The final day at the 2012 Ryder Cup was simply extraordinary. Here are Nick Sinclair’s final thoughts after being in attendance at one of the greatest sporting events in history.
Final thoughts, by Nick Sinclair
Although he lost his singles match to Rory McIlroy on Sunday, no one played with more energy and enthusiasm this week than Keegan Bradley. The American fans adored him and he looks like he will be a US Ryder Cup stalwart for years to come. That being the case, and with the benefit of hindsight, it now seems baffling that Davis Love opted to leave Bradley (and playing partner Phil Mickelson) out of Saturday afternoon’s fourball session.
As NBC’s lead golf analyst Johnny Miller opined at midday Saturday, why not send Bradley out with Tiger Woods, who was struggling (amid flashes of brilliance) but who was getting no support from playing partner Steve Stricker (who had the worst Ryder Cup of any player on either team)? In the end, Love put Woods and Stricker out together again, left Bradley on ice, and Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald won a crucial point for Europe. At the time nobody knew just how important it would be.
There’s a view that the Ryder Cup means more to Europe (and its fans and players) than it does to the US. The wonderful intensity of the Chicago fans and the US team at Medinah this week should probably dispel that notion. The crowds were enormous all week, and they were enormously enthusiastic (in a largely sporting way) until about 4pm Sunday afternoon.
From the perspective of an Australian golf fan, everything about this week served as a reminder that the Presidents Cup still lags far behind the Ryder Cup in terms of tension, drama and prestige. It’s a shame for our tour professionals that they do not get to experience the gladiatorial atmosphere of the Ryder Cup. It’s the kind of environment which might have made a certain two-time British Open winner a better closer in majors!
Nobody should take anything away from the European team or its captain Jose-Maria Olazabal, who delivered the stirring victory they so badly wanted as a tribute to Seve Ballesteros. But again in hindsight, it would have been a nice gesture if Franceso Molinari had conceded Tiger Woods’ short par putt on 18. Such a gesture would have meant a 14-14 tie; but of course Europe had already retained the Ryder Cup by virtue of Martin Kaymer’s clutch 6-footer to seal his team’s 14th point.