Tag Archives: putts

MASTERS 2012: Caroline Wozniacki caddying for Rory McIlroy at the Par-3 Contest

Wozniacki caddying for Rory, kids putting… it can only be The Masters' Par-3 Contest! (But don't go and win it… you'll be cursed)

Padraig Harrington, Jonathan , carries his son Ciaran down the first fairway last year

Can you guess what his name is Davis Love III putts watched by his son Davis Love IV in 1999

Can you guess what his name is Davis Love III putts watched by his son Davis Love IV in 1999

Aaron Baddeley with his daughter Jolee last year

Open wide: Australian Aaron Baddeley with his daughter Jolee last year

Happy family: Louis Oosthuizen and his wife Nel-Mare and daughter Jana pose for a photo two years ago

Happy family: Louis Oosthuizen and his wife Nel-Mare and daughter Jana pose for a photo two years ago

Rory McIlroy solid start in Texas Open 2013

He's not out of the woods yet! McIlroy fails to hit top form but posts solid start in Texas in his final preparation ahead of The Masters

, including a
second major at the US PGA Championship.

Lost ball: Rory McIlroy, looking in the woods for a wayward shot, has had just one top-10 finish in 2013

Lost ball: Rory McIlroy, looking in the woods for a wayward shot, has had just one top-10 finish in 2013

Back in form McIlroy hits his second shot on the 14th in the first round of the Valero Texas Open today

Back in form McIlroy hits his second shot on the 14th in the first round of the Valero Texas Open today

But with caddie JP Fitzgerald advising him that he needed more competitive rounds under his belt, McIlroy travelled to San Antonio and carded an opening level-par 72 to lie five shots behind Matt Bettencourt, who carded a 67 to overtake long-time clubhouse leaders Padraig Harrington and Billy Horschel.

Starting from the 10th on the difficult Oaks Course – the fourth most difficult on the PGA Tour last year – McIlroy opened with four pars before picking up a birdie on the par-five 14th and another on the short par-four 17th.

However, a bogey on the 18th after finding the water was the first of three in succession which dropped him back to one over par, not what the world No 2 was looking for after speaking of the need to cut out 'silly mistakes' in his rounds.

The 23-year-old stopped the rot with pars at the third and fourth and then birdied the next two holes after pitching to five feet each time, but carded his fourth bogey of the day on the ninth.

Comeback: McIlroy, chipping onto the 18th green, took part in the Texas Open in a bid to reverse his poor form

Comeback: McIlroy, chipping onto the 18th green, took part in the Texas Open in a bid to reverse his poor form

THE FULL LEADERBOARD

The PGA Tour is back in San Antonio this week for the Texas Open, where Rory McIlroy will be hoping to fine-tune his game ahead of the Masters.

Ben Curtis took the title last year and you can keep track of all the latest scores right here.

Three-time major winner Harrington had
also bogeyed his final hole, the 18th; the only blemish on his card
caused by three putts from 35ft.

The 41-year-old won the Open Championship in 2007, successfully defended
it the following year and then won the US PGA Championship a few weeks
later, but has not tasted victory on one of the major tours since – his
last win came on the Asian Tour in 2010.

Harrington admitted he had enjoyed his fair share of good luck in cold
and blustery conditions, with his only bogey caused by three-putting the
18th.

'It was cold and that really does affect the ball,' the Dubliner told
reporters. 'I didn't have a great ball-striking round but my misses were
either in the right places or I got slightly fortunate and then got up
and down.

'I'm not walking away from this round thinking “wow, I hit a number of
pure golf shots”, or anything like that. It was more mental fortitude
than ball striking.

Right alongside: McIlroy's playing partner, 19-year-old Jordan Spieth, went round in one under par

Right alongside: McIlroy's playing partner, 19-year-old Jordan Spieth, went round in one under par

'This morning, early on, it was a battle of survival. Last week back in
Ireland it was snowing and I didn't feel this cold. There was a feeling
of “let's just hang in there and stay in the tournament”. Sometimes that
lets you play a little bit more within yourself.'

