By Mason Jones
THE European team are celebrating their Ryder Cup victory this week after staging one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history.
The team, captained by Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal, defeated the United States by 14.5 – 13.5 points on the final day at Medinah County Club, Chicago after a 10 – 4 deficit was overturned.
One American journalist was left with egg on his face after writing off the European challenge by declaring the contest ‘over’ after just two days.
The Europeans’ final day didn’t get off to the best of starts when world number one Rory McIlroy got his start time wrong and nearly missed the teeing off.
Olazabal’s team quickly evened out their overnight deficit though, winning their first singles games to draw level, before securing a further two points from Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia to win the competition outright and retain the prestigious trophy.
The late Seve Ballesteros would have loved the scene as captain Jose Maria Olazabal and his team celebrated on the 18th green to chants of ‘Ole! Ole! Ole!’
Ozlazabal’s close friend and ‘Spanish Armada’ partner was never far from the Europeans minds throughout the contest.
Fellow Spaniard, Sergio Garcia, who claimed the crucial win over Jim Furyk said: “I have no doubt in my mind that he (Seve) was with me today all day, because there’s no chance I would have won my match if he wasn’t there.”
Englishman Ian Poulter lived up to his word when he announced on the eve of the final day that: “It’s going to be bloody hard tomorrow, but we’ve got to take it to them.”
Poulter proved to be Europe’s star at Medinah and although he has never won a major, his Ryder Cup record now reads an impressive ‘won 12, lost three’.
“You know what, these might be my majors,” Poulter said.
“If they are, that’s fine. If this is it, I’m a happy man. I’ve got more pride and passion to give in the Ryder Cup than I feel to win a major. I want to win one, don’t get me wrong, I’d like to win them all.
“I’ve been close and who knows, this might be the little changing factor to get me over that line, but if I don’t win another tournament, today will go down as the highlight of my golfing career.”
“Poulter was awesome,” said McIlroy. “When he gets that look in his eye he can do anything.”
Prime Minister David Cameron was quick to jump on the bandwagon, releasing a statement saying: “This remarkable comeback is yet another 2012 sporting success for us all to celebrate.”