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Europe completes frantic comeback to retain Ryder Cup

This news story was published on September 30, 2012.
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By Jeff Shain, Orlando Sentinel –

MEDINAH, Ill. — With a comeback that would have made Seve Ballesteros proud, Europe has retained the Ryder Cup.

Captain Jose Maria Olazabal’s lads wiped out a four-point deficit by sweeping the first five matches of Sunday singles, then outdueled their U.S. counterparts in the final nail-biting minutes to celebrate a 141/2 to 131/2 triumph.

Martin Kaymer — who had fallen on hard times since reaching world No.1 just 18 months ago – provided the clinching point with a 1-up victory over Steve Stricker. After leaving himself a 6-foot par save at No.18, the German’s putt dropped into the heart of the cup.

“I’m so, so happy,” Kaymer said as his teammates danced around him. “On 18 I was a little too aggressive (with my first putt), but I wanted to make it. I’m just so happy. I’m happy for Olazabal as well.”

Olazabal, who teamed with the late Ballesteros to form the indomitable “Spanish Armada” that keyed so many Ryder Cup victories, kept his composure until his fellow Spaniard’s name came up.

Ballesteros died in May 2011 after a long battle with brain tumors.

“The boys did an unbelievable job,” Olazabal said. “I’ve got a few thoughts for my friend Seve.”

Then Olazabal leaned his head back, pulled his cap over his eyes and cried: “This one is for him!”

The Europeans managed to duplicate the biggest Sunday comeback in Ryder Cup history — the legendary 1999 U.S. rally at The Country Club at Brookline, Mass.

“They came back and won,” said U.S. captain Davis Love III, who was a member of that 1999 squad. “Give them a lot of credit. They had a couple of hot streaks that kept them in it.”

All told, Europe won eight of the 12 singles matches and got a halve from Molinari against Tiger Woods. The only U.S. wins came from Dustin johnson, Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner.

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