Anyone winning this week will have to defy the odds if they want to also claim a Green Jacket at the Masters, however.

Only two players have won the week prior to the Masters and then gone on
to win in Augusta; Sandy Lyle in the Greater Greensboro Open in 1988
and Phil Mickelson in the BellSouth Classic in 2006.

Getting to grips: McIlroy, teeing off at the second hole today, needed to get used to his new Nike equipment

Getting to grips: McIlroy, teeing off at the second hole today, needed to get used to his new Nike equipment

Kaymer on his magic moment: "That Ryder Cup putt? My whole career rested on it"

Kaymer on his magic moment: 'That Ryder Cup putt My whole career rested on it'

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UPDATED:

22:54 GMT, 20 December 2012

In the days following the holing of the five-foot putt of a lifetime and the jubilation expressed by his Ryder Cup team-mates and Europe’s disbelieving supporters, Martin Kaymer described it as one of those putts where you feel the hero if you make it and an idiot if you do not.

But, as the days have turned to weeks and the full impact of what he achieved during Europe’s 14-13 victory has sunk in, the thoughtful German has come to look upon that short putt that realised the Miracle at Medinah in even more stark terms.

‘Now I honestly feel like my whole career might have been on the line,’ he said.

Zero to hero: Martin Kaymer salvaged a poor year with the winning putt at Medinah

Zero to hero: Martin Kaymer salvaged a poor year with the winning putt at Medinah

‘I sometimes think about what would have happened if I had missed it. Would I have had the mental strength to recover from thinking I had let down a whole continent

‘I had a similar putt to win my first major, the US PGA Championship in 2010, but the feeling was completely different.

‘If I had missed that one it would have been my own fault and I would have moved on to the next major.

‘But letting down so many people That doesn’t bear thinking about.’

The other side of the coin, of course, is the confidence that has flowed from making it.

‘Up to that point it hadn’t been a good year for me, I would have given it about a three or four at best out of 10,’ he said. ‘Then, all of a sudden, you feel a lot happier about matters. On paper you’d probably still only give the year a three or four but mentally it had suddenly gone up a few marks.’

No pressure then: Kaymer watches his putt find its way toward the hole on the 18th

No pressure then: Kaymer watches his putt find its way toward the hole on the 18th… before sparking wild celebrations (below)

Celebration time: Europe claimed a remarkable victory

That much was obvious in his final event in South Africa, where it looked like the Kaymer of a couple of years back as he held off the local favourite, Charl Schwartzel, to win his first tournament of the year.

Now he’s enjoying some downtime and the celebrity twirl that follows on from being the man who completed the comeback.

There was an appearance on one of the biggest television shows in Germany, for example. It is called I Bet That I Can, in which members of the general public bet they can do certain unlikely things and Hollywood and sporting stars have to decide whether they can or not.

Nothing put in front of Kaymer by Joe Public could have been as unlikely as the idea that he would end up on Sunday at Medinah as the man feted by all and sundry.

Who would possibly have bet on that on Saturday, when Kaymer sat out both sessions and, on the advice of assistant captain Darren Clarke, sought out his hero, Bernhard Langer, for some serious counselling.

‘I hadn’t played well on Friday and was desperate to show what I could do on Saturday, so you can imagine how I felt when I was told I wasn’t playing,’ he said.

‘Bernhard was a huge help. He reminded me in no uncertain terms what team play is all about.’

Trophy life: Graeme McDowell, Kaymer and Justin Rose enjoy one of the more remarkable comebacks in Ryder Cup history

Trophy life: Graeme McDowell, Kaymer and Justin Rose enjoy one of the more remarkable comebacks in Ryder Cup history

As Sunday afternoon unfolded dramatically, it began to dawn on Kaymer that he might end up in the spot occupied by Graeme McDowell last time. From the forgotten man the previous day, he had become the one all his team-mates were relying on.

