Number one in our list is the iconic 2-iron hit on the 18th hole at The Belfry in 1989
Ryder Cup Best Shots Countdown: No. 1 Christy O’Connor Jr 1989
Held for the second time at The Belfry, the Ryder Cup was once again hosted in Warwickshire in the 1989 event.
Europe had won the last two Cups, at The Belfry in 1985, and then Muirfield Village in Ohio in 1987.
It was clear the 1989 Cup was going to be closer than ever as the Sunday singles transpired.
Down 9-7, America came flying out of the gates winning the several of the top matches thanks to Paul Azinger and Chip Beck. Tom Kite then absolutely hammered Howard Clark 8&7.
Europe finally got on the board with wins for Jose Maria Olazabal, Ronan Rafferty and Mark James. It was becoming clear that every match was crucial.
Christy O’Connor Jnr and Fred Couples were all square after 17 holes of their singles match. Both found the 18th fairway, but O’Connor had 240 yards to the hole, some 100 yards behind Couples.
He hit the 2-iron of his life, his ball landing on the front of the green and settling some four feet from the cup. Couples half-shanked his approach and ultimately conceded O’Connor’s putt.
Europe then only needed one more point to secure a draw and therefore retain the Cup, and fortunately for the Europeans, Jose Maria Canizares was able to secure that point on the 18th in his match with Ken Green.
America then won the final four matches to draw the contest and Europe had retained the Cup.
Ultimately, O’Connor’s shot was so important because given how far he was behind Couples, all looked lost, but his 2-iron managed to snatch a victory away from the Americans. His celebration is also one of the most iconic moments in Ryder Cup history.
To commemorate the moment, there is now a plaque in the middle of the 18th fairway symbolising where O’Connor hit his shot from.
Additionally, the 2-iron was later auctioned and raised £50,000 for a Galway hospital.
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