After winning the 40th Ryder Cup match by a score of 16 1/2 points to 11 1/2, Europe completed an 8th victory in 10 renewals when beating the USA team at a cool Gleneagles in Scotland. The European team led by Paul McGinley were 10-6 ahead prior to the Sunday singles and despite a brave early attempt by Tom Watson’s team to narrow the advantage, it was eventually a comfortable win for the home team amid some raucous partisan support.
Among all the tales of heroism in the European camp including Ian Poulter chipping into the hole from off the green on Friday and Martin Keymer doing likewise on Sunday afternoon, there are were also players participating for whom the 2014 Ryder Cup was a personal success story on every day.
For example, Graeme McDowell won all three of his matches when earning full points from his two foursome games and then overcoming a three holes deficit against the previously unbeaten Jordan Spieth to win by 2 and 1. There were also the efforts of Justin Rose who competed in two fourballs, two foursomes and a singles match without being beaten.
Rose rarely, if ever, attracts any untoward publicity but he was staring at defeat when one hole down to Hunter Mahan as they strode along the final fairway. Yet he rescued a half point via a miscued chip shot from the American and this was at a time when the USA team were threatening a serious comeback.
Perhaps the USA team began to accept the inevitable defeat when Rory McIlroy and McDowell both claimed early victories in the Sunday singles and then Haymer and Rose increased the European score to 13 1/2 points. At that stage, the spotlight focussed on rookie Jamie Donaldson who was playing American Keegan Bradley.
Donaldson had won two his three matches during the week and was one the least heralded members of the European team. When the watching public realised that he was 4 up after playing 13 holes, quick mathematics revealed that he just needed to halve one hole to ensure that Europe reached the necessary 14 points to retain the trophy.
The Welshman duly obliged by winning his match to secure the necessary victory which allowed Europe to surpass the required total to win the Ryder Cup outright.
There were still several more matches to be completed but for the final pairing on the course, it was to prove a poignant moment. Frenchman Victor Dubuisson was regarded as the quiet man of the European team but had not been beaten on the first two days. His singles contest with Zach Johnson was one of the better matches of the 12 groupings with no more than one hole separating the pair throughout their contest. Johnson birdied the final hole to finish the match all square, but there was no joyous celebrating by Dubuisson. The job had been completed and he had justified his selection by remaining unbeaten.
There may have been much fist pumping and many pressure putts in three days of competition but amid all the frenzy of the occasion, there were moments when important points were earned without resort to great commotion.