Where form is temporary, class is permanent. How true. Team Europe worked magic as they fought back from an almost certain defeat in the 39th Ryder Cup at the Medinah Country Club, Chicago. As the USA stormed ahead in the early stages of the singles matches on the final day, you could have almost concluded that, alas, it wasn't going to be Europe's day. That was until Rory McIlroy showed up to the course with barely five minutes to spare after bizarrely getting his times mixed up. Following a police escort to the course to ensure his arrival, McIlroy headed out onto the first tee with no time to practice. Just as well as it happens. Despite the fluster, he lived up to his reputation as world number one by winning his round against Keegan Bradley, and he helped Europe come one step closer to lifting the Ryder Cup. Europe desperately needed his point, and it only added to the team's motivation throughout the afternoon. Perhaps he should sleep in more often.
Another leading team player was Ian Poulter who stepped up to the plate on Saturday afternoon igniting the crowds, and yesterday he continued to be the driving motivator behind Team Europe. After finishing with a make or break putt, he went straight back out onto the course to watch his teammates attack as Europe moved in on America's lead. The decider was, perhaps, the unexpected form displayed by Justin Rose in his closing holes. Going from one down to three up with two holes to spare, he got the job done when it mattered most.
There's no question that motivation and enthusiasm played a key role in the result, and Team Europe's historic win will be in remembrance of a very special figure - Seve Ballesteros. Most of the European team credited the golfing hero as an inspiration to them whilst playing against the American's and indeed, suited and booted in the traditional 'Seve blue' outfit on the final Sunday, it was evident that the Spaniard was very much in their thoughts.
No team can win, however, without the help of a captain. Jose Maria Olazabal proved to be a true inspiration to Team Europe, and every player acknowledged his desire and input towards their win. Olazabal, who was a great friend of the late Seve Ballesteros, was lost for words in an interview minutes after Martin Kaymer sunk a putt on the 18th green which brought Europe to victory. Clearly thinking of Seve and his influence on his team, it was obvious how much it meant to the captain. Asked where this victory sat in relation to his other major wins, Olazabal replied that the Ryder Cup was number one. Although team USA proved to be a great match for Europe, their captain Davis Love lll was graceful in defeat whilst also paying tribute to Seve. One could say that it was perhaps written in the stars for Europe this year, and indeed without the influence of Seve Ballesteros, we may have seen a very different result.