Ryder Cup Review – 1999 Brookline

Ryder Cup Review - 1999 Brookline
    We look back at the 1999 Ryder Cup at Brookline, dubbed the "Battle of Brookline".
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    1. The sad thing about this, as a European, is that it was very obvious we were going to get mauled on the Sunday.
      So we needed a really big lead in advance , and on Saturday morning we had a chance to go 9-3 ahead (or even 10-2). But two close matches ended up going America's way, keeping their deficit to just 8-4.
      I believe it was Europe losing those two close Saturday Morning matches that gave the US a bit of heart, keep them in touch, and led to their successful comeback on Sunday.

    2. ( .. as published on The Associated Press News Wire and carried by 27 newspapers nationwide .. including The Dallas Morning News, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Boston Globe and many others. I am the author) …

      The Ryder Cup – A Memorable Victory

      4:39 p.m. EST Sunday September 26, 1999

      Pink on dirty white is sprayed across a deep blue fall sky late in the lazy afternoon as I sit confirming my eyewitness to the most Titanic of comebacks. Today, this day, golf, The Grand Game … The True Game, stands proud and straight, nearly crystal clean against the backdrop of all other major sports. Across the American telecast waves, I scan a baseball game where umpires battle with authority for more money. The players they judge dart from team to team grabbing the fast cash from the fat hands of greedy owners. The NFL is just a few frequencies up where two teams play a game that no one is entirely attached to. One team is a replacement for a team, who bolted, who in and of itself was stolen from another town. The opponent is a new team of nobodies hanging by the thinnest of threads to it?s storied past. Another team across the land is not at full strength because a player refuses to compete unless more cash is hauled in by the dump truck load. Still another team in Pro Football is crippled because an all-time great doesn't want to play in that town anymore.

      And then there is Golf and The Ryder Cup. Not a dollar won yet not a better game anywhere on this day.

      Dateline: Late Saturday evening, September 25th. Brookline, Mass.

      The overwhelmingly favorite U.S. Ryder Cup team finds itself on the brink of one of the great collapses in golf history. Superior in nearly every way and from every perspective in every slot, the Americans slumped sadly in to a chilly Saturday night down, down, down and nearly out. It would take a complete whitewashing of the Europeans in the Sunday singles to even begin to hope to steal away the Cup. The darkest evening lay opaque when the sun retired from its Saturday chore. And the competition of the 33rd Ryder Cup was all but over.

      But as the world has been known to do, it turned again. Bright skies greeted the Sunday morning but the light only further exposed the Gargantuan Mountain the Americans must climb. Twelve matches. The U.S. needed to win no less than 8 of the 12 and had to at least tie in one other. That would mean shutting down 9 of the 12 best European golfers in one day?s worth of competition. Never before in the nearly 70 storied years of Ryder Cup play had such a deficit been overcome.

      Even with the schematics as daunting as they were, what the real key would be is something that had left the US team in the lurch they were currently residing in. Team work. Team play. Although they would not directly effect the scores or shots of their teammates on this singles match day, a rising force of spirit would have to be tattered together then woven and sewn in Boston. Then, even if it could be constructed by an individual, some Brave American with Hero on his mind, somewhere, somehow, would need to clench the rag between his teeth, climb to the highest point of the day and plant it for the other combatants to rally round. All this had to be done on this day, in these hours, on this field, by the time the sun again retired. Matches were ejected off the first tee like salvos fired from Boston Bay in to Breed?s Hill. The Yanks were going down, they thought. They didn't have the numbers. They didn't have the guts, the heart, the brains, and the cohesive spirit. The Yanks are going down. Every salvo that left, the British captain stood and watched down a superior nose full well knowing it was merely an exercise, nothing to work in to a lather about.

      But then … something happened.

      In this land where people gathered not because of skin color, or religious beliefs, or political beliefs, or ethnicity … in this land where people gathered that shared the same idea, the same compulsion to quench the burning desire of freedom and of self government, the uncrushable spirit that made America in this very city, began to kindle, began to spark.

      Lord James had back loaded his reserves, sure the grunt infantrymen, the rank rookies could finish off the whimpering Yanks. General Ben lined up his very best to bust a hole and make a reason.

      First off, The Nobleman Lee Westwood, a long time stalwart of the European Tour, crumbled 3 & 2 to a man who fought back from the mini-tours and Q-Schools so many times he actually knew where the Quad Cities were. The Minnesotan dropped the Duke of Westwood dead in his tracks. Lord James was unconcerned.

      But the trees were not. The trees heard the Sound of American Spirit. The American Oaks and the Georgia Pines, they reverberated the swelling roars and sent them along to other divisions, to other points, like tell-tale telegraphs of the air. And the others heard. Next came Sgt. Sutton, he of the forearms and the barrel-chest, a chin straight out of North Dakota. 4 & 2 he slapped down Prince Darren Clarke.

      And the trees talked some more. Next, lefty sniper Phil Mickleson laid waste to a sniveling Jarmo Sandelin 4 & 3 and Europe?s front ranks began to crumble. Still, the trees shook with news and the news filled the ears of American troops strewn across the battlefield and they heard it. They heard it. The Spirit was alive, delivered via tree, drawing the teammates closer, then with another roar, closer still. The Natural from Carolina, Davis Love III completely eviscerated the lowly French Guard, one Jean Van de Velde. With the final of an embarrassing 6 & 5, even Lord James thumbed his Royal Nose.

