Medinah Watchalong: What did we learn about 2012 Ryder Cup victory?

The Miracle at Medinah was revisited on Sky Sports, with five of Team Europe’s winning team featuring in a full re-run of that dramatic 2012 Ryder Cup success.

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Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Martin Kaymer and Paul Lawrie all joined host Nick Dougherty for a special #SkyWatchalong, with vice-captain Paul McGinley and former Ryder Cup player Andrew Coltart also involved in the programme.

  • Medinah Watchalong as it happened
  • Best of the Medinah Watchalong

The panel all looked back at the key moments from that incredible final day, where Europe overturned a 10-6 deficit to retain the trophy on American shores, with the players also sharing insights and stories from how that Sunday session unfolded.

Here are some the things said about the final day you may not have heard before…

Team USA bending the rules?

There were a couple of ways the home side tried to exert some control over the course set-up, including the Sunday pin positions, although the extra knowledge failed to help Team USA reclaim the trophy.

McGinley: “There was an understanding between both teams that there wouldn’t be a cut between sessions but we found out that there was. We also found out, when Davis Love let it be known in interviews afterwards, that they had some control of the pin positions, which wasn’t meant to be.

“Those things were really disappointing when we found out. What we’ve done since is that both teams are now given the pin positions well in advance. It’s one thing having home advantage, where you can set up the golf course accordingly, but it’s another thing controlling the pin positions.

“That’s been dealt with now and it won’t be a problem going forward. It was one of the things they assured us they weren’t doing, but we subsequently found out that they were. That did backfire on them, with some of the pin positions – particularly those on 17 and 18 – suiting us.”

Donald: “They made a mistake, the US team, setting up the pins too difficult on Sunday. They did have knowledge of the pins and they made a mistake by putting them in the tougher positions.

“It’s a little bit easier to chase, we all know that, and the pressure is more on the guys with the lead. Under pressure, if you miss slightly and you’ve got a tough pin position, it’s going to be very hard to get up and down, so I think easier pin locations would have helped the US team.”

Rory McIlroy earns point after late arrival

The Northern Irishman almost missed his tee time after getting confused with the local time difference, arriving at the course little over 10 minutes before he was due to begin, before seeing off Keegan Bradley 2&1…

Poulter: “I think he was still dreaming when he actually should have already been on the practice grounds hitting balls. It was remarkable really when you think about how it all unfolded.

“To get to the golf course 10 minutes before your tee-off time and not be able to hit a shot and pull it off, under that much pressure, against the guy who has played probably the best golf on the USA team, is just remarkable.

It goes to show why he’s world No 1 golfer right now, because he’s able to put himself under that pressure and still go out and play the golf that he plays.”

McGinley: “JP [Fitzgerald] his caddie was telling me afterwards that it was the third time he had done it that year. That’s why he waited until less than an hour before he told anyone else, because sometimes Rory likes to turn up and Rolls Royce it with a couple of practice swings!”

Poulter’s Sunday struggles

Europe’s Ryder Cup hero had produced a five-birdie finish on Saturday to win his fourballs match alongside McIlroy and keep the deficit to 10-6 heading into the final day…

Poulter: “I was low on energy from Saturday and I know I chipped in at the first, but for most of the way round that Singles match I didn’t feel good. I was exhausted.

“I needed something to get me going and it turned out to be Webb [Simpson]’s shank on eight that got me really going. It’s as silly as that! I was down in my match and it was at that point I thought ‘he’s feeling it just as much as I’m feeling it’.

“It gave me a little bit of a boost and a little bit of a pick-up, which was all I needed to jump in and give myself just a little bit of an energy boost.”

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Poulter was 1up heading to the last against Simpson, before sealing his point and a fourth win in as many matches with a remarkable approach into the par-four last…

Poulter: “I had 155 yards to the pin, a big tree in front and the wind was off the right. I wanted to hit a wedge over the tree to leave it just short and then taking my chance of up and downing it from just short of the front.

“Just at that time Terry [Mundy, caddie] stepped in and said ‘can you not bend one around the tree’. I take eight-iron, open the face up to about nine-iron loft and move it about 25 yards left to right around the tree.

“I was very pleased the wind wasn’t blowing as hard as it was when I first stood over the shot and I was able to move it around to hit a great shot.”

Kaymer: Langer’s putt shown on screen!

Europe were 1up in Kaymer’s match against Steve Stricker heading to the par-four last, where Kaymer found a fairway bunker off the tee before sending his approach onto the green…

Kaymer: “I hit a very clean shot and that was the moment where I wanted to go to the green and Craig [Connelly] said ‘Martin, Steve is still hitting!’

“I was watching Steve but I didn’t really care where the ball was because I was just worried about my ball, was it on the green or not? I couldn’t really see it with all the shadows and then I walked up a bit closer to the green and I saw both balls were on the green.

“I knew, at that time, that two putts should be enough, because he’s not going to make a one-putt from there. That’s not going to happen. That was quite relaxing that two putts should be enough.”

The German saw his initial putt race six feet past the hole, leaving a similar putt to the one his compatriot Bernard Langer had famously missed during the 1991 contest…

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