short of the green rolled down a bank and he thinned his next attempt – his fellow Englishman kept his foot on the accelerator.

An 18-foot putt gave Poulter a fifth birdie of the day on the 10th, he two-putted from the fringe on the 568-yard next and at the 15th he was bunkered in two, but holed another 18-footer.

Following the dragon: Poulter and Els before the trophy presentation

Following the dragon: Poulter and Els before the trophy presentation

Mickelson, Els and defending champion Martin Kaymer had become his biggest dangers by then, but the German's chances went when he fell from joint second to ninth with a triple-bogey on the short 17th.

After finding sand off the tee Kaymer went over the green, then chipped back into the bunker he had just left.

Poulter's lead came down from three to one when Mickelson also birdied the 15th and he bogeyed the 17th, failing to get up and down from right of the green.

Chasing pack: Louis Oosthuizen came sixth

Chasing pack: Louis Oosthuizen came sixth

But the three-time Masters champion took four on the 17th himself, duffing a chip that did not even make the green.

Poulter's bunkered approach to the 460-yard last meant there was still work to be done, but after playing partner Els had just failed with a 45-foot birdie attempt he holed from nine feet for a 21 under par total.

That left Mickelson having to hole his second shot to force a play-off, but he could only par and so with a 68 he had to share the runner-up spot with Els (67), Dufner (64) and Piercy (65).

Poulter was, of course, the happiest man given the fact that world top two Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods both turned the event down. He is now back into the top 20

McIlroy was quickly on with congratulations to his Ryder Cup team-mate, who earned over 743,000 for his week's work.

In the pack: US golfer Phil Mickelson was unable to mount a challenge for the title

In the pack: US golfer Phil Mickelson was unable to mount a challenge for the title

'Ballsy up and down at the last,' said the northern Irishman on Twitter, who preferred to watch his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki play tennis in Bulgaria. 'Wouldn't expect anything less!'

Poulter added: 'It still doesn't give you the kind of same buzz you get playing the Ryder Cup. There's just not quite as much adrenaline in the body.

'I definitely think it is a part continuation of the Ryder Cup and I'm obviously riding that wave as much as I possibly can.

'After two days I felt I was probably too far back with the way Louis was playing, but anything is possible on this course once you get the putter warm and it is hard to close out tournaments sometimes.'

Talking a good game: Poulter show his delight while speaking to the Press after the tournament

Talking a good game: Poulter show his delight while speaking to the Press after the tournament

Two world championships are great, of course, but a major is the biggest dream.

'People keep asking all the time 'when, when, when'. I don't know when and I'm trying really hard – I'll do my best next year.'

With Peter Hanson and Justin Rose only sharing 24th place, McIlroy holds a massive lead of more than 600,000 in the European Tour money list race with only three weeks left – and he is playing all of them.

Mickelson is also at next week's Singapore Open and he said: 'I'll see if I can improve one spot there.
'It was good for me to come back after having not played since the Ryder Cup and pick up where I left off.

'I knew I needed to make some birdies, but the pins were very tough to get close to.'

Els contented himself with a near-miss on his return from an ankle injury.

'It's sore, don't get me wrong, and it was a bit of a physical test for me, but a good week,' he stated.

'And I almost made him think there on 18!'

Ian Poulter: The US wanted to shut me up and after we"d won they wouldn"t even have a beer with us

We were four points down but when I walked into the locker room everyone was singing… One Ian Poulter, there's only one Ian Poulter

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UPDATED:

21:29 GMT, 6 October 2012

When a weary but elated Ian Poulter walked into the Medinah Country Club locker room with playing partner Rory McIlroy at the end of a Saturday that left Europe’s Ryder Cup hopes in shreds, he was greeted by the most unexpected sound. As a man, the European team were singing: ‘One Ian Poulter, there’s only one Ian Poulter’.

And it was in that sublime moment that Poulter says he realised that, even with the Americans taking a 10-6 lead into the final day, Europe’s hopes of clinging on to the famous old trophy were far from over.

Poulter’s birdie on the 18th hole had claimed a precious point for a team that had been staring into the abyss for almost two days. More than that, though, the way he had strung together five successive birdies — casting his partner, the world No 1 golfer, into the shade — had given the Europeans the self-belief they needed to go out the next day and complete one of sport’s greatest comebacks.

