Book of the week: Showdown by Iain Carter

The report on the Ryder Cup is impressive just five weeks after it ended

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The Independent Online

This account of the 2014 Ryder Cup at Glen-eagles seems neither rushed nor perfunctory, though Europe’s winning putt was sunk less than five weeks before publication.

True, only 45 of the 290 pages report the three days of live action, but it’s still an impressive feat. As the BBC’s golf correspondent, Iain Carter kept a close watch on the build-up to this biennial contest, and suggests that the choice of captains was crucial from an early stage. Europe went for the Irishman Paul McGinley, who had enjoyed a solid if not spectacular pro career, while the Americans opted for glamour in shape of the much-loved legend Tom Watson.

Poor old Tom. It proved to be a job too far for the 65-year-old as McGinley ran rings around him. Watson had not attended the Cup since his first, winning, stint as captain back in 1993, and seemed out of touch. In contrast, McGinley, 18 years his junior, had played in three consecutive winning sides from 2002-06, famously holing the winning putt on his first appearance, served as a vice-captain in 2010 and 2012, and had twice captained Britain and Ireland against the Continent in the Seve Trophy.

While Watson dithered, at one stage dropping his most experienced player, Phil Mickelson, via a text message, McGinley inspired his men to forge a close bond. “We had a real plan,” he said, which he executed to near-perfection in the 161/2-111/2 drubbing of the USA.

Draw in the Dunes, by Neil Sagebiel, another recently published Ryder Cup history, had a rather longer gestation: it tells the dramatic tale of the 1969 contest, famed for Jack Nicklaus’s concession of the final putt to Tony Jacklin, allowing Britain an honourable draw while leaving the Cup in American hands.

Published in hardback by  Elliott & Thompson, £14.99