2012 Ryder Cup Closing Ceremony: U.S. Collapse Is Testament to European Talent

Sam R. QuinnSenior Analyst IIISeptember 30, 2012

MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30:  Luke Donald of Europe and Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal celebrate after Europe defeats the United States at The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The 2012 Ryder Cup was one for the ages—if you're not a member of the United States team.

Martin Kaymer's trophy-winning putt on the 18th hole at the Medinah Country Club sent the European attendees into jubilation in Chicago, as Europe finished off an improbable comeback against the United States to win 14.5 to 13.5.

Prior to Sunday's singles matches, the Americans held a commanding 10-6 lead after three rounds of high-level play, but the golf gods did not smile upon them on this day.

Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Rory McIlroy and Co. surrounded Kaymer and jumped up and down when the final results had been solidified, while Davis Love III's side stared in disbelief.

Sky Sports Golf offered a quote from Poulter (via Twitter), who beat Webb Simpson on the final two holes of their back-and-forth round:

Ian Poulter: "Ollie said to us at the start of the week, Ryder Cup is what memories and dreams are made of, and he's been awesome."

— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) September 30, 2012

This European victory is going to be seen as a terrible United States collapse—and rightfully so, as this was simply brutal—but the European side needs to get some credit as well.

It takes two sides for a collapse to come to fruition. The Americans could have played just as dreadfully as they did on the final day, but it wouldn't have meant anything if Europe's golfers turned in a stinker as well.

Jose Maria Olazabal's crew won eight of the 12 matches on Sunday, tied one and conceded just three to the Americans, who will be kicking themselves after a lost opportunity.

The European team has some of the best golfers that the world has to offer—both in the Ryder Cup and on the PGA Tour.

McIlroy finished the 2012 PGA Tour circuit nearly $2 million ahead of Tiger Woods on the money list and has been deemed the man who will succeed Woods atop the golf world.

Former world No. 1 Donald makes up the bottom third of the world's top three behind McIlroy and Woods. He wasn't at his best in 2012, but his final two rounds this weekend paved the way for Europe.

Westwood finished the 2012 season in the top five in the world, and while Rose, the South African, wasn't born on continental Europe, he sits right behind Westwood.

Garcia and McDowell have proved themselves in the past. Despite being somewhat of afterthoughts in the golfing universe, they are still two of the best at their craft.

There's no denying that there is a great crop of talent on the European side. The United States certainly must shoulder some of the blame, but Europe's golfers must be commended on their roaring comeback and nerves of steel.