Golf Top 10 Ryder Cup moments

Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros and the Miracle of Medinah feature in our rundown of great Ryder Cup moments.

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Ahead of the latest edition of the Ryder Cup, which begins at Hazeltine on Friday, we look back at some of the most memorable moments in an event synonymous with drama.

Jack Nicklaus conceding a putt to Tony Jacklin and the exploits of Seve Ballesteros in a newly expanded European team have entered the competition's folklore.

A bereaved Darren Clarke's courage in 2006 and the Miracle of Medinah four years ago are heroics fresh in the memory of golf fans worldwide. 

As 24 players prepare to try and write a thrilling new Ryder Cup chapter, we look at the top 10 moments so far in the history of the fiercely contested prize.

 

REES BREAKS BRITAIN'S DROUGHT

Great Britain were staring at the prospect of yet another defeat when they went 3-1 down after the foursome matches at Lindrick Golf Club in Yorkshire in 1957, but the hosts, captained by Welshman Dai Rees, won a remarkable six of eight matches in the singles, 55 years before the Miracle of

Medinah. A 7.5 to 4.5 win saw the Ryder Cup held aloft by Britain for the first time since 1933. They never won it again alone, needing European reinforcements to end the United States' hegemony in 1985.

 

NICKLAUS CONCEDES TO JACKLIN

In a gesture almost unthinkable in the context of the modern, hyper-competitive editions of the Ryder Cup, Nicklaus, despite the event being yet to take on its spiky edge, still incurred the displeasure of his US team-mates when he conceded a three-foot putt to Jacklin on the 18th at Royal Birkdale in 1969.

One of the great demonstrations of sportsmanship, Nicklaus' generosity meant the competition ended in a draw for the first time, although the trophy still went back across the Atlantic with the holders.

 

TORRANCE TURNS THE TIDE

Jacklin, after losing on his captaincy debut in 1983, went on to finally orchestrate the demise of the US for the first time in 26 years at the Belfry two years later, as Europe, featuring Sandy Lyle, Ian Woosnam, Bernhard Langer, Nick Faldo and the late, great Ballesteros, secured a 16.5 to 11.5 win,

Sam Torrance sealing it with a 22-footer on the 18th to beat Andy North one up.

 

OLAZABAL DANCES UP A STORM

The incomparable Ballesteros sunk the putt that saw Europe win on American soil for the first time at Muirfield Village in 1987, but his fellow Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal promptly grabbed the spotlight, flamenco dancing with delight on the green in Ohio, as the visitors, captained again by

Jacklin, defied the odds to overcome a US side led by Nicklaus on a course he not only designed but also tailored to suit his players, albeit to no avail. Ole!

 

REDEMPTION FOR O'CONNOR AT THE BELFRY

Christy O'Connor Jr failed to contribute a single point on his Ryder Cup debut in a crushing 21-11 loss for Great Britain and Ireland at Laurel Valley in 1975. He was then overlooked for a captain's pick by Jacklin in 1985, despite being agonisingly close to automatic qualification.

The Irishman achieved redemption at the Belfry four years later, sending a 229-yard two iron to within four feet of the pin on the 18th to see off Fred Couples and help Europe retain their crown courtesy of a 14-14 draw.

 

WOE FOR LANGER IN WAR ON THE SHORE

Bernhard Langer overcame several years of the dreaded yips to return to the top of his game but he was unable to sink the six-footer Europe needed to retain the Ryder Cup at Kiawah Island in 1991.

A pair of spike marks in the line of the putt may have played their part, as the ball grazed the right side of the hole, giving Hale Irwin a half and the US a dramatic 14.5 to 13.5 win.

 

SKIPPER SEVE INSPIRES AT VALDERRAMA

After tilting the balance of power in favour of the perennial underdogs as a player, Ballesteros helped to establish what has proved to be a dynasty of European success by taking over captaincy duties on home soil, the competition moving across the English Channel to the continent for the first time, Valderrama Golf Club in Andalusia hosting the 1997 edition.

Colin Montgomerie halved the final match with Scott Hoch to hold off a last-day US comeback and secure a thrilling 14.5 to 13.5 win, Ballesteros having created the blueprint for a hands-on, modern captain.

 

US CROSS THE LINE AT BROOKLINE

One of the most confrontational and ill-tempered Ryder Cups, a gripping US comeback at Brookline in 1999 culminated in Tom Lehman leading other members of the host team to celebrate on the 17th green after Justin Leonard holed a crucial putt, the ecstatic Americans charging all over the line of Olazabal's impending response, which could have kept Europe's hopes of a draw alive.

Perhaps the galling display of poor sportsmanship had a galvanising effect on Europe, who have won six of the subsequent seven editions of the event.

 

CLARKE'S EMOTIONAL WALK TO THE FIRST

A dominant Europe recorded a comprehensive victory in the 2006 event at the K Club - a Ryder Cup perhaps best remembered for the courage of Clarke, who delivered three points from as many matches just six weeks after his wife's death from breast cancer.

The welcome Clarke received from the galleries at the first tee on Friday, and the response to his 3 and 2 singles win over Zach Johnson on Sunday, were surely among the most emotional moments in the tournament's history.  

 

THE MIRACLE OF MEDINAH

Impossible to distil into a single moment, Europe's comeback from 10-4 down late on Saturday at Medinah Country Club to secure a 14.5 to 13.5 outright win in 2012 set a new standard for barely credible sporting drama.

Kickstarted by five consecutive birdies from Ian Poulter, who, together with fourball partner Rory McIlroy and the pairing of Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald, snatched back two vital points late on day two, Europe went out and won the first five singles matches on Sunday.

Justin Rose encapsulated the momentum of the European comeback with an extraordinary 35-foot birdie putt on the 17th to defeat Phil Mickelson, before Martin Kaymer held his nerve to sink an eight-footer on the last and see off Steve Stricker one up.

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