‘I think for the last 90 minutes I knew that it would probably come down to my match,’ he recalled.

‘On the 14th I was looking at the board and I was all square, Francesco (Molinari) in the last match against Tiger Woods was all square and I was counting the points we had got.

‘I could see that something huge was potentially unfolding. One, two, three, four points, on I went but I knew we needed at least a point from me, or two half-points from Francesco and me.

‘The last three holes were great, the excitement was beautiful. On the 17th I had a four-footer that I had to hole and, when that went in, it gave me a lot of belief.’

It is entirely typical of Kaymer that he admits feeling uncomfortable at the amount of praise that has flowed his way.

‘I was a little surprised afterwards at how many people came up and congratulated me,’ he said.

Trump card: Ian Poulter gave Europe a glimpse on Saturday afternoon as five birdies ensured a point in the fourballs to make it 10-6

Trump card: Ian Poulter gave Europe a glimpse on Saturday afternoon as five birdies ensured a point in the fourballs to make it 10-6

‘Obviously I made the last putt but at the end of the day I got only one point and I played in only two matches. There were other guys, they inspired the team a lot more than me. I mean, what Ian Poulter did on Saturday afternoon is very difficult to put into words. He deserves a lot more credit than anyone else.'

So to the 18th hole and that cauldron of noise. Kaymer must still be able to hear the cries of ‘Miss it! Miss it!’ even now.

‘I
could hear people trying to put me off but it wasn’t distracting me,’
he said. ‘You are so much in the moment. I thought of what Jose Maria
(Olazabal) had told me in very straightforward, very strict sentences.
This is why I want you on the team. We need your win, so please
deliver.’

And deliver he did, with two perfect blows to strike fear into the heart of his opponent, Steve Stricker.

Then, after the putt Kaymer couldn’t believe travelled fully five feet past the hole, came the one that will define him.

In the weeks that have followed,
Kaymer has watched it countless times. ‘I’m a great believer in watching
things that make you happy,’ he said.

‘It was a great party on the green there, wasn’t it’

Charl Schwartzel fires moves into joint lead of Alfred Dunhill

Schwartzel fires brilliant 64 to move into joint lead of Alfred Dunhill

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UPDATED:

17:35 GMT, 14 December 2012

South African Charl Schwartzel could claim to be the consistent player in golf right now.

The 28-year-old shares the halfway lead with France's Gregory Bourdy after a sparkling second round 64 in the Alfred Dunhill Championship on home soil at Leopard Creek.

After finishes of fifth, third and second in the past month Schwartzel won the Thailand Championship by 11 shots last Sunday against a field that included Bubba Watson, his successor as Masters champion this April, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia.

Charl Schwartzel

Scott Jamieson

Looking good: Charl Schwartzel (left) is in the joint lead, while Scott Jamieson (right) is also in the hunt

He was 25 under par there and is now already 13 under on a course where his record includes one win and four second places.

'It was there for the taking and luckily enough I took advantage early on,' Schwartzel said after grabbing an eagle and six birdies and keeping a bogey off his card for the second day running.

'I could have made a few more, but we can't get too greedy. All in all a very good round and I've put myself in a very good position.'

Schwartzel is 73 under for his last 4 1/2 tournaments and even after adding a 65 to his pacesetting opening 66 Bourdy did not under-estimate the size of the task facing him over the weekend.

'Charl is a great player, one of the best in the world,' the 30-year-old world No 184 said. 'You have to do the job over four rounds and that is difficult. But I'm feeling great and I've played two good rounds.'

In the swing: Robert Rock plays out of a bunker on the 13th hole

In the swing: Robert Rock plays out of a bunker on the 13th hole

After being overtaken when Schwartzel played his first 11 holes in seven under, making his eagle at the 541-yard 18th, three-time European Tour winner Bourdy pitched in for an eagle two on the sixth and converted curling 25-foot birdie putts at the fifth and eighth.

