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Martin Kaymer: Ryder Cup putt was the ultimate thrill

Kaymer: THAT putt was the ultimate thrill… but I could have been the biggest idiot!

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UPDATED:

16:09 GMT, 3 October 2012

Martin Kaymer has arrived in Scotland a Ryder Cup hero – and fully aware of how close he was to being 'the biggest idiot'.

The 27-year-old, who now tries to follow European success with Dunhill Links Championship victory just as he did two years ago, said of his crucial last hole at Medinah: 'It was such a fine line and fortunately it went the right way.

Kaymer also gave a possible explanation for sending his 25-foot first putt on the final green against Steve Stricker six feet past.

Plenty to smile about: Martin Kaymer chats next to the Ryder Cup at the Old Course in St Andrews

Plenty to smile about: Martin Kaymer chats next to the Ryder Cup at the Old Course in St Andrews

It was the moment when the magnificent comeback by Jose Maria Olazabal's side looked as if it might suffer a shocking late twist, but the German held his nerve to make the par needed for Europe to retain the trophy.

Kaymer told caddie Craig Connolly before his birdie attempt: 'I want to make that putt – I want the ultimate thrill.

'I think that was a good attitude at that stage. You don't want to just hit close to the hole and then knock it in.

'Even though it was more difficult in the end, it was an even better feeling.

'Of course it was a lot of pressure, but I see it more like a gift what happened.

'It's very, very rare that you are in a position as a golf player to make such an important putt.

Medinah miracle: Kaymer holes the putt that won the Ryder Cup and celebrates (below)

Medinah miracle: Kaymer holes the putt that won the Ryder Cup and celebrates (below)

Medinah miracle: Kaymer holes the putt that won the Ryder Cup and celebrates (below)

'There will never, ever, be a more important putt in my life. Even if I have a chance in two years' time again I've done it before already.

'I'm just very thankful that I got the possibility to go through those moments and to experience all of the things that I did.

'It's very difficult to describe. You're just so much in that moment. Fortunately it worked out.'

Kaymer hugged his brother afterwards and had one big concern – how had he looked on television after sinking the cup-winning putt.

'You can see my emotions. It was on a completely different level to the PGA (his major victory in 2010). I asked my brother “Did I look ridiculous” because I was in a complete new zone.

'I have never seen myself like this. I have never reacted like this.

'He said “No, you're fine and even if you looked ridiculous it's a good thing because it comes natural. It's how you felt, it's a true feeling, it doesn't matter”.

Back to the day job: Kaymer hits a shot on the range ahead of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Back to the day job: Kaymer hits a shot on the range ahead of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

'I've watched it a few times on tv and YouTube and stuff. Yeah, it didn't look that bad!'

What was bad in Kaymer's view was the German television commentary of their most dramatic golfing moment since Bernhard Langer missed the six-foot putt that decided the 1991 match at Kiawah Island.

'I'm very thankful where I'm from and very happy that I got so much support in Germany, but I was very disappointed the way the commentators were talking about it when I watched the last two or three holes on the German tv channel.

'There was no excitement. On the 18th green it was like 'it drops in, it's very nice, great celebration'. They are just so flat.

'For me it is very difficult to understand. There is something so big happening and some don't get it. That is very sad.'

Home of golf: Kaymer is in action this week at the Alfred Dunhill Links alongside Bill Murray and Michael Phelps

Home of golf: Kaymer is in action this week alongside the likes of Bill Murray and Michael Phelps

Paul Lawrie and Peter Hanson are the other members of the side competing this week, plus American Dustin Johnson.

All four vice-captains Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn and Miguel Angel Jimenez are playing as well.

'We were such a team on Sunday,' Kaymer added. 'To be part of such an historical day is very, very special and in that little circle – the players and the captains – I hope that we can keep it like this and don't talk about it that much. It's our thing. That is very special for us.'

Most of the big names start at Carnoustie, then switch to Kingsbarns on Friday before playing St Andrews on Saturday and also Sunday assuming they survive the cut.

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

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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

Martin Samuel: Ryder Cup 2012: It might get even harder, but it can"t get any better than this

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

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UPDATED:

00:26 GMT, 1 October 2012

In the end, it came down to four losers. One imagines, at times like this, that in a room on some celestial plane somewhere, there is a scriptwriter convulsed with laughter.

The 39th Ryder Cup, three days of sweat and tears, if not blood, tied at 13-13, would be decided by a shoot-out between four players who had not won a single point between them all week.

Steve Stricker versus Martin Kaymer, Tiger Woods versus Francesco Molinari. Spot the odd man out. Yet Woods in a match-play format is like a replicant.

It won't get better: Europe's Ryder Cup team snatched victory on the final day at Medinah

It won't get better: Europe's Ryder Cup team snatched victory on the final day at Medinah

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Some said Davis Love sent him out as the guaranteed anchor man; others because, with the United States leading 10-6 going into the final day, what harm could he do in 12th position Plenty, as it transpired.

Woods, ticked off, led for one hole at the 13th and Molinari buckled slightly on the 17th, but the singular failure to master a player so completely in his shadow, put incredible pressure on those ahead. Stricker missed a vital putt on 17 to put Kaymer in the box seat.

His putt on the 18th was pitiful; a 24-handicapper would have been disappointed with the read. Kaymer, a former world No 1 and PGA champion, claimed the Ryder Cup for Europe.

Poor Stricker. The captain's pick, he ended the competition without a point, having formed a consistently losing partnership with Woods.

Then again, had Woods been safely back in the hutch, where he should have been, Stricker would not have been landed with such a burden.

