Four of the Best Ryder Cup Comebacks of All Time

The Ryder Cup is one of the most prestigious events in the world of golf, and 2023 was no different. Earlier this year, the biennial tournament took place again, emanating from Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome. Europe managed to continue the trend of the hosting team powering to victory.

In each of the last four installments of the competition, the hosts have claimed the famous silver trophy, and captain Luke Donald managed to put his name up in lights alongside legendary names such as Seve Ballesteros and Colin Montgomerie.

One thing that golf fanatics love to see at the Ryder Cup is a comeback, but unfortunately, that wasn’t on the cards this year as Team Europe comfortably romped to victory. They took a 4-0 lead as early as the first morning, and they already had a five-point lead after the first day, a surprising fact because three of this year’s four major winners were from the United States.

The only European to win a major this year was Jon Rahm, and he has been made the +800 by golf betting odds to retain bis green jacket at the Masters next year. The Americans clawed back two points on Saturday evening, but a 6-6 tie on the final day secured a comfortable 16 1⁄2 – 11 1⁄2 victory.

So, with fans starved of victory being clawed from the jaws of defeat this year, we decided to look back at four of the greatest comebacks in the history of the 96-year-old tournament.

The Miracle at Medinah – 2012

The 2012 Ryder Cup is considered by many to be the greatest comeback in the history of the Ryder Cup. Heading into the final day’s singles matches, Europe was trailing the USA by a mighty ten points to six.

It seemed like the Americans had the trophy wrapped up, but then the Europeans, led by their captain Jose Maria Olazabal, produced some of the best golf ever played.

Inspired by Ian Poulter – who won the last two holes of his match against Dustin Johnson to set the ball rolling – They won eight-and-a-half of the 12 available points on the final day to snatch the cup from their rivals’ hands miraculously.

Martin Kaymer’s putt on the 18th hole ensured that his team secured a 14 1/2 – 13 1/2 victory, much to the dismay of the American fans in Illinois.

Recapturing the Ryder Cup – 2010

The 2010 Ryder Cup, held at Celtic Manor in Wales, was a memorable tournament for many reasons, but the main one was the weather. It rained, and rained, and rained some more. Raining cats and dogs, as they say, on that side of the pond. It was so bad that the competition had to be delayed for a day.

But it was worth the wait for the European team when it finally resumed. The morning four-ball matches were delayed until Saturday afternoon, resulting in a decrease in available playtime.

American captain Corey Pavin decided to delay announcing the pairing for the afternoon matches, which ended up being a bad call as Europe won three of the four matches played that afternoon.

That meant the hosts were trailing by three points heading into the final round of singles matches, but they managed to stage a stunning comeback.

The destination of the trophy came down to the final match between Irishman Graeme McDowell and Hunter Mahan, with the former holding his nerve to secure a 14 1/2 – 13 1/2 victory for Europe.

The Battle of Brookline – 1999

The 1999 Ryder Cup was already historic, being the first held in the United States since 1993. But it would produce one of sports history’s most intense and controversial finishes.

The Americans were trailing 10-6 heading into the final day’s play. But in a shocking twist, the Americans won the first six matches of the third day to take the lead, with Justin Leonard’s 45-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole against José María Olazábal capping off the comeback

What followed were scenes of pure jubilation and moments of extreme tension. The Americans eventually won 14 1/2 – 13 1/2. Still, the match was overshadowed by the raucous behavior of some home fans and their premature celebrations before the tournament ended, which made headlines worldwide for the appalling sportsmanship on display.

Even more unsavory scenes took place in the crowd, with Colin Montgomerie’s father leaving early due to the abuse being hurled at his son, while Englishman Mark James claimed that a supporter spat at his wife.

Europe’s First Comeback – 1995

The 1995 Ryder Cup was the first time Continental European golfers competed as part of the European team. They were led by captain Bernard Gallacher and produced one of the greatest comebacks in the tournament’s history.

The American team had a commanding 9-3 lead after two days of play, and heading into the final day of singles matches, that lead had been cut to 9-7.

But the underdogs continued their valiant fight back courtesy of victories from Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer, and Constantino Rocca. It was left to captain Gallacher to clinch the victory for Europe with his putt on the 18th hole, securing a razor-thin 14 1/2 – 13 1/2 win.

Golam Muktadir is a passionate sports fan and a dedicated movie buff. He has been writing about both topics for over a decade and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with his readers. Muktadir has a degree in journalism and has written for several well-known publications, including Surprise Sports.