Monday, 01 October 2012
Team Europe celebrate  (Getty Images)
Team Europe celebrate (Getty Images)

Bill Elliott, Golf Monthly Editor at Large and Chairman of the Association of Golf Writers: "There will never be a Ryder Cup like the 39th version at Medinah"


RING the bells, sound those trumpet calls, light beacons on the hills.  Most of all sing Olé, Olé, Olé, Olé. Loudly.

There never again will be a Ryder Cup like this 39th version at Medinah. Why? There simply can't be. Even that most unpredictable of things, big time sport, cannot come up with something as wonderfully fabulous as this final Sunday in the suburbs of Chicago.

Four points behind an apparently rampant US side, few of us gave Europe much hope of victory. There was some defiantly brave talk, most of it in bars late on Saturday night when logic is caressed by a swaying kind of anaesthesia.

But in the cold, clear air of a perfect autumnal morning here those hopes seemed ridiculously misplaced as the thousands of American fans embraced the edges of this terrific course and prepared to roar on Davis Love's men.

Wear red, the PGA of America had urged and wear red they did, a long sea of this colour stretching everywhere one cared to look. Sprinkled here and there was the yellow and blue of Europe, the occasional defiant song breaking out now and then.

What José María Olazábal wanted to happen was for his top-loaded players to put blue on the leaderboards around the course early and so subdue the US team's supporters. It was, even on paper, a slim hope but cometh the day cometh the men and Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose plus the strong, reinvented figure of Paul Lawrie did their captain proud.

One by one these players edged ahead of their opponents. One by one they began to paint those leaderboards blue, one by one the rest of us began to believe that something extraordinary was indeed happening in front of our startled eyes on this remarkable day.

Of course, as hope grew vibrantly on one side, so desperation began to infiltrate an apparently impregnable American team. Suddenly the improbable became the possible before turning into the most singular achievement in the history of this competition.

Match after match came to the closing holes and in the majority of these contests it was the European's will that prevailed, the European clutch putts that dropped.

And of course it ended in tears. It was always going to. José María had dedicated this Ryder Cup to his great friend and mentor Severiano Ballesteros. On this Sunday Seve's famous St Andrews silhouette was on every European shirt sleeve.

More importantly, his spirit ran through this team. “Seve taught me one thing above all else,” José María had said at the beginning of the week. “Never give in, never quit, anything is possible in this game.”

On a vibrant day this thought has never been more beautifully exampled. As the climax came José María flicked a glance at the heavens and then began quietly to cry. He was not alone. Olé, Olé, Olé. The perfect end to the perfect summer of sport.

We'll never see its like again. Just be thankful we saw it once.


Get Adobe Flash player

Video Editor's ChoiceMore

Latest PhotosMore

  • Paul Lawrie, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn after the Northern Irishman named the three his first vice captains picks
  • The Ryder Cup
  • The Ryder Cup trophy
  • European Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke holds a press conference at Royal Portrush Golf Clubto launch the Ryder Cup Trophy Tour
  • European Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke holds a press conference at Royal Portrush Golf Club to launch the Ryder Cup Trophy Tour
  • European Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke poses with the trophy at Royal Portrush Golf Club as part of the Ryder Cup Trophy Tour launch on April 12, 2016
  • European Tour CEO Keith Pelley presents the Ryder Cup trophy to Italy
  • European Tour CEO Keith Pelley (R) congratulating Italy on their successful Ryder Cup bid
  • (L-R) European Tour CEO Keith Pelley and Italian Golf Federation President Franco Chimenti shake the hands after signing the agreement before the Ryder Cup 2022 press conference at Foro Italico
  • Packed conference at the Coni Building in Rome
  • US Ryder Cup Vice Captains
  • Davis Love III and Darren Clarke address the media during the 2016 Ryder Cup Captains' Press Conference at Hazeltine National Golf Club
  • Ryder Cup Captains Davis Love III and Darren Clarke
  • Broadcaster Damon Hack, Davis Love III and Darren Clarke on the set of Morning Drive on Golf Channel
  • Darren Clarke and Davis Love III during the 2016 Ryder Cup Captains' Fireside Chat hosted by David Feherty at the Orpheum Theatre
  • Where Legends are Forged
  •  Davis Love III, US Ryder Cup Captain and Darren Clarke, European Ryder Cup Captain
  • The Ryder Cup Trophy
  • Ryder Cup Captains Davis Love III (left) and Darren Clarke pose with the Ryder Cup trophy and a signed golf bag during the 2016 Ryder Cup "Welcome To Minnesota" Breakfast
  • Seve and Ollie

Ryder Cup Official Partners

  • Rolex
  • BMW

Media Centre

Official Partner

Official Suppliers

This website is © The PGA European Tour 1997 - 2016. PGA European Tour, Wentworth Drive, Virginia Water, Surrey, GU25 4LX. Registered in England No. 1867610.
All rights reserved. No reproduction, distribution or transmission of any information, part or parts of this website by any means whatsoever is permitted without the prior written permission of the PGA European Tour.