GOLF: FIVE MOMENTS THAT WON THE RYDER CUP

RYDER CUP
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1983: LANNY WADKINS

The wig-sized divot which Wadkins created as he pitched his third shot stiff on the par-five 18th at the PGA National in Florida was so cherished that the captain, Jack Nicklaus, gave it a kiss. The half which Wadkins thus achieved, having at one stage been three down to Jose Maria Canizares, enabled the Americans to escape with a one-point victory. Wadkins' master stroke, executed from a fairway softened by overnight rain, flew 110 yards over bunkers and thick rough to land beside a pin tucked tightly into the back left corner of the green.

1985: SAM TORRANCE

Although a short missed putt by Craig Stadler had turned the tide, it was Torrance's tramliner across the 18th green at The Belfry which secured the famous win. The picture of the Scot with his arms aloft after that final-green birdie soon became a defining image. The fact that it was the moment when the Ryder Cup was won on this side of the Atlantic for the first time since 1957 merely added to the drama. For Torrance, beaten in the two previous matches, it was a triumph to savour after trailing by one hole with two to play.

1989: CHRISTY O'CONNOR JNR

Fred Couples, making his Ryder Cup debut at The Belfry, was all square on the 18th with O'Connor. The American faded his drive 300 yards across the water to the left of the fairway to leave himself a nine iron in. The Irishman's tee shot finished 60 yards behind - 210 yards short of the pin. Pulling out a two iron, O'Connor hit the shot of his life to five feet from the hole. Clearly rattled, Couples blocked his approach, chipped up and missed his par putt to suffer a one-hole defeat and virtually ensure that Europe would retain the trophy.

1995: NICK FALDO

All week at Oak Hill, Faldo had struggled and his singles against Curtis Strange was no exception. But Europe's fightback, after entering the final day 9-7 down, galvanised him. One down with two to play, he took the 17th and needed to win the 18th for Europe to have any chance of victory. His drive, though, was hooked into deep rough, leaving him with only a pitch out. With Strange just short of the green in two, Faldo displayed the mental strength of a supreme champion under the fiercest pressure by stroking his wedge to four feet and holing the putt.

1997: COLIN MONTGOMERIE

On the final day at Valderrama, Europe's victory target was only four points from 12 singles. But after a mighty American comeback, the home side still needed a half from the final singles on the course - Montgomerie versus Scott Hoch. Hoch needed to take the last to earn a tie. With the rain lashing down, there was enormous pressure on Monty to find the fairway. But his perfectly timed three-wood flew straight down the middle to set up a cast-iron four which enabled his captain Seve Ballesteros to concede Hoch's 10ft par putt for a half.

...AND FIVE THAT MAY HAVE LOST IT

1969: JACK NICKLAUS

Not technically a moment that lost the cup,but it left most of Nicklaus's team-mates at Royal Birkdale feeling mightily aggrieved. Playing the final singles in the closest cup for years, Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin arrived on the last green all square. If both holed their putts, the overall match would be tied; if one missed, his side would lose. Nicklaus sunk his and then, with Jacklin nervously contemplating a three-footer, picked up his marker with the words: "I don't think you'd have missed that, but I'm not going to give you the chance."

1985: CRAIG STADLER

This mistake turned the tide Europe's way at The Belfry and arguably created the doubts which have undermined American confidence ever since. After day one, the US led by a point. Tony Jacklin paired Sandy Lyle with Bernhard Langer for the second-morning fourball against Stadler and Curtis Strange. The Americans were two up with two to play and had to win to keep their side on level terms. Lyle won the 17th with a birdie but at the last Stadler faced only an 18in putt for a one-hole win. The 1982 Master pulled his ball wide.

1987: BEN CRENSHAW

This year's US captain received a lot of the flak from the American media after succumbing to the one-hole defeat by Eamonn Darcy which sealed the home team's fate at Muirfield Village. Crenshaw belied his Gentle Ben sobriquet when, after three-putting the sixth green to fall two behind, he broke his putter by whacking it on the path as he walked to the seventh tee. For the rest of the match, he had to putt with either his one-iron or the flange of his wedge and in the end the pressure of this unnecessary difficulty proved too great.

1991: BERNHARD LANGER

Arguably the most pressure-packed putt ever. Langer, all square after 17 holes of the final singles against Hale Irwin, needed to win the last at Kiawah Island for Europe to tie the infamous War on the Shore and retain the trophy. After conceding Irwin's two-foot putt for a five, he faced a six-footer over a couple of spikemarks for victory. The opportunity for Europe to escape after trailing for three days was mouth-watering. But, even though he struck it as intended, Langer's ball drifted just right and potential ecstasy turned instantly to anguish.

1993: COSTANTINO ROCCA

Rarely has so much blame been heaped on one person after the Italian contrived to lose the last two holes against Davis Love at The Belfry. On the 17th, Rocca, one up, faced an eagle putt from 20 feet to win. Had it dropped, the match would have been a tie, but his ball agonisingly rolled three feet past. Love collected his birdie and then looked on in amazement as Rocca missed the return. At the last, Rocca could do no better than five and watched in tears as Love rolled in a seven-footer for a crucial victory.

COMPILED BY PAUL TROW

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