Has 2012 been the best year for sport in Great Britain After this, there can surely be no doubt. The Olympics and Paralympics, the title decided with the last kick of the domestic football season, Chelsea the Champions of Europe, Bradley Wiggins the first Briton to win the Tour de France, Andy Murray the first tennis Grand Slam winner in 76 years.

And now this: Europe's Brookline, but without the boorish conclusion. How did they do it

Stand-out: Ian Poulter was in exceptional form all week

Stand-out: Ian Poulter was in exceptional form all week

Stand-out: Ian Poulter was in exceptional form all week

Stand-out: Ian Poulter was in exceptional form all week

RYDER CUP 2012

Read Derek Lawrenson's report from the final day at Medinah here

How did they beat an American team that had at last seemed to have mastered the concept of Ryder Cup unity Make no mistake: this is America's harshest defeat.

Worse than the annihilation at Oakland Hills; worse than any of the modern era Ryder Cups decided in Europe's favour. They thought they had it won.

We all did. They thought they were a good team. So did we. The reversal of fortune was quite stunning.

Just before 11am central time, Bubba Watson came bounding over the elevated walkway to the first tee. Not walking, as golfers commonly do. Bouncing.

There was no measure in his stride, no restraint, no casual saunter. He came down the stairs like a rock star, or one of those American quiz show contestants, plucked out of the audience and going obligingly crazy on their way down to the stage to meet the Price Is Right host.

As Watson leapt on to the tee, the noise level went up another decibel.

Planes may have been travelling over en route to Chicago O'Hare, train whistles might have sounded from the Metra Milwaukee District West Line.

Wake up Rory! Rory McIlroy (right) almost missed his tee slot, but still managed to beat Keegan Bradley (left)

Wake up Rory! Rory McIlroy (right) almost missed his tee slot, but still managed to beat Keegan Bradley (left)

Impressive: Bradley put in a brilliant shift at Medinah

Impressive: Bradley put in a brilliant shift at Medinah

Medinah is not a quiet course. Yet nobody would have heard a cannon roar above the sheer wall of raucous nationalism. Watson milked every last drop of emotion from it.

He shook hands, he handed over his cap to a boy in the front row. He posed for the official photograph and puffed his chest out.

This was going to be America's time. 'Remember, everything they invented, we perfected,' Tom Watson told his team when captaining the United States at The Belfry in 1993.

He was talking about the game of golf. America believed they was about to update that message here in Illinois.

The Americans had seen what it took to win a Ryder Cup, and sought to refine it.

After two days they had all but overwhelmed what many believed to be Europe's strongest team.

It took one of the greatest rearguard actions in the history of sport to tame them, and to send this tournament to a quite astonishing conclusion.

The Europeans wore Seve blue. He would have loved this, the stuff of life itself. In an uncommon reverse, America, having won the pairs events, lost the singles badly, 8 to 3.

It was a Herculean effort from Europe to unpick so much damage from the pairs events on Friday and Saturday. America looked to be a team on fire. Europe has the best golfers, but America played better in tandem this week.

How strange is that Indeed, early in the day, it seemed Europe were close to falling apart.

Rory McIlroy got his central and eastern time zones mixed up and almost missed his slot on the tee to great hilarity from the Chicago crowd.

He took it all in good part – he even won his match, bless him – yet it raised the question: how was he left to travel to the match alone

Come here you! Jose Maria Olazabal (right) embraced Luke Donald after he blitzed Bubba Watson in the singles

Come here you! Jose Maria Olazabal (right) embraced Luke Donald after he blitzed Bubba Watson in the singles

Not today: Phil Mickelson lost his match to Justin Rose on day three

Not today: Tiger Woods conceded the final hole to half his match with Francesco Molinari

Not today: Tiger Woods (right) and Phil Mickelson (left) both failed to win their singles matches

Where was the logistical back-up, the gofers, the assistance

No sporting event takes place with as many sundry members of humanity as the average Ryder Cup game. Where were they all Didn't anyone think it strange that there was no sign of the world No 1, 30 minutes before he was due on parade

'Wakey-wakey, Rory,' the locals taunted. Unfortunately for Keegan Bradley, he did just that. And so did Europe's big beasts.

Webb Simpson, an impressive presence in the first two days, lost to Ian Poulter, the stand-out performer on this European team.

Luke Donald trounced Watson. In the most surprising win of the day, Paul Lawrie beat America's form golfer Brandt Snedeker 5&3.

Suddenly, mission impossible was on. Yet spare a thought for the Americans. Nobody can claim they lost because they did not care this time.

There is a new generation of American golfers that have shown the old timers the way this week.

They were not raised on childhood memories of American domination, or the idea that Sam Ryder's trophy was no big whoop.

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

They grew up on the good old US of A getting a hiding; and they did not like it. They haven't always won, those boys like Watson, Bradley and Jason Dufner, but they came here with the game face that said 'not on my watch' and it has dragged others along.

Even in defeat, America have embraced the team ethic, Woods' petulance on the last day aside.

Get a few old soldiers in or wear a big hat: that used to be the limit of American team sophistication.

So it needed a quite stunning display of singles matchplay from Europe to produce this win, plus a last chance saloon tactic from Jose Maria Olazabal that royally paid off.

Trailing 10-6 he had no option but to frontload the team and hope for an early hit. Yet the drama was created by America's young generation taking on the old continent at its own game.

In doing so, they demanded new levels of energy and excellence from some of the greatest golfers and inspired them to new heights.

It was quite breathtaking to watch, impossible to predict almost to the last. Europe beware, though, from here as American resolve stiffens, it may get even harder. It is hard to imagine, though, that it will get better.