‘We were four points behind but it didn’t feel like that,’ said Poulter last week as he looked back at the Miracle of Medinah. ‘The atmosphere within the team had been turned on its head. For two days, it had felt like a morgue, but now we had a glimmer of hope.’

Champagne moment: Ian Poulter,back at his Florida home, toasts Europe's Ryder Cup victory

Champagne moment: Ian Poulter,back at his Florida home, toasts Europe's Ryder Cup victory

/10/06/article-0-1549429F000005DC-258_634x424.jpg” width=”634″ height=”424″ alt=”Cheerleader: Poulter leads the celebrations after a remarkable turnaround at Medinah” class=”blkBorder” />

Cheerleader: Poulter leads the celebrations after a remarkable turnaround at Medinah

‘I knew going into the Ryder Cup that they wanted to shut me up. They don’t like my outlandish behaviour, my fist-pumping. But you know what It’s the Ryder Cup and that’s the passion I have seen from the competition over the years. I have the right to do my job and I’ll do it to the best of my ability. Sure as hell, I’m going to celebrate a putt. I’m sorry, but that’s me enjoying the moment, enjoying the atmosphere.

‘I have massive respect for all their players; these are guys I play against week in, week out and they’re among the best in the world. But in Ryder Cup week I don’t want to talk to them. It means too much.

‘There’s no malice in anything I have ever done in the Ryder Cup. I’ve done nothing that I feel guilty about. I have simply gone out there and played my heart out. I’ve won my matches and I have a fantastic record that I’m damn proud of. And if they don’t like me for that, well, I’ll still sleep pretty good tonight.’

Poulter’s passion for the Ryder Cup was matched by the emotional side of Jose Maria Olazabal’s captaincy, which brought with it the echoes of his great friend, the late Seve Ballesteros.

‘Jose spoke to us for about 15 minutes at our hotel on the Wednesday about what it would mean to him to take home — he used that word — the Ryder Cup,’ recalled Poulter. ‘/10/06/article-0-154C3CA5000005DC-913_634x426.jpg” width=”634″ height=”426″ alt=”Team effort: Europe's golfers and skipper Jose Maria Olazabal pose after one of sport's great comebacks” class=”blkBorder” />

Team effort: Europe's golfers and skipper Jose Maria Olazabal pose after one of sport's great comebacks

‘He reminded us what it would mean to Seve and that we should play with pride and try to put our hands back on the trophy. At the end, we were going to the gala dinner by coach and Jose asked if we would like him to put on a video of past Ryder Cups for the journey. Paul Lawrie suddenly spoke out, “God damn, man, I’m 43 and I can’t cope with this. I need some tissues…”

‘It was one of those defining moments, everyone started laughing. It was so funny for Paul, who’s such a quiet man, to say that. But it was what everyone was feeling. Everyone needed to catch their breath. But we knew then that we really had to do it for Jose.’

And so they did, making the scoreboard a sea of blue on the final day as American expectations of a rout were turned on their head. Poulter reveals that, when it was all over and the ritual handshakes had been observed, the two teams went their separate ways without sharing a traditional beer on Sunday night. It was, apparently, the decision of the Americans not to socialise.

‘Obviously, one side is elated and the other is completely depressed,’ he said. ‘We normally get together for a drink afterwards. But it didn’t happen, which was a shame. We played incredible golf against one another, some of the best I have ever seen. We were outplayed for two days, but we played them off the park on Sunday. The Americans were very upset, very emotional on the back of the 18th green. There weren’t many who had a dry eye.’

US captain Davis Love III did venture into the European team room to congratulate Olazabal and his players, as did a number of the team’s wives. But the American players kept their distance.

On the charge: Poulter tees off on the 18th before beating Webb Simpson in the singles

On the charge: Poulter tees off on the 18th before beating Webb Simpson in the singles

Poulter appreciates how they must have felt. Although he has now been on three victorious Ryder Cup teams, winning 12 matches and losing just three, he was a member of the only European team that has lost this century, at Valhalla, in 2008. ‘It hurts to lose,’ he said. ‘I know how badly they have taken this defeat and it’s going to stay with them for a while.’

Had any of the American players been here on Thursday morning, they would have seen an altogether different Poulter from the one who has become their Ryder Cup nemesis. Poulter and his wife, Katie, who have four children, were guests as the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, performed the dedication ceremony at the new, $400million Nemours Children’s Hospital, close to their home. Poulter raised $104,000 by hosting a charity golf day, and a fourth-floor waiting room area there has been named in honour of ‘Ian and Katie and the Poulter Family’.

