Four points were standing between the European team and the Ryder Cup trophy and the crowds couldn’t have been more supportive of the team, with the majority of the fans being European. The thrill of the Ryder Cup is that anything can happen, as has been proved over the years. The Europeans enter the final day with an advantage over the US team, but that could easily change as the matches begin and the Americans show off their talent in singles matches. It will be tough for the Americans though, with a crowd of 40,000 behind the Europeans.
Graeme McDowell leads his team out as he tees off first at 11.36 to play against Jordan Speith. Tom Watson has deliberately put youngsters out in the first three matches as he fears that it is his older players that have the nerves. The nerves of European rookie, Stephen Gallacher, are slightly settled on the second hole of his match against Phil Mickelson as he goes 1 up after 2 by holing a 16 footer for birdie.
McIlroy takes an astonishing 5 point lead after 6 holes against Rickie Fowler. Four birdies and an eagle are on Rory’s scorecard so far and he has his serious game face on. Fowler doesn’t manage to come back from it though. Rory brings home the first point for Europe on the 14th hole with a win of 5&4. The world number one scored seven birdies, one eagle and one bogey.
By this stage, the only point that the Europeans are worried about is Thomas Bjorn’s. He is 4 down after 10. Apart from that, the remaining games that are out on the course are in favour of Europe with the exception of a few Americans that are up by one point.
Next to take a point for Europe is Graeme McDowell with a win of 2&1 against his opponent Jordan Speith, first time Ryder Cup player. Rory McIlroy is one of the first to congratulate McDowell on the course. This win takes the board to Europe 12 6 USA, just two points away from victory for the Europeans and by this stage it seems very much possible with the matches they are leading out on the course.Another point for Europe is brought home by Martin Kaymer with a 4&2 win. The German finished off the match by chipping in for eagle at 16. Minutes later, Justin Rose manages to secure a halve on the 18th after a tough round against Hunter Mahan. The atmosphere is tense now, with Europe only half a point away from retaining the Ryder Cup.
And finally, Jamie Donaldson secures the point that wins the Ryder Cup for Europe.
It was a comfortable victory for the team and Jamie Donaldson is so proud to have sealed the deal. Donaldson continuously praises his captain and all the effort he has put into working with the team. ‘He’s been an inspirational captain.’
Paul McGinley was so proud to have captained the 2014 European team and to have won the Cup in the way that they did, with the points being secured so comfortably along the way. It was a deserving win for Europe and their captain did a tremendous job of motivating the team to secure that win.
The final scores are Europe 16½ 11½ USA.
The European team celebrate together on the 18th green after the last pairing of the day, Dubuisson & Johnson, finish their match. McIlroy has the champagne at the ready and doesn’t hesitate to cover the Frenchman head to toe in it. The closing ceremony is much less formal than it has been in recent years, starting not long after the last match finishes. A gracious speech from Tom Watson is heard by the many thousands in the audience. He congratulates the Europeans on their win and tells them how wonderful he thought they have performed as a team. After captain Paul McGinley makes his heartfelt speech and the trophy is presented by First Minister Alex Salmond, there is nothing left for the Europeans to do but to celebrate, and we expect a lot of that took place on Sunday evening at Gleneagles!
Sunday 28th September 2014:
Around 45,000 spectators were expected to attend the Ryder Cup on Saturday to follow the eight matches of the day. It is the Europeans who walked on to the course with confidence on Saturday morning after leaving on Friday night with a comfortable two point lead.
Once again, Justin Rose & Henrik Stenson are first to take to the tee alongside Bubba Watson & Matt Kuchar. The European pair earned the team two points on day one of the Ryder Cup on Friday. Jamie Donaldson and Lee Westwood pair up again, playing against Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan, followed by Thomas Bjorn & Martin Kaymer against Patrick Reed & Jordan Speith. Perhaps the most surprising pairing of the day was the final fourball match. Rory McIlroy & Ian Poulter were paired to represent Europe and they played against Jimmy Walker & Ricky Fowler. Both McIlroy and Poulter found themselves in separate losing teams on Friday and the latter experienced his biggest loss in the Ryder Cup when he and Stephen Gallacher were beaten 5&4 by Jordan Speith and Patrick Reed. McGinley wanted to bring Poulter back up by pairing him with the world’s best player after he experienced such self-loathing during Friday’s match. Just before 12.00, Rose & Stenson brought a win for Europe which now put them in the lead by three points with the scoreboard at 6-3 to Europe.
Furyk & Mahan take a point for the Americans next, as they defeat Donaldson & Westwood 4&3. The European pair made an excellent team but unfortunately were up against two players who came together perfectly to take that point effortlessly. Speith & Reed beat Bjorn & Kaymer 5&3 to position the Americans even closer to the leaders on the board. The scoreboard now sits at 6-5 to Europe with only one fourball match left on the course.
The pressure is on for Poulter & McIlroy. The two Europeans bring the game back to all square on the 16th after being one down after 15 holes. The match remains all square, putting all four players under pressure going down the 18th. The Americans are fighting to equalise the scoreboard and give them a good starting position for the afternoon foursome matches. The Europeans are fighting to take a two point lead on the board. The game finishes all square after 18. The Americans have managed to repair some of their losses from Friday’s matches.
Going into the afternoon foursomes, the scoreboard is at 6½-5½ in Europe’s favour.
The afternoon foursomes announced by the two captains are:
Donaldson & Westwood v Johnson & Kuchar
Kaymer & Rose v Speith & Reed
Garcia & McIlroy v Furyk & Mahan
Dubuisson & McDowell v Walker & Fowler
The first point of the afternoon is secured on the board for Europe after Donaldson & Westwood halve the 17th hole with their opponents and win the match 2&1. Dubuisson & McDowell win another point for the Europeans after ending their game on the 14th hole with a result of 5&4.
