On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Team Europe

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

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The Ryder Cup has returned to American hands in Muhammad Ali’s hometown of Louisville as European captain Nick Faldo’s plan to “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” went up in smoke.

Trailing by two runs entering the closing 12 singles at Valhalla, Faldo went with a sting in the tail, putting Padraig Harrington last despite the danger that the Open and PGA champion’s clash with Chad Campbell becomes irrelevant.

It paid off, and the final score was a resounding 16 1/2-11 1/2 triumph for the United States.

Paul Azinger’s side, ending a three-game losing streak, clinched victory with four games – those involving not only Harrington, but also star of the week Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell – still on the journey.

With the wind cut from their sails, Poulter managed to take four out of five wins to be the top scorer of the week and debutant McDowell also won, but Westwood and Harrington lost and thus ended the event without a win between them.

For Harrington, a mere half point to his name was the same story as at the K Club two years earlier. His two major victories made 2008 a fantastic year, of course, but as far as the Ryder Cup was concerned, he had peaked too soon.

As for Westwood, he finished with an attack on the Kentucky crowds.

I was abused from start to finish, and I don’t think this is golf

Lee Westwood

“Some of the things that were said to me were shameful,” Westwood said. “I was abused from start to finish, and I don’t think it’s golf.”

Faldo said his singles order was a team decision, but it was only six years earlier that Curtis Strange sent Tiger Woods 12th to the Belfry and that didn’t matter either.

Azinger said: “We just had a plan and we stuck to it. We created a 13th man with the crowd, and they did really well.

“The guys had an ‘all to win’ attitude and they got together as a group. In the end, it’s all about putting and heart, and our guys had a lot of heart.

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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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