The 2010 Ryder Cup came to an electrifying close today. The Euro team came out on top with a 14-1/2 to 13-1/2 victory over the United States team, which made a valiant effort to seize what most people would have said was an insurmountable comeback.
The weather was a hassle all week. All the matches were delayed on the first and second days, meaning that there would be a Monday finish. The weather was a significant advantage for the Europeans. The greens were already planned to be running slow at about a 10, and if you add the amount of rain that the course got, the greens had to be running around a 9 on the stimpmeter. Americans are used to playing on quick, fast, and readable greens, while Europeans have to play in more bad-weather situations overseas. That being said, the Americans started rolling in the putts right off the bat on the first day, but as the tournament went on, they struggled with their putting.
The United States began the last day behind three full points. They needed to win seven matches outright and halve another. It's happened before, in 1999, in which the United States was down four points and cameback to win the Cup, but that was on American soil. The course was wet and played a lot longer, which normally would favor the Americans, but not at Celtic Manor where Euro Team Captain Colin Montgomerie decided long before the Ryder Cup began to grow out the ruff and to narrow the fairways, which made for a tough time for the inaccurate American team.
The last reason that the Americans struggled to pull out the impossible is because of the matchups. Tiger Woods playing Molinari? Phil Mickelson playing Hanson? The great comeback could not possibly have worked unless Tiger and Phil were playing two players who were meaningful, like a Rory Mcllroy or Ian Poulter.
Even with all that, the comeback should have happened. Stewart Cink is the underlying cause to me. If Cink makes one of the four-foot putts that he had on the 15th and 17th holes, then he gets a full point for the Americans and the two teams tie at 14-14, which means the United States still would hold the Cup.
The matches were nothing short of thrillers. It was the amazing effort that Steve Stricker gave to close out the world No. 2 Lee Westwood, the unbelievable finish that Rickie Fowler made to keep the United States alive, and the dominant performances by Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Zach Johnson that almost replicated the 1999 Ryder Cup in exciting fashion.
Even though America lost, the 2010 Ryder Cup will be one to remember.