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Meltdown, or miracle?

Ryder Cup provided awesome sports theater

Ian Poulter birdied the last five holes on Saturday to rescue a point, and another win from Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker made it 10-6, the same margin from which the Americans rallied 13 years earlier at Brookline.

And here was where the historical symmetry, the sense of fate and destiny, really kicked in. It was, after all, Olazabal who stood on that 17th green at The Country Club in 1999 and watched Justin Leonard sink that 45-foot putt to complete the U.S rally and trigger that premature celebration, players, wives and caddies storming the green before Olazabal had a chance to putt.

Three players on that European team at Brookline – Garcia, Paul Lawrie and Lee Westwood – all won in singles this time around. Rory McIlroy, nearly missing his tee time and getting a police escort to Medinah, went out and beat Keegan Bradley, who had won everything for two days and served as the home side’s emotional sparkplug.

It got more improbable. Justin Rose made three long putts, including a 45-footer on 17, to come back and stun Phil Mickelson. Garcia, down by one with two holes left, also rallied to win when Jim Furyk painfully missed short putts on each of the final two greens.

It all led to Kaymer’s six-footer. Naturally, it’s the guy thought to be Europe’s weak link. Of course it’s a German, trying to make a six-footer to clinch it, just like 1991 when Bernhard Langer suffered that agonizing miss on the final green of the final match at Kiawah Island to give the Cup back to the Americans.

Goodness gracious, who is writing this? Seve was. He had to be, somewhere in golf heaven.

The moment Kaymer’s putt dropped and the celebrations for Europe commenced, so did the second-guessing of U.S. captain Davis Love III.

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