Darren Fichardt's 68 left him in third place four strokes adrift of the leading pair, with fellow South African Louis De Jager and England's Steve Webster one further back.

Webster lost a play-off for the rain-shortened Nelson Mandela Championship in Durban last weekend and the player who beat him there, Scotland's Scott Jamieson, is also going well again at six under.

Louis Oosthuizen climbed from one over to five under, but the 2010 Open champion went in the lake at the last for a bogey six and 67.

One of the sub-plots of the week is George Coetzee's bid to stay in the world's top 50 and so earn a US Masters debut next April.

Coetzee will resume three under, but Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal, one of the players who could have denied him, crashed out on 10 over after an 80.

Tiger Woods hopes long putters are banned

Long putters should be banned, says Woods as golf awaits outcome of ruling bodies

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UPDATED:

10:20 GMT, 28 November 2012

Tiger Woods was hoping to hear on Wednesday that the way long putters are anchored to the body is going to be outlawed.

An announcement is expected at a teleconference being held by the Royal and Ancient Club and United States Golf Association, golf's two ruling bodies.

It is widely thought that from 2016 there will be no fixing of putters to a pivot point, whether it is the belly, chin or chest.

Keegan Bradley

Webb Simpson

Putt: Bradley and Simpson are among the last five major winners

Three of the sport's last five major winners – Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els – have used long putters in such a way.

Woods, in California this week for his final event of 2012, said: 'I was just asked my own opinion and that was it.

'I don't know if it carried any weight or not, but I just believe that the art of putting is swinging the club and controlling nerves.

'Having it as a fixed point, as I was saying all year, is something that's not in the traditions of the game.

No tradition: Woods wants long putters outlawed from the game

No tradition: Woods wants long putters outlawed from the game

Phil Duncan F1 blog

'We swing all 13 other clubs. I think the putter should be the same. It should be a swinging motion throughout the entire bag.

'I don't know if there's any statistical data on it, but I'm sure there is somewhere about whether or not anchoring the putter does help on a certain range of putts, especially the guys who have gotten the twitches a little bit.

'One of the things that I was concerned about going forward is the kids who get started in the game and starting to putt with an anchoring system.

'There have been some guys who have had success out here and obviously everyone always copies what we do. That's something that I think for the greater good of the game needs to be adjusted.'

Woods, the defending champion in the World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club, also said he was ruling out European Tour membership next season.

The possibility was there for him to meet the criteria after it was decided to include the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup in the 13-event minimum, but

Woods stated: 'I certainly understand the ruling and that's nice, but no.

'It's a bit much for me still. Certainly I've had opportunities over the years – I was very close a couple of times and could have taken membership up and played it.

'I enjoy playing around the world and I still always will, but I am going to play this (PGA) Tour.'

If there had been no minimum requirement Woods would have been the European circuit's leading money-winner six times between 1999 and 2007, but he added: 'It wasn't important to me.

'It just wasn't important to me. My main concern was winning major championships – I've won 14 of them and I'm very proud of that.'

Luke Donald aiming for 499 puts out of 500

In short, Donald is supreme: Golfer closes in on almost-perfect putting milestone

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 22 November 2012

Last year, Luke Donald went 449 holes without a three-putt. This year’s amazing illustration of the Englishman’s prowess on the greens isn’t bad either.

Sometime on Friday, if all goes to plan at the Dubai World Championship, Donald will complete 500 putts inside 3ft, with 499 of them successfully holed.

Think about that for a second. All those putts of smelly length on devilishly fast greens with the flags usually located in mischievous spots. And he has missed just one

How about that Luke Donald is close to an astonishing 499 out of 500 holes putted within 3ft

How about that Luke Donald is close to an astonishing 499 out of 500 holes putted within 3ft

DP WORLD TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP

Click here for the full leaderboard

‘One of the things that both those stats
show is how hard I’ve worked on my lag (long) putting, and making sure I
don’t leave myself too many difficult second putts,’ he said.

