The Ryder Cup Was Lost in the Last Two Four-Ball Matches on Saturday Afternoon

Fred AltvaterContributor IIOctober 1, 2012

Ian Poulter was 4-0 and motivated the Euros
Ian Poulter was 4-0 and motivated the EurosJamie Squire/Getty Images

Everyone witnessed Steve Stricker's missed par putt on No. 17 at Medinah on Sunday afternoon which gave Martin Kaymer a 1-up lead on the 18th tee. Kaymer held the clinching point for the Europeans firmly in his grasp. 

However, the 39th Ryder Cup was lost for the American team late on Saturday afternoon, as the shadows were beginning to cover the No. 3 course at Medinah.

When Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia won 1-up over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in the third match out in the Saturday afternoon four-ball set, the Europeans caught a glimmer of hope. That faint glimmer became a little brighter when Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter began their version of Sherman’s march to the sea. 

Standing on the 13th tee, the European team of McIlroy and Poulter were 2-down to the team of Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner. With a win the American team would take a five point lead into Sunday singles.

McIlroy proceeded to birdie the diabolical par-3, No. 13 and the lead for the USA team was now just 1-up. That is when European Ryder Cup specialist, first class Ian Poulter took over. The No. 26 player in the Official World Golf Ranking, Poulter outplayed the team No. 17, Zach Johnson and No. 9 ranked, Jason Dufner.

Poulter proceeded to birdie his way in to the beautiful Byzantine Medinah Clubhouse and when the round was complete the Euros had captured another point and would only be 4-down to the Americans heading into the Sunday session.

Remember Ben Crenshaw’s “I have a good feeling about this” speech in 1999? Crenshaw never lost faith in his team when he was the captain and his American team came from 4-down to beat the Europeans on Sunday. 

European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal used the same tactic plus sprinkled in some Seve Ballesteros inspiration for good measure.

The European Team fed off of these last two wins on Saturday and used it as motivation for one of the most amazing comebacks in golf history.

American Ryder Cup teams normally dominate the Sunday singles matches and only needed 4.5 points to return the Ryder Cup to American soil. They could only manage 3.5 points from the 12 points available and thus the Cup stayed with Europe.

The Europeans performed magnificently on Sunday but the inspiration provided by Ian Poulter's amazing performance and those two big points from the last two Four-Ball matches on Saturday afternoon proved to kick start the monumental comeback.