Ryder Cup 2012: Europeans Win the Greatest Show in Golf

Fred Altvater@@tolohgolfrContributor IIOctober 1, 2012

The Europeans have won 7 of the last 9 Ryder Cups
The Europeans have won 7 of the last 9 Ryder CupsRoss Kinnaird/Getty Images

Before everyone starts pointing fingers and assigning blame for the USA loss on Sunday, let’s look at the facts.

The Americans, led by Captain Davis Love, had built up a four-point lead heading into Sunday singles.  Love had been pushing all of the right buttons to forge a large lead after four rounds of team matches.

The USA Team was 5-3 in the Foursomes matches. 

Normally the USA Team is content in winning a total of three points in Foursomes.

The Americans were also 5-3 in the two Four-Ball sessions and took a four point lead into the Sunday Singles. 

The singles is where the Americans really do well, right?

Not so fast my friend.  European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal had a plan, and he had the magic of Seve Ballesteros on his side.

Olazabal drew some criticism for holding Ian Poulter out of the Friday afternoon Four-Ball matches, as he wanted Poulter rested and ready for the balance of the competition.  Ollie paired him with world No. 1 Rory McIlroy for the Saturday afternoon Four-Ball, as he wanted Poulter to show the kid what passion for the Ryder Cup is all about. 

Poulter did not disappoint. 

He birdied the final five holes to win the match and give a much needed point to the Europeans.  His performance in that match proved to be the impetus the Europeans so desperately needed to pull off their miraculous comeback on Sunday.

Captain Olazabal front-loaded his team on Sunday.  Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose won in the first four matches and erased the American lead.

Born-again European Ryder Cuppers Paul Lawrie and Sergio Garcia picked up huge wins for the Europeans in their matches, as well. When Lee Westwood made the first putt that he had made all week on No. 16 to close out Matt Kuchar, the Europeans needed just one more point to secure the Cup.

Martin Kaymer has struggled with his game for two years and has fallen from No. 1 in the world all the way down to No. 32.  All of that did not matter, though, as the German sank a 6-foot putt for par on the 18th green to edge out Steve Stricker and seal the winning point for the European Team.

Many will blame Davis Love for this loss. 

As in all team sports, the coaches tend to get too much credit when a team wins and too much blame when a team loses.  For two days, Love looked like a genius as his players performed above expectations. 

In the end, the Europeans got some remarkable performances from their players and beat a very good American team.

I say: Hats off to the European Team and their Captain Jose Maria Olazabal.

Now that it’s all over, the Biennial Ryder Cup matches between the best golfers in the United States and the best golfers from Europe continue to be the “Greatest Show in Golf,” and I’m already getting excited for the 2014 Ryder Cup.