Ryder Cup 2012: Europe pull off amazing comeback to beat USA

Europe produced a stunning comeback in the final day to win the Ryder Cup at Medinah. The United States required only four-and-a-half points from the 12 on offer, but the Europeans secured eight and a half to claim a historic 14½-13½ win.

Martin Kaymer delivered a five-foot putt on the 18th green to get his team to the 14 points needed to retain the trophy. Then a Tiger Woods bogey on the final green of the final match gifted Jose Maria Olazabal's side overall victory. The win matches the record recovery of Ben Crenshaw's US team in Boston in 1999 and is the best ever from a European side in the Ryder Cup. It was a perfect tribute to the late Seve Ballesteros, the man who did so much to reinvigorate the competition and whose trademark colours the side wore on the final day in Chicago.

"Seve will always be present with this team," said European captain Olazabal. "He was a big factor for this event, for the European side. Last night, when we were having a meeting, I think the boys understood that believing was the most important thing. And I think they did."

The battle was unbelievably tense, with one side grabbing the initiative before the other snatched it back, until it came down to the last two matches on the final two holes. Both were all-square, with overall score locked at 13-13.

When Steve Stricker three-putted on the 17th, Kaymer had a one-hole lead. The German then made a brilliant approach from a bunker on 18, rolling home the pivotal putt as Stricker crumbled under the pressure. It was left to Italian Molinari to seal overall victory, when he halved his match with Tiger Woods.

Poulter had gone two holes down early and only went in front for the first time on par-three 17th when Simpson finally cracked under the enormous pressure and stuffed his tee-shot into the bunker left. Simpson then pulled his iron approach to the 18th while Poulter fired his from out in the oak trees to 13 feet. When the American's desperate long putt sailed way past, Europe had their third point in three.

With Woods going one up on Molinari on 17, Kaymer had two putts for the Cup. And he somehow held his nerve as the shadows lengthened to seal an extraordinary triumph. With the packed home galleries silent with disbelief, a dazed Woods then blew two putts from within eight feet to hand Molinari a half point and with it overall victory to the Europeans.

"The boys understood that believing was the most important thing and they did," said Olazabal. "To the 12 men of Europe, what you did out there was outstanding. All men die but not all men live and you made me feel alive again this week."

US captain David Love admitted defeat was difficult to take and compared it to the loss Europe suffered in 1999. "We know what it feels like now," he said. "It's a little bit shocking. We were playing so well."

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