Magical memories of 2012 - Golf: 'This was it. The moment that would decide the Ryder Cup. A 10-footer for glory... Get in!'

30 September: Europe claim Ryder Cup in thrilling fashion

The memories come in a rush; Ian Poulter staring down the whole of America on that mad Saturday afternoon of rampant sporting theatre when Europe began to inch back from the precipice, Poulter and Bubba Watson geeing up the crowd on the first tee on Saturday morning, Keegan Bradley holing everything for three sessions and storming on to the tee box shortly after 7am on the last day to whip the fans into a frenzy, the missing Rory McIlroy emerging from a police patrol car on Sunday morning and munching on an energy bar on his way to the tee as if he were playing the medal at Holywood Golf Club, Justin Rose curling one in from 40 feet to claim the 17th, Martin Kaymer momentarily frozen as the winning putt dropped.

And then at the end of it all the European players emerging in little clusters from the back of the clubhouse draped in blue flags and posing for photos with a few savvy punters, who took a chance on the shuttle buses in the car park being deployed to take our heroes to the closing ceremony. McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Nicolas Colsearts, Peter Hanson and Darren Clarke duly stopped by before the taxi whisked them off to the speeches.

Looking back to Friday there was no sense that an epic event was upon us, so few were the dramatic clues at the outset. The first day was almost anticlimactic from a European point of view with America establishing a 5-3 lead after sharing the spoils in the morning. Saturday morning? More of the same, America threatening to erase all tension from the contest at 8-4. Only Poulter and Justin Rose were on the board for Europe. By mid-afternoon America were 10-4 to the good, Webb Simpson and Watson's 5&4 drubbing of Rose and Francesco Molinari exemplifying the one-sided nature of the contest.

And then, like returnees emerging at the desert's edge after being given up for lost, Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia edged Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker at the last to log a vital point for Europe. Donald admitted later to being buoyed by the miracle unfolding behind. Poulter, full of fist-pumping fury, drilling putts from all angles. A two-hole deficit with six to play turned on the last with a sixth successive birdie for Poulter and McIlroy, who started the ball rolling at the 13th. After that it was all Poulter. Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner did nothing wrong. Far from it. They birdied three of the last five holes but that wasn't enough to repel Popeye Poulter.

Kaymer had endured an awful spell and would not have been anywhere near this team had he not clung to 10th spot in the qualifying pool, yet it was he on whom providence dumped all her chips in the penultimate match. He looked nervous. Everybody looked nervous. This was it, the moment that would decide the Ryder Cup. A 10-footer for glory... Get in!

Further reading:

Olympics: ‘Mo, Jess and Greg gave us a night no one could forget’ 4 August: That night in the Olympic Stadium - James Lawton

Football: ‘When Chelsea saw off Barcelona, the joy was in watching the spoilers have their day’ 24 April: Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea (agg 2-3); Champions League semi-final second leg - Sam Wallace

Athletics: ‘The roar for Ennis made the hair stand up on the back of my neck’ 3 August: Opening day of track and field at the Olympics - Simon Turnbull

Rugby Union: ‘It was eerie seeing England sticking it to the silver fern’ 1 December: Manu Tuilagi waltzes to the try line as England smash New Zealand- Chris Hewett

Cycling: 'Bradley Wiggins' achievement was greatest we have ever seen from a Briton' 22 July: Bradley Wiggins wins the Tour de France - Alasdair Fotheringham

Football: ‘We’ll never encounter anything quite like it again’ 13 May: Manchester City win the title in thrilling style - Ian Herbert

Football: ‘After losing the title in the cruellest way, Ferguson stood firm’ 13 May: United are denied the title in heart-breaking style Martin Hardy

Olympics: ‘Nobody personified it more than Hoy, the ultimate sportsman’ 27 July: Hoy leads out Team GB at the Games opening ceremony - Robin Scott-Elliot

Football: ‘An hour later Theo Walcott was a hero – given a standing ovation’ 26 February: Theo Walcott turns the jeers to cheers to steer Arsenal to derby victory - Glenn Moore

Boxing: ‘The fight was terrific from the first bell. It had urgency, nastiness' 14 July: David Haye v Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora - Steve Bunce

Tennis: ‘After Murray won he staggered in a daze, then held his head in his hands’ 11 September: Andy Murray ends Britain’s wait for a major - Paul Newman

Football: ‘That night Spain played thrilling, bold, beautiful football’  1 July: Beautiful Spain smash Italy in the Euro 2012 final - Jack Pitt-Brooke

Formula One: ‘Kimi’s Lotus win was F1’s most romantic result’  4 November: Kimi Raikkonen zooms to victory in Abu Dhabi - David Tremayne

Racing: ‘Frankel enlarged life’s comfort zone for us all’ 22 August: Juddmonte International Stakes; Frankel finally goes the full distance - Chris McGrath

Cricket: ‘A sweep for three and Cook had broken a 73-year-old landmark’  6 December: Alastair Cook breaks England century record - Ste

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)