As the London Daily Mail put it “It had to come down to the Irish again hadn’t it. “
Graham McDowell was just the latest Irisman to make the critical putt that gave Europe the Ryder Cup over America.
When he holed a fifteen footer on the 16th to go two up with two to play at Celtic Manor in Wales, McDowell destroyed his American opponent Hunter Mahan.
The American completely fluffed a chip at the next hole to give the cup to Europe and McDowell
Eamonn Darcy in 1987, Christy O'Connor Jnr at The Belfry in 1989, Philip Walton at Oak Hill in 1995, and Paul McGinley at The Belfry in 2002 and now McDowell in 2010 were given the task of securing golf’s greatest team trophy when the chips were down.
All were up to the task.
In 1987 at Muirfield in Dublin, Ohio, a determined U.S. comeback left them just one point behind and all dependingon the match between journeyman pro Eamon D’arcy and his far better known opponent Ben Crenshaw.
Darcy was all square after 17 but on the par 5 eighteenth Darcy exploded out of a bunker to within five feet and holed the put, beating Crenshaw who had taken a par 5. The trophy was Europe’s.
As Darcy said "It was a moment in history. We had never won the Ryder Cup in America. To have been fortunate enough to have been part of a great team with great players and then suddenly to be in a position to do something great, it doesn't happen too often in a guy's career."
Christy O’Connor jnr:
In 1989 it was Christy O’Connor Junior at the Belfry who came to the 18th with Fred Couples all square and the Ryder Cup on the line.
Couples outdrove O’Connor, but O’Connor’s second shot was incredible, landing just three feet from the hole. Couples went way right and victroy was Europe’s once again."
O’Connor has never forgotten that moment. “To play a Ryder Cup in a team of the 12 best players in Europe at that particular time has to rank up there with the best of my golfing memories."
Philip Walton :
In 1995 at Oak Hill Rochester it was little known Philip Walton from Dublin who won the day The match was tied at 13.5 points each. Walton was playing Jay Haas who fought back from three down to just one down with one hole to play.
Both men were in difficulty off the tee but Walton hit a beautiful third shot from the rough to within 16 feet and lagged the putt up to a few feet. and won the hole.
Strangely Walton described it not as one of the greatest moment in his career."Something went from me. I felt it, but it's very hard to explain. Definitely that Ryder Cup did take something from me."
In 2002 again at The Belfry it was the turn of another Dublin player Paul McGinlye to play hero with the game on the line. He was all square with Jim Furyk on the 18th and Europe needed a half to win the cup.
Furyk almost holed a shot from the bunker but got down in four. McGinley had a ten foot put to dpar also, He holed it to the delight of the crowd,
The win made ahuge difference to him" I was identified with European success and I was identified as someone who brought a lot of joy and emotion, not only to Irish people but to Europe generally.”