The Europeans had a pretty good lead going into the final third day of play – they were 5-3 up after day one, and 10-6 after the second day. A pattern was beginning to emerge.
Unlike the first two days of fourballs and foursomes, the final day is all singles matches, eight in the morning and eight in the afternoon. The winner is the first team to reach an unassailable 14 and a half points.
Down 6-10 is not an impossible position to win from. In fact, we need look no further than two years ago at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois. The Europeans were 6-10 down to the U.S. but came back to win eight and a half points on the final day to win, 14.5 to 13.5.
The Europeans roared out of the gate on day three, with the world’s #1 golfer, Rory McIlroy, finally finding his form and winning 5&4 against Rickie Fowler. His fellow Northern Irishman, Graeme McDowell, was three games down against Jordan Speith – but after a spate of birdies, won the match 2&1.
Next up for the European side was Martin Kaymer who shot a spectacular birdie chip on the 16th hole to beat Bubba Watson 4&2. And finally, although Hunter Mahan was at one point four games up, Justin Rose fought back to tie the match and get a half point for his team.
In the 10th match of the day, Welsh rookie Jamie Donaldson made an astonishing approach shot to the 15th hole and beat Keegan Bradley 4&3, and that was enough to get to 14 and a half points and win the trophy.
Although everyone on the European team deserved applause, it was Donaldson who got the most praise for beating Bradley and being the man who made the final putt to win the Ryder Cup.
Speaking to the press after his miraculous shot to the 15th green, Donaldson said, “Obviously I know I’m four up with four to play and hit a really good tee shot down 15 – just a perfect yardage and the wedge shot of my life to close the game out. I can’t really put words to it. It’s unbelievable. I knew it was all getting tight there at the end and everybody building at my group. I was just trying to not spend too much time looking at the scoreboard and just concentrate on my match, and that’s what I did, and was able to do it well enough to close it out.”