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Golf Australia Express : September 2014
W HAT’S that old adage — anyone can win on his or her day? That’s true, of course, but it is also generally accepted that the more times you repeat a particular match- up, the more likely it is that you’ll achieve the result you expected. A better team might be beaten once or twice, but the longer they stick at it, the better the chances that the underdogs will cop a smacking. And then there’s the Ryder Cup, where the form guide is about as useful as a putter in a bunker. One of the most captivating elements of golf's number one biennial battle is that reputation and ranking have a habit of mattering not one iota, with big names often failing to deliver against opponents who make their own name in the process. We need look no further than two years ago, when an American team containing Tiger Woods and 11 of the world’s top 20 golfers failed to get the job done in a spectacular US capitulation on the final day, when they blew a 10-4 lead and watched in horror as Woods missed a putt on the final green to halve the hole and the match against Francesco Molinariandhanda141⁄2to131⁄2 victory to the Europeans. Or what about 2008, when Europe had seven players from the world’s top 20 to the USA’s five, yet were unceremoniously beaten 14 1⁄2 to 111⁄2? If you’re after a form line, how does a 13-0 unbeaten streak dating back 60 years sound? The United States had never been beaten on home soil when the Europeans landed at Muirfield in 1987. But three days later the visitors had stunned the home team 15-13 off the back of a 4-0 clean sweep of Friday’s afternoon four-ball session. In a shining example of the wonderful anomalies that the Cup throws up as a matter of course, unheralded Irishman Eamonn Darcy was given the plum job of beating Ben Crenshaw. And he managed to do it, nailing a five-footer at the final hole to steal a 1-up win. It helped that Crenshaw destroyed his putter in a moment of madness earlier on the back nine and had to putt with an iron for the remainder of his round, but them’s the Ryder Cup breaks. The list goes on and on, but let's finish on Italian journeyman Constantino Rocca, who only won a handful of tournaments throughout his career, but for one day in September 1997 turned form and fortune on its head and thumped new world No.1 Tiger Woods 4&2 to give Europe a vital point in its 14 1⁄2 to 13 1⁄2 triumph at Valderrama Golf Club.