It is not only from short distance
that Donald is so good, of course. Give him greens as pure as these at
the Earth course and he will invariably hole more than his fair share
from any distance.

Out in front: Donald is the leader after round one of the DP World Tour Championship

Out in front: Donald is the leader after round one of the DP World Tour Championship

That was certainly the case on Thursday
as he followed up the three 66s with which he finished last year’s
event with a 65 to take the first-round lead.

This time last year Donald was fending
off Rory McIlroy to clinch the Race to Dubai.

That title has already
been sewn up this time by the latter, of course, but given the form of
the world’s top two there must be a chance of a thrilling duel on Sunday
for the other trophy on offer here, after McIlroy opened with a fairly
effortless 66 to be tied second with Scot Marc Warren and Spaniard
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.

Strolling: Donald (right) Francesco Molinari of Italy walk to the 17th green

Strolling: Donald (right) Francesco Molinari of Italy walk to the 17th green

As for the rest of the Ryder Cuppers,
Lee Westwood shot a useful 67 with Justin Rose and Nicolas Colsaerts a
further stroke behind. Ian Poulter, however, could only manage a 72.
His reponse: ‘Completely disgusted with myself, I’ve finally hit the
wall and jetlag has hit me for six.’

Finally, as for the answer to the day’s big question… Donald’s miss came on the 12th hole during The Open at Lytham.

Rory McIlroy misses Hong Kong Open cut

Rory misses Hong Kong Open cut after taking FOUR putts on the last hole

UPDATED:

10:37 GMT, 16 November 2012

World No 1 Rory McIlroy crashed out of the UBS Hong Kong Open after four-putting his final green at Fanling on Friday.

While New Zealander Michael Campbell continued his recovery from the depths of despair with a 64 to set the halfway pace, the tournament's defending champion suffered his first early exit since the US Open in June.

McIlroy had four birdies in his first 11 holes to climb to one under par in the tricky wind. But then came four bogeys in the next five and, with his survival in the balance, a closing double bogey six at the 367-yard 10th for a 72 and five over total.

Agony: McIlroy missed the halfway cut after four-putting his final green

Agony: McIlroy missed the halfway cut after four-putting his final green

'I just got on a slide and couldn't stop it,' said McIlroy, who was on such a high last Sunday after clinching a European and US Tour money list double.

'Obviously not the week that I wanted. I was only four off the lead and thinking I could make a couple more and be right back in contention. Unfortunately it just went the other way.

'I still love this course. It's just a pity that this year had to end like that.

In support: Wozniacki watches on as McIlroy misses the cut for the first time since the US Open in June

In support: Wozniacki watches on as McIlroy misses the cut for the first time since the US Open in June

'I didn't putt well in Singapore last week and sort of got away with it (he came third). This week was the same, so I think a bit of putting practice is required in Dubai.'

He plays the European Tour's season's ending DP World Tour Championship there starting next Thursday.

'I think if I was completely fresh I wouldn't have been making the mistakes. Just one of those things – hit it in the wrong spot and misjudged the speed on a couple of putts. That's just the way it goes.

Out of sorts: The world No 1 says he'll practice his putting in Dubai

Out of sorts: The world No 1 says he'll practice his putting in Dubai

'On the last I saw the projected cut was plus two, so I wanted to try to hole it (for birdie). I hit it a few feet by, then really knew the second putt was to make the cut.'

After missing that one he admitted he lacked concentration on the next and failed again.

'I feel like I'm hitting the ball pretty good still and I think these couple of days off might actually do me good,' he said. 'It'll give me a chance to rest.'

Campbell has climbed from 910th in the world four months ago to 339th – he was once 12th – and the 64 was his lowest Tour round for six years.

