Kaymer nails down significant win

Martin Kaymer may have been the European who drove the nail into the coffin of the United States team in the Ryder Cup on the weekend, but his singles victory exemplified the extraordinary nature of the final outcome.

The unlikely return from the dead by the European team came as a surprise to everyone after the US had built a seemingly unassailable lead after day two, and, while it is tempting to point at blowhard coverage in the US media and fall about laughing, the truth is everyone felt Europe was dead and buried.

Who would have thought that the man who, after holding down the world’s number one ranking for 10 weeks, had slipped below the performance horizon to such an extent that people were suggesting he was on the verge of dropping himself from the Ryder Cup squad, would scale such heights in such dizzying fashion.

But the nerve-jangling putt on 18 he drained to see off Steve Stricker and to clinch the point that assured the Ryder Cup would return with Jose Maria Olazabal to Europe was the stuff of legend, and it would not be too much of a surprise to see that steeliness run through his game for the foreseeable future.

And he wasn’t the only one: The way Paul Lawrie, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia played on their way to singles victories was textbook perfect. Additionally, in defeat, Peter Hanson, Graeme McDowell and Nicolas Colsaerts provided examples of a never-say-die spirit invoked throughout the match of Seve Ballesteros.

While jumping on the Seve bandwagon is easy to do, that the players were motivated by Olazabal’s clever invocation of his friend was clear, and it was a masterstroke.

Ballesteros’ spirit was most noticeably channelled by Ian Poulter, who is fast becoming arguably the greatest Ryder Cup player of them all, in his burst of five birdies on Saturday afternoon inched the momentum towards Europe and prefaced that extraordinary run for home on Sunday.

In the end, it is Kaymer’s victory cheer that rose above the disappointed din of the US supporters which will become the iconic image of Ryder Cup 2012.

If his perseverance in the face of adversity translates into victories, the fight between players like himself and Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald is going to be a mouth-watering spectacle.

By Mike Green

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