In this piece we take a look at the five greatest Ryder Cup competitions in the history of the event.
Top 5 Ryder Cups In History
The Ryder Cup has seen some of the greatest golfing moments take place so to celebrate this we have taken a look at five of the best Ryder Cup events in the history of the tournament. What do you make of our list? Are there any we have missed?
2012 – Medinah Country Club, Illinois, USA
Final Score – Europe 14.5 USA 13.5
This is arguably the greatest Ryder Cup there has ever been. With the United States dominant over the first two days play, Ian Poulter put himself into the pantheon of Ryder Cup greats with birdies on the last five holes in his four ball match with Rory McIlroy against Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner. He helped secure a massive point for Europe which put the score at 10-6 with the Sunday singles to come.
The next day, Europe came out firing, winning the first five matches. Justin Rose’s match against Phil Mickelson in particular was huge for Europe as he birdied the last two holes with two brilliant putts to win 1up. Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and then Martin Kaymer also produced points with the German holing the winning putt on the 18th to win the Cup. It was an incredible come-back which was even more poignant given the death of Spanish great Save Ballesteros a year previously. Captain Jose Maria Olazabal was overcome with emotion on that momentous day.
1999 – The Country Club, Brookline, Massachusetts, USA
Final Score – USA 14.5 Europe 13.5
In 1999, the United States pulled off a come-back of their own. Sure, in terms of crowd behaviour this edition probably wasn’t the Ryder Cups finest moment. Additionally that moment between Justin Leonard and Jose Maria Olazabal caused controversy but both of those things should not take away from what was an epic comeback.
Down 10-6 heading into the singles the Americans won the opening 6 matches by significant margins. Padraig Harrington stemmed the tide but Steve Pate and Jim Furyk won both their matches to put them up 14-12.
Justin Leonard sealed the half point American needed with a 40-foot putt on the 17th against Jose Maria Olazabal. The Americans celebrated to an embarrassing degree given the Spaniard still had a putt to halve the hole. Alas, he missed and the Americans secured the Cup.
2010 – Celtic Manor Resort, Wales
Final Score – Europe 14.5 Europe 13.5
Plagued by weather issues, the 2010 event went into Monday of next week as the torrential rain had disrupted play. Going into the final day Europe led 9.5-6.5 but America ground their way back into the match and eventually the event came down to the anchor match between 2010 US Open winner Graeme McDowell and Hunter Mahan.
That match went down to the wire too with the birdie putt holed by McDowell on the 16th being a huge moment for his team. On the next, the pressure proved too much for Mahan as he fluffed his chip shot. McDowell won 3 & 1 and the Europeans took the Cup back once again.
As far as final day nerves go, 2010 is hard to beat.
1987 – Muirfield Village Golf Club, Ohio, USA
Final Score – Europe 15 USA 13
Put simply, this was Europe’s first ever win on American soil and produced some memorable moments throughout. First, during the final day singles Ben Crenshaw snapped his putter so had to play the remainder of his match with Eamonn Darcy with his three-iron as his putter. Second that match proved to be crucial with Darcy securing his first point from 9 attempts on the 18th green. It was this match which stemmed the tide of an American comeback. Seve Ballesteros sealed the deal in his match later that day.
The final memorable moment came in European celebrations with Jose Maria Olazabal dancing his famous jig on one of the greens.
1969 – Royal Birkdale Golf Club, England
Final Score – Europe 16 USA 16
In terms of acts of true sportsmanship, the 1969 Ryder Cup has no competition. With the scores tied at 15.5 points each Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin Nicklaus made a 5 foot putt on the last leaving Jacklin with a couple of feet to tie. Nicklaus picked up the Englishman’s ball marker and said “I don’t think you would have missed it, but I wasn’t going to give you the chance, either.”
Sam Snead, the American captain was reportedly livid, but the moment has gone down as one of the greatest moments in the event history.
Notable Mentions –
2002 – The Belfry (Europe win thanks to heroics from Paul McGinley)
2006 – The K Club (Darren Clarke performs brilliantly after the death of his wife)
1979 – The Greenbrier (European players compete for the first time)
1991 – Kiawah Island (Bernhard Langer famously misses a six-footer)
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