Katie was a nurse before having their children, Aimee-Leigh, now 10, eight-year-old Luke, three-year-old Lilly, and baby Joshua, just eight months old. ‘We have four healthy children, so if it’s possible to do anything for poorly kids then you are going to do it,’ said Poulter. ‘We’ll run the charity day next year.’

Poulter first bought a property in Florida four years ago but he had rented one for nine years before that. ‘I like the lifestyle, I have great practice facilities at Lake Nona and it’s almost always sunny!’ he said.

He has worked hard for all he has achieved. He recalls how, as a penniless assistant golf professional in Hertfordshire, he stayed in a tent with two friends in a field two miles from The Belfry to watch the 1993 Ryder Cup.

‘We were eating tinned food and a little old lady used to let us go and wash at her house each night,’ he said. ‘She felt sorry for us and gave us a bottle of wine as well.

Passion: Poulter, Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose lead the fans in chorus

Passion: Poulter, Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose lead the fans in chorus

‘The atmosphere was electric. I was hooked from the start. I watched Davis Love play Colin Montgomerie, but it was too dark for them to finish, so they walked in after the 17th. I ran under the ropes and rushed up to Monty, and said, “Colin, can I have your golf ball, please” I was a cheeky 17-year-old!’

The ball he begged from Montgomerie is displayed at his home alongside his trophies and other memorabilia, including his hotel key from his first Ryder Cup, in 2004. ‘From staying in a tent to nicking my room key, I think you can safely say I’m addicted to the Ryder Cup,’ he said, smiling. ‘I keep absolutely everything. This is my story, this is my life.’

If one moment encapsulated Poulter’s willingness to play the Americans at their own game, it was his behaviour on the first tee last Saturday, when he followed Watson’s lead in orchestrating the crowd into a frenzy. Predictably, the crowd bayed at Poulter like a mob. Poulter turned to his playing partner Justin Rose and said: ‘Sorry, mate, but I had to do it.’

Poulter chuckled at the memory. ‘Justin usually controls himself really well, but he looked at me, sighed and said, “I don’t know what your heart-rate was like, but mine was going mad”. Actually, my heart was thumping so much I could hear it. But it was the only way, it had to be done.’

One by one, Donald, McIlroy, Lawrie, Westwood and others brought home points until Martin Kaymer holed the putt that retained the Ryder Cup, and Francesco Molinari claimed a half with Tiger Woods that won the trophy outright.

‘Winning it for the team, for Jose, for Europe meant absolutely everything,’ said Poulter. ‘I still can’t properly comprehend what we did.’

Pertinently, nor can the American team who failed to silence him, or beat him, over three truly memorable days at Medinah.

Ryder Cup king

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

Ryder Cup 2012: Justin Rose and Euro stars get stuck into champagne

No messing! Euro stars get stuck in to fizz as Rose and Poulter lead Ryder Cup party

|

UPDATED:

10:49 GMT, 1 October 2012

Team Europe were in the mood for a well-deserved party after seeing off the Americans to keep hold of the Ryder Cup.

Jose Maria Olazabal's troops came through 14-13 after a remarkable Sunday session at Medinah – winning eight of the 12 singles matches.

Luke Donald went out first and made the perfect start against Bubba Watson. And after his team-mates followed him in with big performances, the Englishman tweeted: 'What a day, what a week, what a comeback. Words can't express the emotions of the last few hours. Proud of everyone on Team Europe. Now time to party…'

They've got the bottle: Ryder Cup stars enjoyed champagne with their names on the label

They've got the bottle: Ryder Cup stars enjoyed champagne with their names on the label

Sportsmail at the Ryder Cup

Martin Samuel: It might get even harder, but it can't get any better than this

VIDEO: Watch highlights of Europe's win

Donald's fellow countryman Justin Rose, who beat Phil Mickelson with a storming finish to his round, was also ready to let his hair down.

He said: 'No messing tonight,' before tweeting a picture of some champagne bottles with the players' names on them.

Ian Poulter was the main man for Europe,
winning all four of his matches as he carried on his love affair with
the Ryder Cup and took his overall record to 12 wins and three defeats.

Thirsty work: Ian Poulter enjoys a drink as he celebrates with the Ryder Cup

Thirsty work: Ian Poulter enjoys a drink as he celebrates with the Ryder Cup

Poulter was pictured enjoying himself on Sunday night with a drink in one hand and the famous trophy in the other.

