Top Five Ryder Cup Shots

By: | Tue 27 Sep 2016 | Comments

Every time the Ryder Cup comes along, it produces numerous moments of magic from Europe and America’s top golfers. It goes without saying that the pressure on the professionals during the Ryder Cup is second to none, as they are playing for a team and not themselves. Without further ado, here are five of the best shots to be played at Ryder Cups gone by.

2006, K Club – Paul Casey’s hole-in-one

Darren Clarke stole all the headlines at the 2006 Ryder Cup with his emotional three victories, as Europe went on to easily secure the trophy. For this reason, many people forgot about Paul Casey’s incredible hole-in-one that was not only the sixth ever one at the event, but the first time there had been a hole-in-one to end a match.

The pair of Casey and David Howell were already 5up after 13 holes against the American pairing of Stewart Cink and knew they only needed a half to win the match. However, Casey went one better by holing out from 213-yards to win the match.

It is the captain that year, Ian Woosnam, who has taken some credit for Casey’s ace, as he told his player that the rest of the team had been hitting 3-irons slightly long. Casey went with a 4-iron and the rest is history. The ball landed a few feet short of the hole and fell into the cup, which led to one of the loudest cheers of the week from the European crowd.

2012, Medinah – Martin Kaymer’s clutch putt

The “Miracle at Medinah” will always be regarded as one of the greatest every Ryder Cups from a European perspective and Martin Kaymer’s clutch putt on the last to settle one of the greatest comebacks ever has made this list for several reasons. Kaymer hadn’t been in the best of form going into the event and having made the last automatic spot, some people were sceptical about the German’s inclusion. Having not made a single birdie in the fourballs on Friday, it seemed as if Kaymer was very much the makeweight of the European team.

However, it came down to the 18th green against Steve Stricker and Kaymer had a nervy 8ft putt to win and make sure Europe retain the Ryder Cup. You can only imagine the pressure on the German’s shoulders.

However, Kaymer held his nerve and sank the putt dead centre to finish off the greatest comeback from a Ryder Cup side. Kaymer is usually a man of little emotion, however he got that caught up in the moment celebrating with is teammates that he in fact forgot to shake his opponents hand.

1999, Brookline – Justin Leonard’s putt

Despite all that went on after the events that unfolded on the 17th green, the comeback and the winning putt from Justin Leonard was quite incredible. The American had been struggling all week and in the Sunday singles he found himself 4 down to Jose Maria Olazabal early on the back nine.

This match was turning out to be a pivotal match and nobody expected Leonard to do what he did next. The American fought back to square his match coming to the 17th hole. It was clear to Leonard what he needed to do, as his team needed just half a point to complete on the greatest comebacks in Ryder Cup history. On the 17th Leonard put his approach to 45ft while Olazabal saw his ball finish 25ft from the pin.

The American would go on to hole his putt across the green and send the American team, media and fans into raptures. It was fitting that such an incredible putt settled one of the greatest comebacks in Ryder Cup history. Leonard commented saying: “I think the ball was just destined to go in.”

1989, The Belfry – Christy O’Connor Jr’s 2 iron

The 1989 Ryder Cup at The Belfry saw Europe take control late in the Sunday singles as they won four straight matches on the 18th, with the most dramatic coming in Christy O’Connor Jr’s match against Fred Couples. O’Connor had never won a match in a Ryder Cup and at 1 down through 15 holes, it looked as if he was going to maintain that record.

However, after a birdie on the 16th, his match came down the 18th All Square. Couples hit his drive 50-yards past the Irishman, who was 0-3 in his Ryder Cup career, and heaped the pressure on O’Connor Jr. However, what followed was truly magnificent. O’Connor Jr hit what must be the shot of his career when his 2-iron stopped just a few feet from the hole. Couples then followed up by failing to hit the green with just a 9-iron in his hand. This meant that the Europeans won the final singles match to see the final score finish 14-14 and retained the Ryder Cup.

1983, Palm Beach Gardens – Seve from the bunker

At All Square going down the final hole, Seve Ballesteros did what he does best and pulled off a miraculous shot. The Spaniard’s tee shot was poor and ended up in a bunker near a steep lip. Most golfers would take the punishment and just knock the ball out with a wedge or a short iron, but not Ballesteros. Instead, he chose a three wood.

From there, Seve pulled off a miraculous shot. He made perfect contact and somehow hit the ball out of the sand, over the lip, over the water and onto the putting surface. He managed to make par and half his match with Fuzzy Zoeller. Jack Nicklaus went on to say it was: “the finest shot I have ever seen.” Unfortunately video footage of this shot has never been found.

What is your favourite shot from a Ryder Cup? Let us know in the comments.

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