Time for champagne: Sergio Garcia (left) and Graeme McDowell celebrate with a drop of Moet

Time for champagne: Sergio Garcia (left) and Graeme McDowell celebrate with a drop of Moet

Ryder Cup 2012: Player ratings

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

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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.

Ryder Cup 2012: Europe win after Martin Kaymer holds his nerve

Miracle men! Kaymer holds his nerve on the 18th as Euro stars retain Ryder Cup

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UPDATED:

22:59 GMT, 30 September 2012

Dressed in the colours of the late Seve Ballesteros, Europe pulled off one of his trademark great escapes in what will go down as the 'Miracle of Medinah'.

What looked mission impossible when Europe trailed 10-4 at one point late on Saturday night suddenly became possible after they dramatically won the first five singles games and then picked up further points from Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia.

That put Jose Maria Olazabal's side, almost unbelievably, 13-12 up and as the holders they needed only a tie to retain the cup. Yet they ended up winning it 14-13.

Magic moment: Kaymer sinks the winning put on the 18th green before running over to celebrate with his team-mates

Magic moment: Kaymer sinks the winning put on the 18th green before running over to celebrate with his team-mates

Magic moment: Kaymer sinks the winning put on the 18th green before running over to celebrate with his team-mates

Magic moment: Kaymer sinks the winning put on the 18th green before running over to celebrate with his team-mates
RYDER CUP ESSENTIALS

Click here to re-live the action as it happened

Click here for all the statistics from Medinah

Three games were still on the course.
Peter Hanson lost the first of them on the final green, but Martin
Kaymer and Francesco Molinari had it in their power to retain the famous
gold trophy.

And Kaymer, left out all day on
Saturday, was the one to deliver the point they required to match the
biggest comeback in the event's history.

He was up against Steve Stricker.
Level with two to go, the American bogeyed the short 17th after hitting
his chip far too strongly.

Kaymer, bunkered off the final tee, found the green and had two putts for it once Stricker missed his long birdie attempt.

Luke who's talking: Donald won the first match of the day

Luke who's talking: Donald won the first match of the day

He gave himself and his team-mates
palpitations when he sent his first one six feet past, but 21 years on
from compatriot Bernhard Langer missing from the same distance to lose
at Kiawah Island Kaymer made the one back and sparked jubilant scenes.

Moments before Molinari had fallen one
down to Tiger Woods by bogeying the 17th himself, but suddenly it did
not matter. The cup was going back across the Atlantic.

They played on, however, and when
Woods bogeyed he conceded Molinari's par putt – a move that gave Europe
their fifth win in the last six games.

They won the 12 singles by a simply stunning 8-3 margin.

Nerves of steel: Poulter continued his fine form to see off Webb Simpson

Nerves of steel: Poulter continued his fine form to see off Webb Simpson

It was no surprise to see Olazabal,
who of course formed with Ballesteros the greatest partnership in the
event's history, crying.

'It means a lot – not just for me,' he
said. 'This is for the whole of Europe, all those 12 wonderful men, my
four vice-captains and that band of caddies.

'Seve will always be present with this
team. He was a big factor for this event and last night when we had
that meeting I think the boys understood that believing was the big
thing.

'It's been a tough week. Until today
nothing went our way – we struggled on the greens, but this morning I
felt we were a little better in that regard.

No 1: McIlroy overcame a strong challenge from Keegan Bradley

No 1: McIlroy overcame a strong challenge from Keegan Bradley

No 1: McIlroy overcame a strong challenge from Keegan Bradley

'I've been under pressure hitting shots, but today tops that.'

Kaymer said: 'It's a feeling I've never had before. Bernhard helped me so much, just to sit me down and talk about it.

'Now I know how it feels to win the Ryder Cup.'

Stunned American captain Davis Love said: 'I would not have done anything differently. They played great.

'When you lose a segment (session) that badly it's going to cost you.'

The four-point overnight deficit
became three when Luke Donald beat Masters champion Bubba Watson 2&1
in the top game. It was a massive relief after he led by four with four
to play.

Coming up Rose's: Justin Rose won the last two holes to win a thriller against Mickelson

Coming up Rose's: Justin Rose won the last two holes to win a thriller against Mickelson

Coming up Rose's: Justin Rose's won the last two holes to beat Mickelson

Coming up Rose's: Justin Rose won the last two holes to win a thriller against Mickelson

Scot Paul Lawrie crushed last Sunday's
7million FedEx Cup winner Brandt Snedeker 5&3 – he was six under
par with an eagle and four birdies – and Rory McIlroy then beat
previously unbeaten Keegan Bradley 2&1.

That was not the world No 1's biggest drama of the day, though.

As the singles began word reached everybody that McIlroy, out in the third game, was nowhere to be seen around the course.

Two minutes late and he would forfeit
the opening hole, five minutes late and he faced disqualification, but
to the relief of every European he was driven into the parking lot with
10 minutes to go, got his shoes on and gave a superb display.

Braveheart: Lawrie (right) easily saw off Snedeker

Braveheart: Lawrie (right) easily saw off Snedeker

Olazabal admitted his heart had been
'racing quicker than expected' until McIlroy teed off and added: 'We did
not have that in mind.

'All of a sudden we realised Rory was not here and started to look for him. Finally we got hold of him and he came in.'

It was reported the Northern Irishmen
had seen a 12.25am tee-off time on television, but it was Eastern Time –
one hour ahead of Chicago.

After his win McIlroy said: 'I was
just casually strolling out of my hotel room when I got a phone call
saying you have 25 minutes.