Lee Westwood paid tribute to Poulter as he joked: 'We have actually revised the qualification for next time. It's nine (qualifying) spots, two picks and Poults. It's the Poults clause.'

It was Martin Kaymer who sparked the celebrations when he won the decisive 14th point in the match with Steve Stricker. Kaymer kept his nerve to hole from six feet and secure the win one up.

All smiles: Martin Kaymer, who holed the decisive putt, with caddie Craig Connelly

All smiles: Martin Kaymer, who holed the decisive putt, with caddie Craig Connelly

The German was also keen to be pictured with the prize after playing his part in the success and Rose tweeted a snap of him with caddie Craig Connelly.

The day started in dramatic fashion with Rory McIlroy almost missing his tee time.

The world No 1 checked his time on a phone app that was set to Eastern rather than Central time, which is an hour different.

Champagne moment: (From left) Sergio Garcia, Luke Donald and Justin Rose start the party at Medinah

Champagne moment: (From left) Sergio Garcia, Luke Donald and Justin Rose start the party at Medinah

He made it to the course in the nick of time thanks to a police escort, arriving 10 minutes early to practise a few putts, find his shoes and eat an energy bar as a makeshift breakfast.

McIlroy never let the mix-up bother him and the Northern Irishman was a 2&1 winner over the in-form Keegan Bradley.

Perfect putt: Rose celebrates draining one from distance at the 17th

Perfect putt: Rose celebrates draining one from distance at the 17th

Donald had already won his game, Poulter has beaten Webb Simpson and with Rose dumping Lefty and Paul Lawrie proving too good for FedEx champion Brandt Snedeker, Europe, who had been 33-1 with some bookies earlier in the day, had wiped out the overnight deficit.

Westwood and Sergio Garcia also won before Kaymer's big moment and the pressure was off Francesco Molinari in his final match with Tiger Woods. The 14-time major champion conceded a short putt as Molinari earned a half.

Glory boys: Skipper Jose Maria Olazabal is surrounded by his winning European players

Glory boys: Skipper Jose Maria Olazabal is surrounded by his winning European players

Ryder Cup 2012: Sergio Garcia says Seve Ballesteros inspired Europe to victory

Seve took us to glory: Garcia believes legendary Spaniard guided Europe to unlikely victory

|

UPDATED:

00:32 GMT, 1 October 2012

Europe's triumphant players had Seve Ballesteros on their minds after their remarkable Ryder Cup victory in Medinah.

The team wore the colours so associated with Ballesteros – a navy jumper, trousers and white shirt – in Sunday's singles, with an iconic silhouette of the five-time major winner on their shirt sleeves.

The image recreates Ballesteros' most famous pose, a clenched-fist salute to the crowd after holing the winning putt in the 1984 Open Championship at St Andrews, an image the Spaniard used for his own company and had tattooed on his left arm.

Champagne moment: Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia celebrate after winning the Ryder Cup

Champagne moment: Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia celebrate after winning the Ryder Cup

Ballesteros, who captained Europe to victory in his native Spain in 1997 after playing in the biennial contest eight times, died in May last year after a long illness, but was always going to be a key figure during the captaincy of his cup partner Jose Maria Olazabal.

'I have no doubt in my mind that he was with me today all day, because there's no chance I would have won my match if he wasn't there,' said Sergio Garcia, who won the last two holes to claim a crucial win over Jim Furyk.

'It was amazing and it feels so good to be able to win it for him and for our captain, Jose; it's been amazing.'

Viva Espana: Garcia celebrates with the fans

Viva Espana: Garcia celebrates with the fans

Justin Rose had spoken fondly about Ballesteros earlier in the week, remembering how the five-time major winner had consoled him during the run of 21 consecutive missed cuts at the start of his professional career.

And after also winning the last two holes – both with birdies – to beat Phil Mickelson, the Englishman added: 'In the moment you've got to do what you've got to do, but as soon as I holed that putt (on the 18th), as soon as I came off the green, my first thought has been to Seve, absolutely.

Severiano Ballesteros

Ian Poulter

Inspired by Seve: Europe wore all blue clothes like those made famous by the Spaniard during his playing days

'I had a glance down and looked at my left sleeve and that's the kind of stuff he would have done today.'

Speaking before the remarkable comeback had been completed, Rose added: 'He's been an inspiration for this team all week long and who knows, if something crazy happens today, I know that we are going to be looking upwards.'