Leading the way: Campbell had slipped to 910th in the world rankings

Leading the way: Campbell had slipped to 910th in the world rankings

The former US Open champion went to the turn in 30, made it four birdies in a row on the 10th and added another from 10 feet at the last to reach nine under.

That put him one ahead of twice winner Miguel Angel Jimenez and China's Zhang Lian-wei – aged 48 and 47 respectively – and also Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed.

Padraig Harrington was another to miss the cut, but he drew applause on the last by skipping his second shot from the trees across the lake and back onto grass, from where he saved par. The Dubliner still had to sign for a 75 and six over aggregate, however.

Welshman Rhys Davies, 119th on the money list and needing to stay there this week to keep his card, was one over par with five to play. The cut was predicted to fall at two over.

Ryder Cup 2012: How the battle unfolded

Medinah Mayhem! How three days of unbelievable drama unfolded at Ryder Cup

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UPDATED:

23:52 GMT, 30 September 2012

ALL SQUARE

Session 1: Foursomes

Match of the session: McIlroy/ McDowell beat Furyk/Snedeker one up. All square after the 17th, Snedeker drives into the trees while McIlroy holds his nerve.

Shot of the session: McIlory holes from five yards off the fourth green with a gloriously judged chip that sparks four birdies in a row.

Holding his nerve: Rory McIlroy stood firm on day one

Holding his nerve: Rory McIlroy stood firm on day one

Pivotal moment: Jason Dufner putts for a birdie from 12 feet on the ninth that teeters on the edge of the hole before dropping, pulling the US level in his match.

Quote: 'I felt young and it felt great, I love playing with Keegan – I said to him a couple of times that I needed a pep talk and he'd tell me something to get me boosted right up.' – Phil Mickelson on Keegan Bradley.

Stat: Despite conceding five bogeys to three, and having four birdies each, Europe's Northern Ireland duo edge across the finish line.

USA: 2
EUROPE: 2

OMINOUS SIGNS

Session 2: Fourballs

Match of the session: Nicolas Colsaerts on his debut totally carries Lee Westwood and fends off the back nine improvement from Tiger Woods to clinch a one up victory.

Shot of the session: Mickelson drives into the trees then hits the shot of the day, threading the ball 200 yards around the 12th green's guardian tree to 10 feet.

Pivotal moment: Bubba Watson playing his drive off the first tee to hollering and clapping, which spooks the Europeans and sets the tone for the afternoon.

Debutant: Nicolas Colsaerts (left) carried Lee Westwood in the fourballs

Debutant: Nicolas Colsaerts (left) carried Lee Westwood in the fourballs

Quote: 'It was incredible, a pleasure to watch and I had the best seat in the house for the whole thing.

'It was one of those amazing days and he'll look back on it and smile.' – Westwood on Colsaerts.

Stat: Colsaerts hits eight birdies and an eagle, while Europe's other seven players in the session manage only 16 birdies between them.

USA: 5
EUROPE: 3

US TAKES CONTROL

Session 3: Foursomes

Match of the session: Justin Rose and the impressively rock steady Ian Poulter draw ahead on the back nine and hold on under intense pressure to win on the 18th.

Shot of the session: Mickelson stiffs it to within a foot of the pin from out of the semi-rough around 60 yards out on the first, giving momentum to the last three pairs.

Pivotal moment: Webb Simpson misses a simple four-foot putt on the 10th that puts Europe one up, a lead they never relinquish to prevent a whitewash.

Hold on: Ian Poulter and Justin Rose won in the foursomes

Hold on: Ian Poulter and Justin Rose won in the foursomes

Quote: 'I'm putting so much emotion into my rounds it's probably good I'm rested up for tomorrow's singles.' – Bradley, with a 3-0 record, having played only 44 holes.

Stat: Outside the Rose/Poulter match, in the three other games the Americans strike 12 birdies to Europe's six.

Sixteen pars and no bogeys for McIlroy/McDowell tells of missed chances.