      On that steaming win, the trees began to shake and sway with the Spirit of Boston. They began a constant stream of information delivered throughout the course to every single ear that would hear.

      Now rode the American John Wayne to the front lines for his shot to crack the ranks. Tiger Woods, the Legend from L.A., carved a mighty 3&2 victory over the Archduke of Coltart. The Flank was exposed with the win. And the trees rumbled and roared that message for all to hear.

      Next, to silence the Mighty Guns of the European Artillery, General Ben sent in The Assassin to slay a Swede. The quiet and cold David Duval coolly and calmly wrecked the Nordic King 5 & 4 and The Charge was on! The Flank Exposed ?. The Front Line crumbled, the artillery silenced, Lord James now only had his blue blood reserve to commit to battle.

      And still the trees shook and shuddered with the roaring sound of The Radical Spirit of Boston.

      The Old Warhorse from Florida, Mark O?Meara fought the good fight, but fell to the Irish pug Harrington and the confidence of the Europeans came full circle again. Merely a setback, we shall now show the Yanks what good breeding brings to the table, thought Lord James.

      But another Old Warhorse, wily and grizzled Steve Pate pulled back the curtain to reveal another sword in the side of the Royals from Across the Pond. He slithered past Spain?s El Toro Jimenez 2 &1.

      And the trees began to bend and rumble with an unattainable Level of Roar. It grew, and it spread, by leaps and by bounds. The trees echoed and they screamed and they coaxed the Americans on. One more, just One More, and the Europeans would surely flee the field. And there he stood. The Texan. Small in stature armed with Grandeur of Heart. Across from Justin Leonard stood His Wall. The Masters Champion, the Spanish Peacock, Jose Maria Olazabal. The Peacock strutted his 4 UP status with merely seven holes to play. This would end it all. Put the Yanks back in the box, with their apparition the weak minds called ?Spirit?. Execution. He would show them what execution is. Execution, planning and studying. These are the hallmarks of champions. HA! Spirit. What a farce. He would silence the trees. He would send the scalawags reeling back to the little driving ranges and public courses they came from. He was here to set the ship right. To show who is who and why Who is, in fact, Who. The Texan, surrounded on every side, used that Mighty Heart with devastating effectiveness against the reeling Spaniard. He cut and he sliced and he bit and he clawed his way to straight up level even by the 15th. Catapulted by every limb of every tree, of every leaf that carried the Message of the Day, he let their tale fill him up and he allowed that message in to his soul. And on the shadowed 17th green, he fired the final fatal shot from 40 feet. Dead-Solid-Central.

      And The Will was broken. And the ranks ran. And the battlefield was cleared and Old Glory, tattered in rags, was raised once again in Boston. It ejected the dejected Europeans, sending them scurrying back across the water, once again wondering, only separated by 235 years, ?How did they do that? It is not logical.?

      No .. it is not logical. It cannot be explained.

      Inextinguishable. Flickering at times, fading from view in the darkest hours. But always there. Always Burning.

      It is quite simply:

      The Spirit of America

      – Dave Dial

    3. We were arrogant and didn't use our full team enough, zero question about that. But the stampede while Olly still had a putt to make……that's what makes Medinah so deliciously karmic.

    4. Everybody Europe here in the comments complaining after all this time…….You Can’t Re-Write History. It’s Ryder’s, where emotions run high, and the rules are different. Both written and unwritten. Boisterous fans, team celebrations and Home turf are part of the backdrop. This isn’t just Golf……it’s Ryder’s.

    5. What should have been one of the greatest moments in golf history, Justin's brilliant putt, was turned into its MOST appalling one, because , WITH THE MATCH STILL IN THE BALANCE, those Americans ran all over the green including on the line of Jose's putt.
      I just wish Seve had been captain instead of the out of his depth mediocrity Mark James.
      Seve would have DEMANDED, following the Americans' behaviour, that Jose be given his putt, and if the Americans had refused, Seve would have led his men off the course and out of Brookline immediately.

    6. funny how almost all the players involved have faded back into historical insignificance with the notable exception of a 23 year old Tiger Woods. Nice putt from Justin Leonard – my favourite downs' syndrome golfer of all-time!

    7. Invading the green while an opponent still has to put is unsportsmanlike and is an absolute no no …. yeah we had emotions about put ….. bull…… and then complain about 2002? What would you expect?

    8. Golf at its worst!Olazabal hasn't putt out n they ran on the green fans players n all!
      Crenshaw never even apologize n he will be in golf Captain of infamy!

    9. Not condoning the US behavior in 1999, but the European crowd was much worse in 2002. Sergio Garcia acting like a Jackass, doing snow angels after making a 1 foot putt, crowds yelling obscenities, running in front of players, making threats, being disruptive. Euros, conveniently leave out their atrocious behavior from 2002, because "they were having fun!" but when the Americans do it, they are bad sports.

    10. is this the one where the ignorant, churlish, Americans ran all over the green while one of the Europeans was still waiting to make his putt ???  Thanks to the USA team that was Just about the lowest point in Ryder cup history, but totally in character for the yanks I suppose. Its a such a shame that one of the very last sports of gentlemanly honour, politeness and respect should be so badly damaged. Sad., but I don't suppose many americans would even know, or care what I'm talking about.