McIlroy & Garcia put Europe even further ahead on the scoreboard with a win of 3&2. This point lifted the stress from McIlroy after his two halves and a defeat over the course of the two days at the Ryder Cup. For both of the Europeans, it was a great feeling to put their first full point on the board for Europe.
Minutes later, the last match ended all square after 18 holes. This brought the scoreboard to 10-6 in favour of the Europeans. The Americans ended the day feeling disappointed once again but Europe clearly had the upper hand. After winning the first set of matches in the morning, the Americans failed to turn the scoreboard around in their favour.
The Sunday singles tee-off times and pairings were announced on Saturday evening.
11.36 Graeme McDowell v Jordan Speith
11.48 Henrik Stenson v Patrick Reed
12.00 Rory McIlroy v Rickie Fowler
12.12 Justin Rose v Hunter Mahan
12.24 Stephen Gallacher v Phil Mickelson
12.36 Martin Kaymer v Bubba Watson
12.48 Thomas Bjorn v Matt Kuchar
13.00 Sergio Garcia v Jim Furyk
13.12 Ian Poulter v Webb Simpson
13.24 Jamie Donaldson v Keegan Bradley
13.36 Lee Westwood v Jimmy Walker
13.48 Victor Dubuisson v Zach Johnson
As defending champions, Europe needs 14 points to retain the Ryder Cup and the Americans need 14½ points to regain the trophy. Europe has a 10-6 lead going into the final day of the championship. A comeback is certainly possible for the Americans. In 2012 the Europeans came back on the final day after being 10-6 down going into the singles. The predicted winning European players for the Sunday singles are Victor Dubuisson, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter (who should be due a win after failing to earn one in the first two days of the competition) and Sergio Garcia. If four of these five players are able to secure a win for their team then Europe will retain the Cup, however the Americans have been down before and come back to take a win.
Saturday 27th September 2014:
The sun was just starting to rise as the first group made their way to the tee, where thousands packed into the grandstand and along the fairways to watch, with anticipation, the best golfers in the world. Webb Simpson got us underway with the first shot of the 40th Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
By about 8.30am, the sun is shining and the crowd is lively. The spectators are there in abundance, roaring and cheering. The atmosphere of day one is truly spectacular!
The first precious point to take its place on the scoreboard was won by Europe. Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson took the lead in their match against Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson. It was a 5&4 defeat when the group arrived off the course at 11.40am. By 12.20pm the scoreboard was showing a point for each team as Poulter & Gallacher are defeated by Speith & Reed. The scoreboard is still halved as the third group arrive in from their round with a tie between Bjorn & Kaymer and Fowler & Walker. The final group to finish their fourball match are Garcia & McIlroy v Bradley & Mickelson. After being all square after 17 holes, McIlroy & Garcia lose the match to the US pair Mickelson & Bradley which puts the scoreboard to: Europe 1½ USA 2½.
That brings an end to the morning fourballs. On the agenda for the afternoon are the foursomes.
Poulter is dropped from the foursomes and Dubuisson makes his debut appearance.
The pairings announced by the two captains for the afternoon foursomes are:
1.15pm Donaldson & Westwood v Furyk & Kuchar
1.30pm Rose & Stenson v Mahan & Fowler
1.45pm McIlroy & Garcia v Walker & Fowler
2.00pm Dubuisson & McDowell v Mickelson & Bradley
All twelve players from each team have now been given a chance to feature in day one of the Ryder Cup for which they have all worked so hard. Furyk & Kuchar put Europe back on par with Team USA. The two won the match 2&1 to put the scoreboard to: Europe 2½ USA 2½. Rose holes a three-footer for the match at 17 to put Europe up by one point. The match between Garcia & McIlroy v Fowler & Walker was halved to put the scoreboard to a tight 4-3 to Europe. McDowell & Dubuisson won it for Europe and put the scoreboard at 5-3 with Europe in the lead at the end of the first day of the Ryder Cup 2014.
And what a day it was at Gleneagles. The Americans were disappointed by the fact that they had come so close but had just not managed to adapt to the conditions of the course quite as well as the Europeans had. It’s all to play for on day two though, anything could happen!
Friday 26th September 2014:
The Johnnie Walker Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony certainly did Scotland proud and welcomed what is thought to be one of the biggest crowds ever for the event, despite being chillier than Scotland’s recent weather during this year’s Indian summer. Both the European and USA team were kitted out in matching tartan suits. The Ceremony was introduced by Sky Sports Presenter Di Dougherty who married husband Nick Dougherty - European Tour player - last year in Scotland at the Old Course Hotel in the home of golf, St Andrews.
US Captain Tom Watson announced two slightly odd pairings for games 1 & 4 and very surprising pairings for games 2 & 3:
1. Bubba Watson & Webb Simpson
2. Jimmie Walker & Rickie Fowler
3. Jordan Reith & Patrick Reed
4. Keegan Bradley & Phil Mickelson
Whilst Europe’s Paul McGinley created even more surprises in his pairings, particularly Thomas Bjorn with Martin Kaymer in the second game and Ian Poulter with Scotland’s lone representative Stephen Gallacher in the third game.
1. Justin Rose & Henrik Stenson
2. Thomas Bjorn & Martin Kaymer
3. Stephen Gallacher & Ian Poulter
4. Sergio Garcia & Rory McIlroy
Time will tell whether both or neither showed a touch of genius with these pairings!