Monday, 01 October 2012
Brilliant Europe win The Ryder Cup  (Getty Images)
Brilliant Europe win The Ryder Cup (Getty Images)
Europe's triumphant players had Seve Ballesteros on their minds after their remarkable Ryder Cup victory in Medinah.

The team wore the colours so associated with Ballesteros - a navy jumper, trousers and white shirt - in Sunday's singles, with an iconic silhouette of the five-time Major winner on their shirt sleeves.

The image recreated Ballesteros' most famous pose, a clenched-fist salute to the crowd after holing the winning putt in the 1984 Open Championship at St Andrews, an image the Spaniard used for his own company and had tattooed on his left arm.

Ballesteros, who Captained Europe to victory in his native Spain in 1997 after playing in the biennial contest eight times, died in May last year after a long illness, but was always going to be a key figure during the captaincy of his cup partner José María Olazábal.

"I have no doubt in my mind that he was with me today all day, because there's no chance I would have won my match if he wasn't there," said Sergio Garcia, who won the last two holes to claim a crucial win over Jim Furyk.

"It was amazing and it feels so good to be able to win it for him and for our Captain, Jose; it's been amazing."

Justin Rose had spoken fondly about Ballesteros earlier in the week, remembering how the Padrena man had consoled him during the run of 21 consecutive missed cuts at the start of his professional career.

And after also winning the last two holes – both with birdies – to beat Phil Mickelson, the Englishman added: "In the moment you've got to do what you've got to do, but as soon as I holed that putt (on the 18th), as soon as I came off the green, my first thought has been to Seve, absolutely.

"I had a glance down and looked at my left sleeve and that's the kind of stuff he would have done today."

Speaking before the remarkable comeback had been completed, Rose added: "He's been an inspiration for this team all week long and who knows, if something crazy happens today, I know that we are going to be looking upwards."

Ian Poulter was another European player to win the last two holes of his match, making it four wins out of four and an amazing 12 wins in his 15 Ryder Cup matches.

"This was a team performance and the team have done an unbelievable job," said Poulter, one of Olazabal's two wild cards. "There was a buzz in the team room last night that didn't feel like we had a four-point deficit.

"For some reason, everyone was calm. Everyone was cracking jokes. We just felt we had that tiny little chance and the boys have proved it today and made history. It has been unbelievable.

"My Captain picked me to come and play and I owe it to him, and Seve, to be here today. It's pretty special."
For Europe’s indomitable leader Olazábal, so often associated with his compatriot for their record-breaking partnership in the transatlantic event, Ballesteros was always going to play a big part in his tenure and so it proved as his team performed a feat of escapology on Sunday worthy of his late friend’s finest efforts.

“Seve will always be present,” said an elated and emotional Olazábal. “Seve will always be present with this team. He was a big factor for this event, for the European side and last night when we were having that meeting I think the boys understood that believing was the most important thing, and I think they did.”

It has been an enthralling, invigorating and perhaps cathartic experience for Olazábal, as he reflected in his closing thoughts.

“All men die and not all men live,” he said at the closing ceremony, before turning to his 12-man team and adding, “but you made me feel alive once again this week.

“I am pretty sure he is pretty happy wherever he is today."

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