Sportsnight #37: 2012, The Miracle of Medinah

by Charlie_East_West on September 24, 2014

Good evening, and welcome to Sportsnight.

After a summer sabbatical, we are back with some of the finest sports action that you will ever see on a blog.

Tonight’s action comes from Medinah Country Club, Illinois. Europe went into the competition as the cup holders, having defeated the United States 14½ points to 13½ in 2010. The team captains were Davis Love III for the U.S. and José María Olazábal for Europe.

At the start of the final day’s play, the U.S. led Europe 10–6 and required 4½ points to win; Europe required 8 points to retain the cup and 8½ to win it outright. It seemed a foregone conclusion that the U.S. would regain the trophy.

Yet, Europe achieved one of the greatest comebacks in Ryder Cup history by winning eight and tying one of the 12 singles matches. Martin Kaymer’s five-foot putt on the 18th hole to defeat Steve Stricker took the score to 14–13, allowing Europe to retain the cup with one match still in progress. Tiger Woods missed a putt on the final green and conceded the hole to Francesco Molinari, halving the final point and securing outright victory for the European team, 14½–13½. The victory was Europe’s fifth in the last six contests.

The “Miracle of Medinha” was largely inspired by Ian Poulter – his eyeballs out approach to the Ryder Cup acted as a catalyst to the fight back. Poulter is now recognised is one of the greatest Ryder Cup players of all time – he is up there with Ballesteros, Watson, Nicklaus and Montgomerie.

We are now on the cusp of the next Ryder Cup (at Gleneagles). Europe go into the match as firm favourites. They are the hosts and have the best players – Mcilroy, Garcia, Rose, McDowell, Kaymer and the indefatigable Poulter. But, I have a strong hunch that the contest will be on a knife edge. The U.S. are led by Tom Watson, who happens to be one of the most popular overseas golfers in Scotland, and understands the concept and history of the Ryder Cup better than almost anybody. Also – the Americans are hardly a bad team. Players like Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Furyk and Fowler are hardly a bunch of hackers.

Also, history has taught us that the Ryder Cup tends to be close. Over the past 30 years, the Ryder Cup has evolved from a previously predictable U.S. victory over Great Britain & Ireland to a series of momentous matches between the U.S. and Europe. It is easily the most exciting event in golf.

The Ryder Cup does come with a health warning. The team outfits, the Stepford wives, mawkishly over-the-top production values from Sky Sports, opening ceremonies that are disgracefully bad, “get in the hole” shouts from idiotic Budweiser fuelled American fans, and hosted by many country clubs that still think that an ethnic minority group or female are persona non grata around the auspices of their ‘gentlemen only’ clubhouse.

But, I will be watching with intent over the weekend. I predict the U.S to create an upset and win 15-13. After Medinah, I suspect the U.S. will not be lacking in any motivation.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

John Stone September 26, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Ahem, the finest sporting action of the weekend is taking place in Spain; cycling, the mens and womens World Road Race championships. Will be gripping stuff, as ever.

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