Away Performances: Five of the Best
Europe secure first victory in America
In 1987, the American Ryder Cup team lost on home soil for the first time. After an unbeaten record of 13 consecutive victories across a period of 60 years, America was defeated 15 - 13.
After the Friday and Saturday sessions, Europe held a lead of 10½ - 5½, but the Americans hit back during the Sunday singles, winning five of the first seven matches.
In a Ryder Cup career spanning 12 years, Irishman Eamonn Darcy secured perhaps the most important point in his four appearances as he beat Ben Crenshaw on the last hole.
Bernhard Langer followed, halving with Larry Nelson, and Seve Ballesteros secured the match-winning point for the European side as his 2&1 victory over Curtis Strange secured the 14½ points needed to give Europe their first win on American soil, retaining the trophy won at The Belfry two years previous for the first time in history.
Spain’s dynamic duo
The pairing of Ballesteros and José María Olazábal was the most feared duo in the European Ryder Cup team from 1987 to 1993.
The Spaniards played in a record 15 matches, accruing 12 priceless points in the six years they played together on golf’s grandest stage, including two of Europe’s three consecutive victories in 1987 and 1989.
At The 1991 Ryder Cup at Kiawah Island, dubbed the ‘War on the Shore’, the Spanish pair secured three and a half points from four matches together for Europe, despite the away side losing out by just a single point, on a score line of 14½ - 13½.
Their overall record of 11 wins, two losses and two halves is six and a half points ahead of Peter Alliss and Christy O’Connor Snr who recorded five and a half points from 12 matches.
By contrast, the top American pair of Larry Nelson and Lanny Wadkins won four points from six games with a record of four wins and two defeats.
Faldo and Oosterhuis set a new record on American soil
Despite America’s 17-11 victory in The 1979 Ryder Cup at The Greenbrier, Sir Nick Faldo and Peter Oosterhuis left their mark as they became the first European pair to win a match by a margin of 6&5.
Faldo, who two years previous became the youngest debutant at a Ryder Cup - a record broken by Sergio Garcia 20 years later - joined compatriot Oosterhuis to take on Andy Bean and Tom Kite in their Sunday foursomes and they stormed to an impressive victory.
Europe inflict America’s heaviest ever defeat
In 2004, the European Ryder Cup team, captained by ten-time former team-member Langer travelled to Oakland Hills Country Club in fine form, with Europe having won three of the previous four Ryder Cup matches.
American Captain Hal Sutton pitched the ‘dream team’ of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods for both of Friday’s matches, but Europe took the upper hand in the morning exchanges as Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie won the four-ball 2&1 before Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood came back from a three-up deficit to win the foursomes one-up.
Europe ended the first day 6½ to 1½ ahead and inflicted further pain on the American side as they took an 11-5 lead into the Sunday singles.
Europe then took seven and a half points from a possible 12 in the singles matches and future Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley rubber-stamped Europe’s dominance with a 3&2 victory over Stewart Cink, giving his side an 18½ - 9½ win – the largest ever by a European side.
The comeback to end all comebacks
No Ryder Cup list is complete without mention of that famous afternoon four years ago.
After Friday’s matches America took a 5-3 lead into the weekend and then proceeded to control of proceedings. At one stage they led 10-4 before the pairs of Luke Donald and Garcia, and Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter, handed Europe a lifeline, winning the final four-balls before the Sunday singles.
What happened that fateful Sunday at Medinah was unprecedented. Playing against Bubba Watson, Donald won the first game 2&1 and Paul Lawrie, playing in the fifth singles game added Europe’s second point of the morning with a 5&3 victory over Brandt Snedeker.
Before they knew it, Europe were level as Poulter finished two-up against Webb Simpson. The lead exchanged hands and Jason Dufner’s two-up victory over Peter Hanson squared things up at 13-13.
The ever-reliable Martin Kaymer sank a five-foot putt on the 18th hole to give Europe an unassailable 14-13 lead, ensuring that they would retain The Ryder Cup.
Francesco Molinari then halved his match with Tiger Woods, giving Europe an outright 14½ - 13½ victory.