Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 29th 2014 Contents A69
Monday, September 29, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
GLENEAGLES---"Rory s going to get you!"
hollered the Ryder Cup crowd as Rickie Fowler
stepped up to drive off the first tee.
And get him, Rory McIlroy did. Like an ogre
In five or ten years, with another ten major
championships under his belt, it will become time
to have the conversation about how McIlroy s
achievements compare with those of Tiger Woods.
When that moment comes---and everything
McIlroy is doing on and off the golf course suggests
it will---his Ryder Cup feats will tip the argument
in his favour.
McIlroy s quick-march five-and-four demolition
of Fowler---from first tee to final handshake took
less than three hours---meant Europe drew first
blood in singles yesterday, setting in motion a wave
which it surfed to Ryder Cup victory a few hours
Needing to turn around a 10-6 deficit after the
pairs matches on Friday and Saturday, the US team
hared out of the blocks. Captain Tom Watson put
his rookie hotrods, 21-year-old Jordan Spieth and
24-year-old Patrick Reed, out first and they started
to put US red on scoreboards. Spieth was mauling
Graeme McDowell on the first nine holes. Reed
was toe-to-toe with Henrik Stenson. The embers
of American hope, seemingly cold the night before,
were beginning to glow.
Then came McIlroy, as sobering as the ice-bucket
challenge, as solid as the rock in raging seas that
Europe captain Paul McGinley posted in a photo
outside their team room.
Seemingly nerveless, too. As the United States
has learned to its regret, having top-ranked players
isn t sufficient at Ryder Cup: they have to perform,
too. As golf s No. 1, McIlroy knew Europe was
depending on him. Plus, he wanted to make this
"Rory, Rory, give us a dance," beseeched the
gallery at first tee. He obliged with a hip wiggle.
Then he thumped his shot down the fairway
hemmed in by dense crowds and, with flawless
golf, quickly put himself out of sight. Four birdies
and an eagle put him 5-up after six holes and made
Fowler looked like as helpless as a gnat in a hur-
In his first three Ryder Cups, in 1997, 1999 and
2002, when he was ranked No. 1 or No. 2, Woods
won six points for the US team, winning five match-
es, halving two and losing eight. Woods has been
on six losing teams and one victorious one, in 1999.
The point he delivered in beating Fowler was
McIlroy s eighth in three Ryder Cups, where he
has won six matches, halved four and lost four. He
hasn t lost a singles match. Woods, then ranked
No. 2, lost his singles in what proved to be an ago-
nisingly close US defeat in 1997.
Still only 25, McIlroy is already a leader of the
Striding down fairways on the PGA Centenary
course, in shoes emblazoned on their heels with
the European flag, he looked comfortable with the
responsibility. Always walking ahead of Fowler, he
gobbled up the yardage with his bouncy, purposeful
And he s getting handy in spraying celebratory
Ryder Cup bubbly, too.
"He s had more champagne this summer than
any of us combined," said team-mate Justin Rose
as they swigged yet more during the post-victory
"Yeah," agreed McIlroy, "all this winning isn t
good for my health."
GLENEAGLES---Phil Mickelson says the
Americans have strayed from their win-
ning formula in the Ryder Cup.
In an awkward press conference after
Europe won the Ryder Cup handily yes-
terday, Mickelson says Paul Azinger s cap-
taincy worked at Valhalla in 2008 because
all the players were involved. With US cap-
tain Tom Watson sitting just six seats away,
he says Watson made all the decisions him-
One of those decisions was to sit Mick-
elson on the bench all of Saturday. Mick-
elson had never missed an entire day in his
nine previous Ryder Cup matches.
Watson listened to Mickelson praising
Asked to respond, Watson says they have
a different philosophy. He dismissed
Azinger s system by saying, "It s not pods.
It s 12 players."
Europe has won six of the last seven
Donaldson hits 'shot of my life'
GLENEAGLES---The decisive match. The
shot of his life. Jamie Donaldson will never
forget his Ryder Cup debut.
The chance to clinch Europe s third
straight victory in golf s biggest team event
fell to a Welsh rookie who was nothing
more than a journeyman pro only two years
He didn t let it pass.
Unaware he had already retained the cup
for Europe on the previous hole, Donaldson
hit a 9-iron from 146 yards to within 18
inches of the pin on No. 15 at Gleneagles
The crowd roared. Donaldson thrust his
right arm up in the air. He didn t need to
make the tap-in---Europe had won again.
Draped in a Welsh flag and surrounded
by joyous teammates and family members,
Donaldson says "this is the pinnacle."
Mickelson calls out Watson's style
GLENEAGLES---Europe added another layer
of Ryder Cup dominance yesterday behind
Rory McIlroy s big start, two big rallies and
a rookie who hit the shot of his life to give
this performance a finish it deserved.
Jamie Donaldson, unaware he already had
done enough to retain the Ryder Cup, hit a
9-iron that settled two feet from the cup on
the 15th hole. Keegan Bradley walked onto
the green, saw Donaldson s ball next to the
hole, removed his cap and conceded the
The result in the record book was Europe
16½, United States 11½. It s an old story
for the Americans.
Europe won for third straight time, and
now has won eight of the last ten.
"It came down to me to close it out, but
it s all about the team," Donaldson said.
"Everyone played their heart out to retain
the Ryder Cup. And that s what it s all about."
McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose
made sure the Americans would not get their
redemption from the meltdown at Medinah
two years ago as the first team to blow a
four-point lead at home.
McIlroy was 6-under par on his first six
holes and trounced Rickie Fowler to set the
tone. The Americans put plenty of red on
the board early, just not for long. McDowell
was 3-down after five holes and Rose was
four behind after six holes. McDowell rallied
to beat Jordan Spieth, while Rose earned a
halve against Hunter Mahan.
Martin Kaymer, who holed the winning
point at Medinah, put Europe on the cusp
of victory when he chipped in for eagle on
the 16th to beat Bubba Watson.
That set the stage for Donaldson.
"The shot of my life," he called it.
Europe captain Paul McGinley, who spoke
all week about a template for success, stood
by the 15th green with the rest of the players
who had finished their matches. Donaldson
was mobbed by his team-mates, another
happy occasion for Europe.
Asked for the highlight of the week,
McGinley turned to Donaldson and said,
"When you look at a face like that." He put
both hands on Donaldson s face and hugged
The Americans still can t figure out this
exhibition of team play.
They even brought back Tom Watson, at
65 the oldest captain in Ryder Cup history
and the last American captain to win on
European soil. Watson made a series of ques-
tionable moves during team play and the
Americans didn t have much hope on Sun-
Watson attributed the loss to foursomes---
Europe was unbeaten in both sessions and
collected seven of the eight points---though
McGinley wrote that off as a fluke. Asked
what he would tell his team in a final meeting,
Watson said, "You played your best, but it
wasn t enough. You ve got to find out what
it takes a little better."
Watson sure didn t find it.
Except for a victory at Valhalla behind
captain Paul Azinger in 2008, the Americans
haven t solved this Ryder Cup puzzle.
Phil Mickelson, on the bench for both ses-
sions Saturday, finished off a 2-1 week by
beating Stephen Gallacher. Asked about the
future of the Ryder Cup, Mickelson went
back to that last US victory.
"We had a great formula in 08, and I
don t know why we strayed from it," Mick-
elson said. "What Zinger did was really a
good format. Maybe we should relive that."
Europe does Ryder Cup trick
Europe's Jamie Donaldson, right, holds the trophy and celebrates with Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer after winning the 2014
Ryder Cup golf tournament at Gleneagles, Scotland, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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