The euphoria of Europe’s stunning win over USA in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor has dimmed a shade, so the time has come to take a look at the moment the Ryder Cup was won.
Graeme McDowell’s nerveless display against Hunter Mahan? Luke Donald’s brilliance against Jim Furyk? Padraig Harrington filling his partner Ross Fisher with confidence to drain putts from all round the course? Rory McIlroy’s superb up and down from the sand on 18 for a half against Stewart Cink?
All of the above are worthy of mentions and undoubtedly played a part in Europe’s win, but for all the effort that went in to the win they were given an almighty helping hand by an almighty blunder.
USA rookie Rickie Fowler earned huge praise for his brilliance in battling back from four down in his singles match with Edoardo Molinari to snatch a half. Fowler birdied 15, 16, 17 and 18 to prove in no uncertain terms that he is a star of the future and an almost certain key figure for USA for years to come.
But roll back the clock a couple of days and Fowler was taught a very harsh lesson in foursomes golf. As opposed to fourballs, a pair plays just one ball and it has to be the same make and model of ball. Fowler is contracted to a different ball manufacturer to his partner Jim Furyk and when the latter pulled his tee shot on the fourth into an unplayable position, Fowler – instead of cleaning the original ball and reusing it – dipped into his pocket and pulled out his own ball. The problem was, it was not the same make and model which is an automatic loss of hole.
Fowler and Furyk went on to half the match, but without that aberration on four it could well have been a victory. And that extra half point would have been the difference between retaining and losing the Ryder Cup.
The 21-year-old Fowler covered himself in glory for much of the time at Celtic Manor, displaying a nerveless attitude and commitment to the cause, but that moment of madness proved to be such a key moment in the match.
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|Alex Livie found his way to ESPN after learning his trade with Sky Sports, Setanta Sports and Eurosport. He is running out of companies with sport in their name so has made it his raison d'être to ensure ESPN.co.uk has the website it deserves.|
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