Johnson and Johnson: American duo Dustin (above) and Zach (below) won the hosts' first points of the day

Johnson and Johnson: American duo Dustin (above) and Zach (below) won the hosts' first points of the day

Johnson and Johnson: American duo Dustin (above) and Zach (below) won the hosts' first points of the day

'I have never been so worried driving
to the course. Luckily there was a State Trooper outside who gave me the
escort – if not I would not have made it on time.'

McIlroy never trailed, but star man Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Garcia all did.

Poulter, whose finish to the second
session of fourballs really inspired the comeback, made it four wins out
of four – and 12 wins in his last 14 cup games – beat US Open champion
Webb Simpson on the last after being two down early on.

They were level with two to go, but
Simpson failed to get up and down from a bunker on the short 17th and
could not grab the birdie he needed on the last.

Making amends: Westwood bounced back from a shaky first two days to beat Kuchar

Making amends: Westwood bounced back from a shaky first two days to beat Kuchar

Rose's second win over Phil Mickelson
in his cup career came in amazing fashion. He trailed by one with two to
play, but holed from 40 feet on 17 and 14 feet at the last.

Mickelson, America's record cap-holder
and winner of his first three games, could only stand and admire – and
graciously applauded everything Rose did at the end.

Mickelson can still consider himself
to have had a good week. In contrast Woods had a shocker – and Love
joins 2002 captain Curtis Strange in putting the 14-major winner out
last and seeing his game become totally irrelevant in the destiny of the
cup.

Down and out: Furyk reacts after his missed putt on the 18th hands victory to Garcia

Down and out: Furyk reacts after his missed putt on the 18th hands victory to Garcia

The only previous side to win from
four down entering the singles was Ben Crenshaw's in Boston in 1999 – a
match that ended so controversially with a premature invasion of the
17th green.

Olazabal was on the receiving end of
that, standing there as he waited for calm to be restored and then
missing the putt which meant the Americans could not lose.

That was just another dimension to how sweet this day must have felt.

Job done: Kaymer pumps his fists to hail the victory

Job done: Kaymer pumps his fists to hail the victory

Ryder Cup 2012: Rory McIlroy and tiger Woods kept apart as Luke Donald leads Europe out on final day

McIlroy and Woods kept apart as Donald leads Europe out on final day against Watson

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UPDATED:

01:52 GMT, 30 September 2012

Teeing it off: Donald

Teeing it off: Donald

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods will not face each other for the second Ryder Cup in a row.

American captain Davis Love has put Woods out last in Sunday's singles, while world number one McIlroy is out third against unbeaten Keegan Bradley as Europe try to claw back their four-point deficit.

Luke Donald leads things off for Jose Maria Olazabal's side and will play Masters champion Bubba Watson.

Saturday hero Ian Poulter, who like Bradley has won his first three games, follows against US Open champion Webb Simpson.

Woods faces Francesco Molinari just as he did at Celtic Manor two years ago. The Italian lost 4&3.

Draw for the final day (all times BST)

17.03 Bubba Watson v Luke Donald
17.14 Webb Simpson v Ian Poulter
17.25 Keegan Bradley v Rory McIlroy
17.36 Phil Mickelson v Justin Rose
17.47 Brandt Snedeker v Paul Lawrie
17.58 Dustin Johnson v Nicolas Colsaerts
18.09 Zach Johnson v Graeme McDowell
18.20 Jim Furyk v Sergio Garcia
18.31 Jason Dufner v Peter Hanson
18.42 Matt Kuchar v Lee Westwood
18.53 Steve Stricker v Martin Kaymer
19.04 Tiger Woods v Francesco Molinari

Ryder Cup 2012: Ian Poulter shows bulldog spirit: But Europe face huge task to defeat USA

Pumped-up Poulter shows bulldog spirit… but Europe face huge task to defeat USA

By
Malcolm Folley

PUBLISHED:

00:20 GMT, 30 September 2012

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UPDATED:

00:39 GMT, 30 September 2012

Ian Poulter, a fist-pumping, snarling, bulldog of a golfer, offered the European team outside hope of defending the Ryder Cup here.

Poulter holed a 12-foot putt on the 18th green to defeat Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson with his fifth consecutive birdie. On the side of the green, the European team celebrated as one while Rory McIlroy embraced his playing partner.

It was a one-man show of defiance from Poulter. ‘It’s going to be bloody hard tomorrow, but we’ve got to take it to them,’ he said.

Fist of fury: Ian Poulter celebrates after keeping his nerve to win a point for Europe in the final match

Fist of fury: Ian Poulter celebrates
after keeping his nerve to win a point for Europe in the final match

Poulter and McIlroy’s victory came
minutes after Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia had defeated Tiger Woods and
Steve Stricker by one hole as Europe at least reminded the Americans
they remain in a fight. As a result of the late European heroics, the
Americans will begin the final day 10-6 ahead.

‘Poulter was awesome,’ said McIlroy. ‘When he gets that look in his eye he can do anything.’

At last the American crowd was made
to feel nervous; at last this Ryder Cup had become a contest rather than
a ceremonial procession for those representing Uncle Sam. Finally, the
tension was palpable.

Grim viewing: Jose Maria Olazabal cannot bear to watch

Grim viewing: Jose Maria Olazabal cannot bear to watch

Jose Maria Olazabal has been a
low-profile captain, at times appearing invisible. Yet, behind closed
doors after a ragged, unprofitable first day for the stars of the
European game, he voiced his displeasure in a speech of controlled
anger.

‘We got the hair dryer treatment,’
said Graeme McDowell. And McIlroy, a fervent Manchester United fan,
added: ‘It was a roasting, real Sir Alex Ferguson stuff.’

Olazabal failed to generate the
response he had hoped for until the end of a momentous day. Yet Davis
Love III’s men need just 4 more points to reclaim the trophy.

