I don’t play golf. I haven’t the mental strength to rise above wayward drives, missed putts and lost balls. I am a lover of sporting endeavour, and the Ryder Cup golf competition is jam-packed full of it.
I’ve stayed up late at night to watch highlights on BBC TV. The action on the final day was nothing short of miraculous. Real edge of the seat viewing.
I know that the Ryder Cup is a team format, which is unusual in golf, and that therefore its invidious to select individuals from within a winning team. But, it’s impossible not to mention two heroic performances.
Ian Poulter’s passionate charge, in partnership with Rory McIlroy, in the Saturday afternoon fourballs gave the European team hope. Up to then they had been thoroughly outplayed by USA’s superior putting.
Ian Poulter ‘Poults’ driving passion for the team combined perfectly with the modest passion of Europe team captain José María Olazábal to fire up the team for the final day singles matches. My two heroes of this Ryder Cup. Here are a few words from both,
BBC’s Tom Fordyce article about Europe’s position late on Saturday afternoon:
But dramatic late points from Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy and the brilliant Ian Poulter – his third of the competition – gave Europe late hope of an unlikely comeback. “That was unbelievable,” said Poulter, who notched up his 11th victory in 14 matches, despite being two down with six holes to play. “We had to get something going. From then on my putter warmed up nicely, having been pretty cold for the first 13 holes. “
“Then it just went crazy. It was tough out there. We’re in Chicago, they’ve had a few drinks today and they weren’t making it easy for us. I will be honest, it was brutal.”
Again from the BBC report, here’s what Ian Poulter said after the cup was won:
“This was a team performance and the team have done an unbelievable job,” said Poulter, one of Olazábal’s two wildcards. “There was a buzz in the team room last night that didn’t feel like we had a four-point deficit.
“For some reason, everyone was calm. Everyone was cracking jokes. We just felt we had that tiny little chance and the boys have proved it today and made history. It has been unbelievable.”
“My captain picked me to come and play and I owe it to him, and Seve, to be here today. It’s pretty special.”
That team talk from José María Olazábal on Saturday night must’ve been quite something. Here are a few views on it
There was widespread praise for Olazábal from his team. Nobody was any more fulsome than the world No 1 Rory McIlroy. “He has made us cry in the team room this week,” said McIlroy. “Some of us have broken down into tears with some of his speeches. And to play so well out here today knowing that Seve’s looking down on us, it’s just been one of the most incredible days that I’ve ever had on the golf course.”
And from Ian Poulter again, ”Ollie said to us that the Ryder Cup is what memories and dreams are made of and last night that team-room was buzzing,” he said. “We weren’t four points down. We felt like we were all square. We just knew we had a chance. And do you know this is history right here. We knew Ollie had us wearing Seve’s navy blue and white for a reason,” said Poulter. “We had Seve on our bags, on our shirts and in our hearts. We did this for Seve.”
Finally, these are stirring words from José María Olazábal, “All men die, but not all men live, and you made me feel alive again this week,”
Must stop now, as am getting quite emotional myself.