USA 8
EUROPE 4

EUROPE HANG ON

Session 4: Fourballs

Match of the session: McIlroy/Poulter v Dufner/Johnson is the outstanding fourball of the event, culminating in the Europeans edging ahead on the 17th and clinging on to their lead.

Shot of the session: Poulter caps a memorable display by birdieing the last five holes, the best of which being a 12-foot putt on the 18th.

American fans on the final green wait to salute a half but Poulter's stunning birdie matches that already sunk by Dufner.

Come here: Poulter and McIlroy celebrated beating Dufner/Johnson

Come here: Poulter and McIlroy celebrated beating Dufner/Johnson

Pivotal moment: On the picturesque 17th green, Colsaerts lips out, allowing Dustin Johnson to sink a 15-footer to put the Americans one up.

A hole later they have the symbolic 10 points.

Quote: 'It comes from within. If we can do anything to get this trophy from this position, and Seve is looking down on us, then you've got to do what you've got to do.' – Poulter on his source of inspiration.

Stat: Since 1979, one team have reached 10 points or more from the first two days six times and only once – the Europeans at Brookline in 1999 – have that team gone on to lose on the final day.

USA: 10 EUROPE: 6

THE COUP de GRACE

Session 5: Singles

Match of the session: Superb quality from Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson, who in the original nip-and-tuck game win 10 holes between them with birdies against just two bogeys.

Nerves of steel: Martin Kaymer held firm and putted on the 18th to ensure Europe retained the Ryder Cup

Nerves of steel: Martin Kaymer held firm and putted on the 18th to ensure Europe retained the Ryder Cup

Shot of the session: Rose's winding downhill 30-foot putt on the 17th gives him the birdie which puts him level with Mickelson and allows him to pounce for victory on the 18th.

Pivotal moment: Jim Furyk's missed eight foot putt at the last gives Europe a 13-12 lead, the first time they have been ahead.

Quote: 'An unbelievable week. Seve has been trying hard for us.' – Europe's hero, Ian Poulter

Stat: The four players to whom it all came down at the end were 0-9 for the weekend going into yesterday. Fortunately for Europe, Kaymer came good.

FINAL SCORE:
USA: 13
EUROPE: 14

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.

Ernie Els: They said the South African had lost it – Derek Lawrenson

They said Els had lost it… they're not saying that any more after his triumph at Lytham

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UPDATED:

23:14 GMT, 23 July 2012

The sweetest moment of Ernie Els's career There's nothing to compare to holing that 12-foot birdie putt on Royal Lytham's final green on Sunday when nothing else would do.

Not for the man who missed six putts in a row from less than that distance on the final six holes of the 2004 Open to lose out to Todd Hamilton.

Not for someone who was a standing joke in the eyes of former Ryder Cup player David Feherty as recently as March.

Open winner: Els celebrates his last-gasp success at Royal Lytham on Sunday

Open winner: Els celebrates his last-gasp success at Royal Lytham on Sunday

Cast your mind back to the Transitions Championship in Florida, won by Luke Donald but thrown away by Els as he missed three short putts on the final three greens.

'Did you have the confidence standing over those putts' asked television commentator Steve Sands, a question loaded with a sub-plot if ever there was. Did you choke The next day, in an exhibition event called the Tavistock Cup, Feherty ramped up the cruelty.

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'Here's Ernie, who has just had a frontal lobotomy and will be putting today with a live rattlesnake,' he told the crowd.

Believe it or not, some people found that funny. Watching anyone struggle on the greens is no joke, but watching someone with Els's gifts was excruciating. How could a sport give so much to someone from tee to green and then take it away once he got there

Missing those putts in Florida cost Els his spot at the Masters, the event he always seemed destined to win. That's it, we thought, the tipping point. Aged 42, next stop – oblivion. Time to blend into the background and admire fellow South Africans who grew up wanting to swing the club and win majors like he did and pulled it off. Men like Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen.