Olazabal’s captaincy of the European
team is unlikely to be regaled in tales of wonder. For when the story of
the 39th Ryder Cup is retold, we will think of Americans Keegan
Bradley, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson and the ageless Phil
Mickelson burying the reputations of the finest golfers from the other
side of the Atlantic beneath the first fall of leaves at the Medinah
Country Club.

We will struggle to understand how
Olazabal had been unable to galvanise such renowned players as McIlroy,
Donald, Lee Westwood, McDowell, Garcia and Justin Rose into offering
greater resistance.

‘It’s a crisis now,’ said Colin
Montgomerie, who proved a shrewd captain of Europe at Celtic Manor two
years ago. ‘Our players haven’t performed to their ability and that’s
why the gap has widened all the time.’

Defining moment: Dustin Johnson (centre) celebrates sinking a birdie putt to win the 17th hole

Defining moment: Dustin Johnson (centre) celebrates sinking a birdie putt to win the 17th hole

In Wales, Monty had been a general
buzzing around the course from match to match, like Seve Ballesteros had
done so memorably at Valderrama in 1997.

Once Olazabal had worked in magical
tandem with his late friend in the Ryder Cup, yet his desire to emulate
Ballesteros’s triumph as captain was fading faster than the sun setting
over Chicago.

‘The difference has been mainly
around the greens,’ said Olazabal. ‘Our boys are not making the putts.
And, it’s true, some of them haven’t performed to their expectations.’

Fighting against the tide: Sergio Garcia (right) congratulates Luke Donald after winning the eighth hole

Fighting against the tide: Sergio Garcia (right) congratulates Luke Donald after winning the eighth hole

Only an exceptional performance from
every man in the European team in the 12 single matches can deny the
Americans from reclaiming Sam Ryder’s old trophy. That seems unlikely.
On what we know, all that is to be determined is the scale of the
American victory.

Inside the European team there is an
air of despondency that is too late to be dispersed. Each putt that
failed to go in — and Nicolas Colsaearts was a victim of some cruel
near-misses — brought closer the reality of defeat.

Donald tried to make sense of the
manner in which Bradley has placed the Ryder Cup under his spell.
Bradley, 26, from Woodstock, has made sweet music in harmony with Phil
Mickelson to the unbridled joy of the home crowd.

‘Keegan’s been like a rock star this week,’ said Donald.

US yay: Keegan Bradley shows his delight as the Americans stamp their authority on the morning foursomes, to the delight of the home crowd

US yay: Keegan Bradley shows his delight as the Americans stamp their
authority on the morning foursomes, to the delight of the home crowd

Bradley and Mickelson won their third
point by defeating Donald and Westwood 7&6 in the morning
foursomes. It was perhaps as much humiliation as a man can experience
with his clothes on and equalled the worst-ever Ryder Cup beating, when
Nick Faldo and David Gilford were flattened by Paul Azinger and Mark
O’Meara at Kiawah Island 21 years ago. If that 1991 Ryder Cup became
known as the War on the Shore, there is a distinct possibility this
might become the Mismatch at Medinah.

By lunchtime, the United States had
stretched their lead to 8-4, having won the foursomes 3-1. Everywhere
you looked American golfers were pumping fists as a pall of glumness
descended over the Europeans.

It was unimaginable to suppose
Westwood, a man with a record of distinction in seven previous Ryder
Cups, could play so disappointingly. Yet too many European players have
been far from their best.

It would be inexcusable if credit was
not paid to the Americans, so expertly managed by Love. When the
moment arises, Olazabal will accept defeat with dignity and a warm
handshake but his swansong in the Ryder Cup was not supposed to end like
this.

Ryder Cup 2012: US team take the first-day honours

Euro slump: Agony for Olazabal's men as USA team go on charge

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UPDATED:

00:04 GMT, 29 September 2012

LIVE: Ryder Cup 2012

Click here to follow all Friday's action from Medinah Country Club as it happened

So much for the value of experience at the Ryder Cup. First day honours went America's way on Friday largely because its exciting new stars stepped emphatically up to the plate.

Credit the veteran Phil Mickelson, who enjoyed his best day in these matches, and might have played the shot of the day to clinch a fourballs victory over Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.

But the reason the United States enjoy a 5-3 lead going into this morning's foursomes owed much to the electrifying input of players like Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar and in particular Mickelson's effervescent partner, Keegan Bradley.

Get in: Phil Mickelson (left) celebrates with rookie Keegan Bradley after a fourballs victory

Get in: Phil Mickelson (left) celebrates with rookie Keegan Bradley after a fourballs victory

What a day: Nicolas Colsaerts finished in remarkable fashion

What a day: Nicolas Colsaerts finished in remarkable fashion

Agony: Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell were beaten in the fourballs by Mickelson and Bradley

Agony: Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell were beaten in the fourballs by Mickelson and Bradley

How the young man fired up the
veteran, often so pallid in these matches. Not with the hot-wired
Bradley playing with a magnificent intensity for the most impressive
debut these matches have seen since Sergio Garcia took two points on the
first day at Brookline in 1999.

Youth had its day for Europe as well,
in the shape of McIlroy and the amazing Nicolas Colsaerts.

The record
books will show the Belgian marked his debut in this contest by teaming
up with Lee Westwood to beat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in the
afternoon fourballs.

But the record books will lie.

