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LLG Award Season: Event of the Year, Performance of the Year

by Jeff Skinner

There were many great tournaments this season but the Ryder Cup was so earth shattering and exciting it easily tops all the other events.  The European comeback was by far the most exciting Sunday in golf this year and many say it could rank with the most exciting days in all of golf.

With the Euros facing a four point deficit going into the final day of play any chance of retaining the cup looked extremely remote.  After all, Ben Crenshaw was nowhere to be found…and Captain Jose Maria Olazabal didn’t go all “I’ve got a good feeling about this” but he did say he believed in his team.

And his belief proved justified as the Euros came out Sunday morning with guns blazing and took the first five matches from the Americans.  From there the Americans could only manage three points before Martin Kaymer closed out Steve Stricker to win the cup.

The Euros may have been captained by Olazabal and guided by the spirit of Seve but they were led by the volatile Ian Poulter.  Poulter singlehandedly stopped the bleeding by the Europeans on Saturday with an amazing finish in the afternoon fourball.  Teamed with Rory McIlroy, Poulter erased a 2 down deficit to Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson with five consecutive finishing birdies to lift the spirits of the European Team.

After Poulter’s comeback even though the Americans had a four point lead it appeared that the Euros had the momentum.  Sunday’s disastrous start by the Americans proved that thinking right.  Poulter kept the magic up with a come from behind win against Webb Simpson.  Poulter never led until the seventeenth hole and took the last two holes winning 2 up.

The entire week was highlighted by Poulter’s primal screams and double fist pumps as he drained putt after putt and finally beat the spirit out of the Americans.  Poulter was the only player to earn four full points for either team and he established himself as the heart of the European Team.  For his animated play at the Ryder Cup he earns the title of Performance of the Year.

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