Yet Ernie did not accept the rationale. He did not do like Feherty did when the going got tough. He did not quit. The following week he finished fourth at the Arnold Palmer

Invitational. A month later, a runner's-up spot in New Orleans got him into the US Open where he finished tied ninth.

'It is a crazy game,' he said recently in an interview with The Scotsman. 'When you are a kid you grow up wanting to be, say, Ernie Els. Then, when you're Ernie you try to play like you did when you were a kid.'

Pain to gain: Els suffers with his putter in Florida earlier this year

Pain to gain: Els suffers with his putter in Florida earlier this year

On one of the hardest back nines in golf on Sunday, Ernie, after all those lost years of toil, finally found his inner kid. Suddenly the putts started to drop.

Providence, having taken so many majors from him – he has been runner-up six times – handed one back at last. It still came down to a 12-foot putt, though.

Watching anyone struggle on the greens is no joke

Ultimately, Adam Scott's collapse would have meant nothing if Els had not helped himself. From a perfect camera angle, you could see him swing the putter straight and true and the ball never looked like going anywhere else but the bottom of the hole. Take that, Feherty.

Asked to assess his career before the momentous events of last week, Els said he thought he should have won five or six majors to rank alongside Seve Ballesteros or Sir Nick Faldo.

That sounds about right to me and, by ending the long drought and winning his fourth, there is every hope he might now get there, following a victory on Sunday that was celebrated everywhere outside Australia.

When it was over, Els jumped on a plane to Canada and a corporate bash. The Claret Jug has just completed an exhaustive journey around the world in the hands of a popular protagonist and you can be sure Els will enjoy it every bit as much as Darren Clarke. And where will it all end in 2013 Muirfield, the scene of his previous Open triumph in 2002. Sweet, indeed.

It's only a game

Someone clearly forgot to tell Adam Scott that these days every tear in defeat adds up to a waterfall of popular acclaim. Thank goodness for that. The 18th green at Royal Lytham made for a wonderful scene on Sunday. After a gripping finale, the victor shook hands with the loser, one man made a speech fit for a statesman while the other held his head high. Let's be grateful to Scott for the reminder that sport still works best when people remember it is only a game.

Second best: Scott missed out on Open glory after blowing a healthy lead

Second best: Scott missed out on Open glory after blowing a healthy lead in the closing stages

Royal Lytham is No 1

They say you can tell the quality of a course by the calibre of its champions and Ernie Els's victory means the only people who have won The Open at Lytham in the modern era remain golfers who have spent time during their careers as world No 1.

That is a heck of a testament to this fabled links given the efforts Mother Nature made to disguise its natural character on this occasion. Els's final-round 68 was his 39th in the sixties during his Open career. That's two more than Sir Nick Faldo managed, followed by Jack Nicklaus (33), Tom Watson (29) and Greg Norman (26). That's not a bad list to lead, is it

The streak goes on: Els became the 16th different winner from as many majors

The streak goes on: Els became the 16th different winner from as many majors

Sweet Sixteen

And so the streak goes on. That makes it 16 winners of the last 16 major championships. We have had six Americans, three South Africans, three Northern Irishmen, and one representative each from Argentina, Korea, Germany and Ireland. Still no Englishman, though.

When you think the list does not include Tiger Woods and five other Americans ranked in the world's top 14, Adam Scott plus a certain three Englishmen ranked in the world's top 10, we might be here a while yet. Incidentally, Woods's top-five finish means he has broken the UK's stranglehold of the top three ranking positions, with only Luke Donald now ahead of him.

Quote of the Week

'I can't deny the belly putter has been great for me, but I certainly won't be complaining if the authorities ban it. It isn't the way golf is supposed to be played and if they ban it that will be fine with me.'

Could the case for getting rid of these wretched things be expressed more eloquently considering these comments were made by Ernie Els, the man who just ended the week as the new Open champion

Perhaps someone could put them in front of the rules committee of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, who are reviewing their controversial use, with a statement expected by the autumn.