Big hitter: Bubba Watson was spurred on by the raucous home crowd

Big hitter: Bubba Watson was spurred on by the raucous home crowd

Carried: Colsaerts had an unbelievable debut at Medinah and led Lee Westwood (right)

Carried: Colsaerts had an unbelievable debut at Medinah and led Lee Westwood (right)

Way to putt: Bradley was on fire on the greens

Way to putt: Bradley was on fire on the greens

Way to putt: Bradley was on fire on the greens

Nicely done: Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar celebrated winning their match in the fourballs

Nicely done: Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar celebrated winning their match in the fourballs

The
truth is that Colsaerts put in one of the most astonishing performances
these matches have seen to actually beat the combined efforts of his
opponents singlehandedly.

/09/29/article-2210297-15421D19000005DC-1_634x414.jpg” width=”634″ height=”414″ alt=”Struggle: Tiger Woods' late surge could not prevent his fourballs loss to Westwood and Colsaerts ” class=”blkBorder” />

Struggle: Tiger Woods' late surge could not prevent his fourballs loss to Westwood and Colsaerts

Euro slump: Jose Maria Olazabal (right) was forced to watch his team give up an early lead to the Americans

Euro slump: Jose Maria Olazabal (right) was forced to watch his team give up an early lead to the Americans

Time to celebrate: Webb Simpson and his wife, Dowd, looked in jubilant spirits after earning a point

Time to celebrate: Webb Simpson and his wife, Dowd, looked in jubilant spirits after earning a point

Some of the action was truly
spectacular. Shots are supposed to be played in a heavenly quiet but
trust the irrepressible Bubba to rip up that rule book, just as he has
every other.

The man who has never had a lesson in his life actually
asked for the crowd to ramp up the noise when he played his first tee
shot, and from that moment onwards, the fanatical home support roared
their approval as Watson and his playing partner Simpson gave them
plenty to get excited about.

America had the star of this day in
Bradley but Woods was again left pointless from two matches.

Fair
enough, he made his full contribution to the thrilling afternoon match,
where the man who used to intimidate with his power was outdriven by 30
yards on occasion by Colsaerts.

Final green: Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy celebrate after beating Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker

Final green: Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy celebrate after beating Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker

Rory's roar: McIlroy reacts after he and McDowell won the fourth hole of their opening match at Medinah

Rory's roar: McIlroy reacts after he and McDowell won the fourth hole of their opening match at Medinah

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

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

Upset: Luke Donald of England (left) and Sergio Garcia of Spain (right) lost their unbeaten foursomes record

Upset: Luke Donald of England (left) and Sergio Garcia of Spain (right) lost their unbeaten foursomes record

But in the morning, he had practically
handed Justin Rose and Ian Poulter a point.

Typical Poulter, of course, as he
holed a bunker shot and knocked in a vital putt to allow Europe to
escape with parity in the opening skirmishes.

But typical Woods, too, be
so far below his best.

The man who has rewritten most of the
game's record books was at it again but, this being team golf, it was a
new low rather than another high. Woods has now officially drawn level
with Raymond Floyd as statistically the worst foursomes player in
American Ryder Cup history.

Wayward: Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker were beaten by Justin Rose and Ian Poulter in the foursomes

Wayward: Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker were beaten by Justin Rose and Ian Poulter in the foursomes

Talisman: Poulter celerates after holing his bunker shot on the 11th hole during the foursomes

Talisman: Poulter celerates after holing his bunker shot on the 11th hole during the foursomes

In 13 appearances in this format he has lost
no fewer than eight.

There might not have been a worse
performance than this. Perhaps he and Stricker were guilty of trying too
hard. Let's be charitable and put it down to that.

What was undeniable
was that Woods turned in an absolute shocker, featuring a fluffed chip,
and a series of drives that explored the outer perimeters of the course.

He hit a portable toilet with one wayward missile, while another
knocked a spectator to the ground and drew blood.

Blow: Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari were beaten by Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner

Blow: Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari were beaten by Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner

Dynamic duo: Dufner and Zach Johnson celebrate a birdie putt on the tenth green

Dynamic duo: Dufner and Zach Johnson celebrate a birdie putt on the tenth green

First blood to Poulter as well, then,
as he took his magnificent Ryder Cup record to nine wins against just
three defeats. Once more, his partnership with Rose delivered.

Europe's other point came in the top
match from another trusted partnership, Rory McIlroy and Graeme
McDowell, who came through by the narrowest of margins against Jim Furyk
and Brandt Snedeker.

The pair then took on Bradley and
Mickelson but McDowell had little left to give. McIlroy did his valiant
best but there was no way anyone could take on this formidable
partnership on their own.

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

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

Tee time: Mickelson hits his opening shot on the fourth hole during his successful foursomes match

Tee time: Mickelson hits his opening shot on the fourth hole during his successful foursomes match

REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL

1 Nicolas Colsaerts: the laidback Belgian is a former DJ who was on song when he was eight under at one point in a blistering debut.

2 Poulter power: the man with the manic eye-bulging celebration is the heart and soul of the European team. Will surely play twice on Saturday.

3 The long game: Captain Jose Maria Olazabal does not want his big guns to be exhausted on the crucial final day, hence all 12 players tasting first-day action. Expect more of Europe's big guns to be rested today.

REASONS TO BE FEARFUL

1 Peter Hanson: produced a chip that every hacker would have been proud of, thinning his bunker shot over the green and into a grandstand wall.

2 Dynamic duos: the US have two dream teams – Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley are a match made in heaven while God-fearing duo Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson play golf from the angels.

3 History lesson: days one and two have traditionally been Europe's best. They need a lead going into tomorrow's singles.

In the morning, Bradley and Mickelson
took on arguably Europe's strongest foursomes pairing, Luke Donald and
Sergio Garcia, and demolished them.

Bradley was so excited at making his
Ryder Cup debut he was the first player on the property and practised
for an hour in the dark.

