Medinah saw one of the great Ryder matches in history Sunday. (Getty Images)
This didn't quite go like anyone expected, but then, when it comes to the Ryder Cup, you shouldn't expect anything but chaos. And when it was over, Europe had pulled off one of the great comebacks in golf history, defeating the United States.
Coming into the Sunday singles matches, Europe faced a four-point deficit, the exact same deficit the U.S. faced in 1999 when it triumphed at Brookline. And with the Americans' acknowledged superiority at one-on-one golf, this Ryder Cup could've been over before most of the players even reached the turn.
But, naturally, it didn't play out that way. Both Europe and the United States frontloaded their lineups, Europe with some of the world's best players and the Americans with players who've played spectacularly well at Medinah. And it all broke the Europeans' way, with the first five matches ending up in Europe's hands.
The key to this Ryder Cup came not on Sunday, but on Saturday night. The United States was up 10-4 and apparently on the way to a rout. But the Europeans rallied to take the last two matches of the night, and that gave them desperately needed momentum to roll into Sunday with optimism.
And in the end, Europe did what the United States could not: close on 17 and 18. Player after player put all-square matches in the European column with stunning, clutch play on the final two holes. When the Americans look back on this one, they'll realize it was lost on the final holes of the final day.
For instance, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk both led by one standing on the tee at 17. Both lost their matches. Not much else to say than that, is there?
The entire Cup came down to Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, players who had lost all three of their previous matches together this week. They came close, so very close, but couldn't close it out on the final two holes. Martin Kaymer holed his final putt to clinch the battle in favor of Jose Maria Olazabal's European team.
And so the Cup returns to Europe. We'll see it next in 2014 at Gleneagles, Scotland. But there'll be plenty of second-guessing and analysis before then ... starting Sunday night.
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