Here, we take a look at five of the greatest Ryder Cup comebacks
In the history of the Ryder Cup there have been nine final-day comebacks that have resulted in either a draw or a win. For sheer drama and excitement on a golf course, there is nothing quite like the biennial contest that pits the best of Europe against the best of the USA, so in this piece we have taken a look at five of the greatest Ryder Cup comebacks.
And what better place to start than with one of the most incredible sporting events in recent memory, the Miracle at Medinah.
Top 5 Greatest Ryder Cup Comebacks
2012 – Medinah Country Club
In what should be described as the greatest ever comeback in the Ryder Cup, the 2012 Miracle at Medinah was pure sporting theatre throughout. At one point, the US, playing on home soil, had a six-point lead at 10-4 on the second day with two fourball matches still out on the course.
Taking on Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner, Ian Poulter produced one of the most memorable finishes in the event’s history, birdieing the last five holes to clinch a crucial 1-up win for he and partner Rory McIlroy, which swung the momentum the way of the visitors.
Heading into the singles with a new lease of life, Europe got off to a fast start and managed to win the first five matches, with Justin Rose‘s being particularly improbable. The Englishman holed incredible putts on the 17th and 18th to beat Phil Mickelson.
Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood secured a further two points for Team Europe, leaving Martin Kaymer with a six-footer on the 18th green to retain the trophy. It was a moment of the utmost drama and the steely German made no mistake, slotting it straight in the middle and sparking emotional scenes that will live long in the memory.
In the anchor match, Francesco Molinari put the icing on the cake, with his half-point against Tiger Woods ensuring Europe won the cup outright. It was an incredible comeback made all the more significant with the passing of Seve Ballesteros a year previously.
1999 – The Country Club, Brookline
Sadly, this Ryder Cup will always be remembered for the unsavoury scenes on the 17th green and the shocking behaviour of the American players and fans. But both of those factors should not detract from what was an incredible comeback.
Down 10-6 going into the singles, the Americans came out firing, winning the first six matches. Padraig Harrington and Paul Lawrie stemmed the flow briefly, before the pivotal match between Jose Maria Olazabal and Justin Leonard reached its defining moment.
Having been four-down early on, Leonard staged a remarkable turnaround and holed a now-infamous monster putt on the 17th to secure the half-point the Americans needed for glory. We all remember what happened next.
1995 – Oak Hill Country Club
Another European comeback on American soil, the deficit this time was 9-7 heading into the singles.
The Americans got a point on the board early when Tom Lehman beat an out-of-sorts Seve Ballesteros 4&3, making the task even greater for the away side. But the Europeans responded emphatically, picking up 6.5 points from the next eight matches, before Phillip Walton’s 1-up victory against Jay Haas sealed the victory.
When it was all said and done, the Europeans had comeback to win the match 14.5-13.5, sparking an era of dominance that would last more than two decades.
1993 – The Belfry
Two years earlier, the Americans were pretty much trailing throughout the entire tournament. After day one, they were down 4.5-3.5 and the Europeans extended their advantage in the Saturday morning foursomes, winning the session 3-1.
Although the Americans did the same in the afternoon fourballs, they still trailed 8.5-7.5 ahead of the Sunday singles matches.
In an unusual twist, Sam Torrance had to withdraw due to injury, meaning his match with Lanny Wadkins was ruled a half and the Americans would claim seven points from the remaining 11 matches to win the 1993 edition 15-13.
1957 – Lindrick Golf Club
During this era of the event, the Americans utterly dominated the Ryder Cup. They had won nine of the previous 11 matches ahead of the 1957 contest, and this trend would continue into the 60s and beyond. But the match at Lindrick Golf Club proved to be a welcome exception.
Back then only 12 matches were played and after the opening foursomes, it looked like it would be another rout as the US won three from four.
But despite the clear superiority of the US side – seven of the eight Americans had won, or would later win, majors – the Europeans fought back to claim 6.5 points from the eight singles games and pull off a miraculous and totally unexpected victory.