America was ousted 14 ½ – 13 ½ by Europe, who has now won seven of the past nine Ryder Cups, even with America going into the final day with a 10-6 lead. America came back from that same score in 1999, which, at the time, was the greatest comeback in Cup history.
Things looked shaky early on for Europe, as the No. 1 golfer in the world, Rory McIlroy, arrived to the course just eight minutes before his scheduled tee time upon police escort. McIlroy apparently was on the Eastern Time Zone despite the tournament being played in Illinois. He had no time for practice, but he didn’t need any.
McIlroy still came up with birdie after birdie, and was able to beat Keegan Bradley to give Europe some early momentum. Bradley never led the match.
Phil Mickelson lost a frustrating match to Justin Rose. Rose finished out holes 16-18 in fashion, nailing three puts that were a combined 59 feet long, including birdies on 17 and 18.
Tiger Woods cannot be forgotten here either. Woods was the anchor for the U.S. and didn’t win a single match all weekend. He missed a 3 ½-foot putt on the 18th hole of the final day, conceding a half point and helping secure the win for Europe.
Woods’ fellow anchor, Steve Stricker, too was unable to win a single match all weekend. Stricker watched in disbelief as European Martin Kaymer drained a clinching 6-foot putt, gaining the point Europe needed to go ahead.
This was a heart wrenching loss for America on its own soil. Who knows what would have happened if there was a little bit more traffic in Medinah, Ill. and McIlroy would have arrived 15 minutes later. Or if Justin Rose wasn’t able to drain a 35-foot birdie putt on 17.
Unfortunately for America, McIlroy got there with a few minutes to spare, and Rose was able to make the putt. It just wasn’t in the cards for America this weekend.
John Hilsenroth Jr. can be reached at email@example.com