He looked a Ryder Cup star in the making when
he holed a clutch putt to win the Bridgestone Invitational last month
but no-one could have foreseen this sensational performance.

Mickelson
tried his best to calm him but Bradley is a performer who thrives on
adrenalin.

That was the moment the whole tenor of
the morning play changed. Up to then, Europe were ahead in all four
matches, and Medinah was a library.

The joy of foursomes, though, is how
quickly the momentum shifts and during a dramatic hour it slipped from
the visitors. They were never to regain it.

The compelling series of events were
due reward for the spectators who had literally started queuing in the
middle of the night in advance of the gates opening at 5-30am.

Soon the
stands behind and to the right of the first tee were filled with
spectators sporting the colours of both sides. Two hours later, the
songs and the chants rang out. The Ryder Cup had begun and, as ever, it
exerted its grip.

Cheerleader: Former Chicago Bulls basketball player Michael Jordan is now part of the American backroom team

Cheerleader: Former Chicago Bulls basketball player Michael Jordan is now part of the American backroom team

Flying the flag: American fans provided a raucous atmosphere for the opening stages of the Cup

Flying the flag: American fans provided a raucous atmosphere for the opening stages of the Cup

Outnumbered: Europe fans made their presence felt despite being heavily in the minority

Outnumbered: Europe fans made their presence felt despite being heavily in the minority

ryder cup essential GRAPHIC.jpg

1st hole jitters

Ryder Cup 2012: Martin Samuel – Tiger Woods on a Medinah mission

Woods on a Medinah mission after admitting he has let down the US in the past

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UPDATED:

22:12 GMT, 25 September 2012

There is a moment in the supernatural western High Plains Drifter, when a townswoman rounds on Clint Eastwood’s mysterious stranger.

‘You’re a man who makes people afraid and that’s dangerous,’ she says.

The Stranger eyes her coolly. ‘It’s what people know about themselves inside that makes them afraid,’ he says.

So is Tiger scared of Rory, as has been suggested Hell, no. Tiger’s scared of Tiger. He’s scared of Tiger now, of Tiger back then.

Looking for the Midas touch: Love (left) and Woods get their hands on the trophy on Tuesday

Looking for the Midas touch: Love (left) and Woods get their hands on the trophy on Tuesday

And it is this fear that he must overcome when the 39th Ryder Cup tees off at Medinah Country Club, to the north of Chicago, on Friday.

From 1997 to 2008, Tiger Woods was the greatest golfer in the world. He won 14 major tournaments and earned more than 50million in prize money alone. And won a single Ryder Cup.

The USA have claimed just two of the past eight editions and Woods was missing for one of those wins, through injury in 2008. His points average per game is 0.48, making him marginally better than David Toms, but not quite up there with Steve Stricker.

And now we are here, in the Mid-West, with the last great gunslinger of American golf trying to relive past glories. It is not the young men of Europe stepping up to the former world No 1 that unnerves him. Challengers have come and gone before. But Woods is older now and vulnerable.

Gearing up: Woods takes in a practice round at Medinah on Tuesday

Gearing up: Woods takes in a practice round at Medinah on Tuesday

He is in his best form since returning to the game after what amounted to a breakdown, but it has still not brought him that 15th major. And Woods, like every other member of the American team barring rookies, has a losing Ryder Cup record.

If he could not do it when his supremacy was undisputed, why now For he wants it, without doubt, more than ever. Davis Love III, the USA captain, sees almost neediness in Woods, a desire to make up for lost years as a team player.

‘If we have had 50 conversations in the last year, 48 have been about the Ryder Cup,’ said Love.
At Medinah on Tuesday, Woods met the issue of his previous failure head on. Did he feel personally responsible for Europe’s domination, at a time when he was the best by a street Indeed, he did.

‘Certainly I am responsible for that, because I didn’t earn the points that I was put out there for,’ replied Woods. ‘I was out there, what, in five sessions each time, and I didn’t go 5‑0 on our side.

All smiles: But Woods has only enjoyed success in the Ryder Cup once previously

All smiles: But Woods has only enjoyed success in the Ryder Cup once previously

‘So I’m part of that because that’s part of being a team. I needed to go get points and I didn’t. I hope I can do that this week and we can get this thing going.

‘Brookline in 1999 (his only win), I’ve just never been part of anything like that. It was an experience I will never, ever, forget. The way we did it on that Sunday, to come back like that, no-one’s ever seen anything quite like it. To be part of that, of the early rush, was quite something. I was fourth or fifth match out and it was like those matches were being, not just won, but won by such huge margins.

‘We were blowing those matches out, not squeaking them, which added to the atmosphere. There was birdie after birdie after birdie and we were just rolling.’

To hear Woods needing to hark back to a previous century to locate his precious Ryder Cup memories, however, only brought home the extent of recent European domination. Behind the podium, a board charted the results of the previous 38 tournaments, the way American supremacy had been so complete that Britain was forced to summon help, first from Ireland in 1973, then the rest of Europe in 1979.

Eye of the Tiger: Woods plays a bunker shot on Tuesday

Eye of the Tiger: Woods plays a bunker shot on Tuesday

Even then, it made little difference initially. Between 1935 and 1983 only once – at Lindrick, Yorkshire, in 1957 – did USA lose.

And then European golf began to be defined by team play, even those, like Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood, who could not secure majors as individuals.

/09/25/article-2208630-153435C0000005DC-391_634x432.jpg” width=”634″ height=”432″ alt=”Team player: Woods and Mickelson (left) share a joke” class=”blkBorder” />

Team player: Woods and Mickelson (left) share a joke

They were most certainly not in it together. Mickelson had left Tiger in it, most certainly, but alone.
Now, later in his career, his private life a late-night punchline, his reputation a question mark, Woods feels the need to be at the heart of Team America in the Ryder Cup.

