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Four greatest Ryder Cup moments ahead of 41st edition in Hazeltine

Simon Sinclair | September 23, 2016

Greatest Ryder Cup moments

The Ryder Cup is one of the most exciting events on the sporting calendar, seemingly bringing drama in almost every tournament.

Every two years, players from Europe (11/8 to lift the trophy) and the USA (4/7 favourites) either delight audiences with their outstanding play or gestures of sportsmanship on the course.

Here, Coral take a look at some of the greatest moments in the history of the Ryder Cup…

Jack Nicklaus’ concession (1969)

One of the finest moments of sportsmanship in the history of the competition that came from arguably the greatest player in the game. After years of dominance from the United States, Great Britain appeared to have a strong chance of winning the trophy for the first time in 12 years going into the final afternoon of singles.

However, the US reduced their two-point deficit with two matches to play. In the last contest, Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin were battling it out for the trophy. On the 18th Nicklaus appeared to swing the competition in his team’s favour by holing his effort, leaving Jacklin with a two-footer to ensure it was not an outright victory for the US.

The decision was taken out of his hands by Nicklaus, who conceded the putt leaving both men with a half a point. The American told Jacklin on the green: “I didn’t think you were going to miss that putt, but I didn’t want to give you the opportunity.”

Justin Leonard’s 45ft putt (1999)

The odds were stacked against the United States going into the final day of the 1999 Ryder Cup in Brookline. Ben Crenshaw’s men trailed 10-6, knowing that no team in the history of the competition had overturned more than a two-point deficit to win the trophy.

On Sunday, the US stormed out of the blocks winning the opening six singles matches as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Davis Love III, Hal Sutton, Tom Lehmann and David Duval all recorded victories to erase Europe’s lead.

Paul Lawrie and Padraig Harrington stemmed the tide for Mark James’ side, but Jim Furyk’s win over Sergio Garcia left the US needing only half a point to secure the trophy.

Step forward Justin Leonard who reeled back Jose Maria Olazabal to leave their match all square on the 17th. The American had a lengthy 45ft putt to all but win the competition, but produced one of the finest moments on the green in the history of the competition to sink his effort.

Celebrations from the US team marred the event, though, as Olazabal still had a putt to halve the hole, which he went on to miss to allow the cup to remain in the States.


(Beginning at 2:46)

Ian Poulter begins the Miracle at Medinah (2012)

Europe were well and truly on the back foot in the 2012 Ryder Cup as the US team captained by Davis Love III raced into 10-6 lead and appeared to be closing in on reclaiming the crown.

Only Poulter kept Jose Maria Olazabal’s men in the competition, and his putt in the final match of four balls would play a significant role in driving Europe back into contention.

On the 18th green, the Englishman was left with a 12ft putt to reduce the deficit to four points, the same margin the US overturned in 1999, and he duly delivered displaying his nerves of steel.

Martin Kaymer completes the comeback (2012)

Like the States in 1999, Europe immediately turned the tide on their opponents, winning the opening five matches of singles as Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Lawrie and Poulter all triumphed.

Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner tried to turn the momentum back in the home side’s favour, but Kaymer produced a fine series of shots to put Europe into a winning position on the 18th green in his clash against Steve Stricker.

The German held his nerve to send Europe and Olazabal into raptures, bringing the trophy safely back over the Atlantic.

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