Ryder Cup countdown: The Belfry, 2002

Courses and Travel

Paul McGinley is the hero as underpowered Europe stun America

THIS was last of the ‘old’ Ryder Cups, matches in which Europe squeezed every last half point out of their collective talent and America wondered how on earth they had been beaten.

In fact, this Ryder Cup probably followed that storyline most closely than any other. Most of Europe’s players were either rookies, out of form, or both. Yet Sam Torrance managed to grind out an 8-8 scoreline going into the singles and the order seemed to fall favourably for Europe. Colin Montgomerie put early blue on the board and with further wins for Bernhard Langer, Padraig Harrington, Thomas Bjorn and famously Phil Price, it came down to Paul McGinley to try to secure a half with Jim Furyk.
The Dubliner knocked in his 12-foot putt to seal the cup and cue wild celebrations around the 18th green at The Belfry. “If you watch it on YouTube you will notice I hit the putt quite quickly,” McGinley told NCG. “That isn’t because I was nervous, rather that I could see the putt. JP (Fitzgerald, his caddie) was looking at the putt and saying what he thought and I said ‘I’ve got it’ which meant don’t say anything else as my mind was made up.

“Thankfully it went in. I was very lucky in that I played in three matches and was on the winning side each time.”

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