Ian Poulter was another European player to win the last two holes of his match, making it four wins out of four and an amazing 12 wins in his 15 Ryder Cup matches.

Sealed with a kiss: Captain Jose Maria Olazabal is presented with the Ryder Cup

Sealed with a kiss: Captain Jose Maria Olazabal is presented with the Ryder Cup

'This was a team performance and the team have done an unbelievable job,' said Poulter, one of Olazabal's two wild cards. 'There was a buzz in the team room last night that didn't feel like we had a four-point deficit.

'For some reason, everyone was calm. Everyone was cracking jokes. We just felt we had that tiny little chance and the boys have proved it today and made history. It has been unbelievable.

'My captain picked me to come and play and I owe it to him, and Seve, to be here today. It's pretty special.'

Ryder Cup 2012: Player ratings

How the players from both teams rated at the 39th Ryder Cup

|

UPDATED:

01:06 GMT, 1 October 2012

After a rollercoaster weekend which saw Europe come from behind to dramatically snatch victory from the United States to retain the Ryder Cup, Sportsmail looks at the individual performances of all 24 players.

Debut: Bradley impressed for the US

Debut: Bradley impressed for the US

USA

K BRADLEY (p4, w3, L1) 8/10
Almost out-Poultered Poulter at times with his electrifying intensity. Great debut.

J DUFNER (p 3, w2, l1) 7/10
Really solid, unflashy debut from really solid, unflashy player.

J FURYK (p3, w1, l2) 4/10
Terrible choke in the nerve-tingling singles that will haunt him for ever.

D JOHNSON (p3, w3) 8/10
The fourballs specialist did everything asked of him by his captain.

Z JOHNSON (p4, w3, l1) 8/10
Not for the first time, the American bulldog punched well above his weight.

M KUCHAR (p3, w2, L1) 7/10
Puzzling why he did not play in foursomes but certainly delivered in fourballs.

P MICKELSON (p4, w3, L1) 8/10
Finally, the real Phil turned up at a Ryder Cup. Take a bow, Keegan.

W SIMPSON (p 4, w2, l2) 8/10
This year’s US Open winner played like a major champion. Putted like a Ryder Cup natural.

B SNEDEKER (p3, w1, l2) 6/10
The FedEx Cup winner showed that he can play for pride as well as for $11.44million.

S STRICKER (p4, l4) 3/10
Torrid time all the way and his late defeat by Kaymer sealed America’s fate.

B WATSON (p4, w2, L2) 8/10
Created an unforgettable memory at this Ryder Cup with his first-tee theatrics.

T WOODS (p4, H1, l3) 3/10
Oh dear. Is the real Tiger somewhere in Florida, having a laugh

Shocker: Woods (left) was not at the races

Shocker: Woods (left) was not at the races

Masterclass: Donald (right) breezed to victory in his singles match

Masterclass: Donald (right) breezed to victory in his singles match

EUROPE

N COLSAERTS (p4, w1, l3) 6/10
Left an indelible mark with his sensational Friday fourballs performance.

L DONALD (p4, w2, l2) 7/10
Must have felt a lot better about his hometown Ryder Cup after his singles win.

S GARCIA (p4, w2, l2) 7/10
Looked the effervescent performer of old with a vital singles win.

P HANSON (p2, L2) 3/10
Sadly, the Swede was one of the few players who struggled throughout the weekend.

M KAYMER (p2, W1, L1) 6/10
Singles performance should give him encouragement going forward.

P LAWRIE (p3, W1, l2) 6/10
Brilliant singles performance. Played better all week than scores suggested.

G McDOWELL (p4, w1, l3) 5/10
A pale shadow of the vibrant, match-clinching figure at Celtic Manor two years ago.

R McILROY (p5, w3, l2) 8/10
Came through at the end like a true world No 1.

F MOLINARI (p3, H1, l2) 5/10 Gutsy display in the final singles match when the pressure was on against Tiger Woods.

I POULTER (p4, w4) 10/10
There can now be no question he is a Ryder Cup legend.

Top notch: Poulter (right) was outstanding

Top notch: Poulter (right) was outstanding

J ROSE (p5, w3, l2) 8/10
Fabulous singles display put the gloss on an excellent week’s work.

L WESTWOOD (p4, w2, l2) 6/10
A gutsy performance in the singles after being relatively anonymous for two days.