by Jeff Skinner
Any Ryder Cup team that comes back from a 10-6 hole deserves an A for sure. But to do it on foreign soil commands an A++. Here’s a breakdown of the team that took the gleam in their captain’s eye and transformed it into the Miracle at Medinah.
Nicolas Cosaerts (1-3) C : He started out like gangbusters with his 8 birdie, one eagle performance in fourballs but spent all his ammunition that day. He was smoked by Dustin Johnson on Sunday.
Luke Donald (2-2) B+ : A B+ is a high grade for a 2-2 record but Donald’s two losses came against the runaway train of Mickelson and Bradley. His defeat of the much longer Bubba Watson in the opening singles match took the fans out of it and set the tone for the Medinah Miracle.
Sergio Garcia (2-2) B- : He was paired with Donald in a defeat of Woods and Stricker on Saturday and happened to be in the right place at the right time when Furyk melted down on Sunday.
Peter Hanson (0-2) F : Lost to Dufner in singles on Sunday. No points for his team means a failing grade.
Martin Kaymer (1-1) F/A : He lost his only team match so there he gets an F. But when Steve Stricker handed him an opportunity to win the cup he stepped up and drained the biggest putt of his career. For that he gets an A.
Paul Lawrie (1-2) C : He went into Sunday singles with no points but put an old school beat down on Brandt Snedeker to cap Europe’s string of five straight singles wins.
Graeme McDowell (1-3) D : He rode Rory’s back in his only win and showed no signs of his 2010 magic with a singles loss to Zach Johnson.
Rory McIlroy (3-2) B+ : Played all five sessions and proved that warm-ups are overrated. On Sunday he put down America’s hottest player, Keegan Bradley in an early, key singles match.
Francesco Molinari (0-2-1) F : He scored no points all week but hung around with Tiger on Sunday. For that I would have scored him higher except for the fact that with the cup won he heeded his assistant captain’s wish to play out the last hole. It should have been “good…good” and a handshake. It was the only classless move of the week from the Europeans.
Ian Poulter (4-0) A++ : Poulter is the heart of his team. This is his major championship and his legacy. He single handedly dragged the Euros back into contention. No one has the record or the fire that Poulter brings. He is king of the golfing world in Europe and will be for a long time.
Justin Rose (3-2) A+ : He was dragged down by Kaymer and Molinari in his two losses and stole his singles match from Mickelson with a birdie, birdie finish in the most critical of the early matches.
Lee Westwood (2-2) C : He rode Colsaerts’ coattails in his lone team match victory but made a bit of magic as he beat Matt Kuchar in singles while only scoring one birdie.
Jose Maria Olazabal A : Ollie will admit to getting an assist from Seve on this historic win. He was classy all week and put it straight to his players. He told Kaymer on the 16th hole that the team needed his point and he didn’t care how he did it. Putting Poulter out in all five matches may have been a decision he should have considered. And maybe he could have had Molinari concede Tiger’s putt on eighteen. But with a comeback from 10-6 Ollie has earned his place in Ryder Cup history.