‘Team golf is very similar to what we did in college or university,’ he said.

‘Yet this is for the United States of America, so when it gets to a certain point, either Friday afternoon, late in the evening, or Saturday late in the evening, and all the teams are gathered and there’s one group out there – if you happen to be in that group, it’s so much heat. It’s very different because playing for your team-mates adds another element.

‘We all get to know each other and then it comes down to one moment.’

Raring to go: Woods has returned to form this year

Raring to go: Woods has returned to form this year

And yet, one senses, Woods still felt most comfortable when he was a man apart and winning: his singles record at the Ryder Cup is far superior to his pairs play.

‘This is a God fearing town; these are God fearing people,’ the sheriff tells Eastwood’s enigmatic cowboy.

‘You like ’em, you save ’em,’ replies The Stranger.

Woods once exuded a similarly uncompromising aura. Without that post-sabbatical major, however, the air of icy intimidation has gone. He remains America’s best shot at this 39th Ryder Cup but if, as Greg Norman suggested, there is now fear of Rory McIlroy, it will be what Woods knows about himself that has changed.

Ryder Cup 2012: Tiger Woods – I need to win more for America

Tiger admits: I've let America down in past Ryder Cups… I need to win for my team

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UPDATED:

15:51 GMT, 25 September 2012

Tiger Woods has admitted he shoulders responsibility for the United States' poor recent record in the Ryder Cup ahead of this week's contest in Chicago.

Europe have won four of the last five biennial contests, with Woods absent through injury from the home side's sole victory in that sequence at Valhalla in 2008.

The former world No 1's one only win in six appearances came in the controversial 'Battle of Brookline' in 1999, while he has a losing overall record of played 29, won 13, lost 14 and halved two.

Team USA: (back, from left) Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Steve Stricker, Jason Dufner and (front, from left) Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III, Tiger Woods, Keegan Bradley

Team USA: (back, from left) Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Steve Stricker, Jason Dufner and (front, from left) Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III, Tiger Woods, Keegan Bradley

That's our target: Woods inspects the trophy with US captain Davis Love III at Medinah

That's our target: Woods inspects the trophy with US captain Davis Love III at Medinah

Asked if he was responsible for Europe's success in a time when he personally dominated the individual game, Woods said: 'Well, certainly I am responsible for that, because I didn't earn the points that I was put out there for.

'I believe I was out there in five sessions each time and I didn't go 5-0 on our side. So I certainly am a part of that and that's part of being a team. I needed to go get my points for my team, and I didn't do that. Hopefully I can do that this week and hopefully the other guys can do the same and we can get this thing rolling.'

Woods is not alone in possessing a losing record however, with the experienced pair of Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk also struggling to translate individual success into team triumphs.

Mickelson, who is appearing in a US-record ninth Ryder Cup at Medinah, has won 14 points from 34 matches overall and amazingly just two wins from his last 14 fourball or foursome matches.

In the spotlight: Woods answers questions during a news conference ahead of the Ryder Cup on Tuesday

In the spotlight: Woods answers questions during a news conference ahead of the Ryder Cup on Tuesday

Furyk is making his eighth appearance this week but has won just 10 points of a possible 27 overall and four from his last 18 fourball or foursome clashes.

'In order to win Cups, you have to earn points and we certainly have not earned points,' Woods added. 'And on top of that, I think that Phil, Jim and myself have been put out there a lot during those years. So if we are not earning points, it's hard to win Ryder Cups that way.'

Graeme McDowell, who secured the winning point at Celtic Manor two years ago, believes Woods is often the victim of 'lesser' players raising their game and playing without pressure.

Advice: US rookie Keegan Bradley (left) talks tactics with veteran Phil Mickelson at Medinah

Advice: US rookie Keegan Bradley (left) talks tactics with veteran Phil Mickelson at Medinah

'I liken it to playing Premiership football,' McDowell added. 'Any lesser team that comes to play these guys, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal… they have a tendency to raise their game, because it's a huge game for an underdog to play a Tiger Woods.

'And they get up for it. They are not expected to win. When expectation levels drop, game tends to improve. A guy who plays Tiger Woods, or a player of that calibre, doesn't expect to win so he lets it all go and he plays out of his skin and gets the upset.'

McDowell's team-mate and likely playing partner Rory McIlroy is of course now the world No 1, a fact which makes him a 'target' this week according to Furyk and the winning captain at Valhalla, Paul Azinger.

Tee time: Mickelson hits a drive at the practice range ahead of the Ryder Cup, which starts on Friday

Tee time: Mickelson hits a drive at the practice range ahead of the Ryder Cup, which starts on Friday

'It's part of being consistent,' Woods added. 'It's part of being ranked No 1, it's part of winning major championships. You're always going to want to try and take out their best player, and that's just part of the deal. That's a fun challenge.

'I certainly have relished it over the years and I'm sure he's going to relish it this week.'

Another aspect of this week that Woods seemingly relishes is having former basketball legend Michael Jordan around the US team, as the former Chicago Bulls star has done in several previous Ryder Cups.

But US captain Davis Love will not be encouraging a repeat of the time the duo first met.

Woods explained: 'The first time I had ever been around him, he had fed me some beverages (laughter) and the next day was a little bit more difficult than I would like it to be.

'But for him to want to be part of this is special for us. I guess for me, because I consider him like my big brother, gotten to know him so well over the years, I may take that for granted. But some of the other guys who don't really know Michael, I think it's a real treat for them.'