He’s the most successful European Ryder Cup captain of all time; an English golf icon with a passion for the game and a predilection for purple.
Tony Jacklin took the golf world by storm in the late 60s and held the British and US Open titles simultaneously in 1970. That remarkable achievement… along with his stellar Ryder Cup record… was an inspiration to a generation of European golfers and was instrumental in the growth of European golf.
These days the “Lion of Lytham” keeps busy designing courses. He also actively promotes the game as a global ambassador, golf media personality and public speaker. And soon… it seems… the sprightly 69 year old will be demonstrating his hitherto unknown sense of rhythm in the popular British TV show Strictly Come Dancing, the original Dancing With The Stars.
It may seem like a stretch to go from golf to ballroom dance but it’s been done before. Jan Stephenson did it on the Australian version of DWTS… she even used a golf club as a prop in one of her routines… but to no avail. She was eliminated in the third round. Tony Jacklin is certainly hoping for a longer run, and if his tenacity on the golf course is any indication he’ll probably get it. And it’s a good bet he’ll be wearing some purple.
The final day at the 2012 Ryder Cup was simply extraordinary. Here are Nick Sinclair's final thoughts after being in attendance at one of the greatest sporting events in history.
Final thoughts, by Nick Sinclair
Although he lost his singles match to Rory McIlroy on Sunday, no one played with more energy and enthusiasm this week than Keegan Bradley. The American fans adored him and he looks like he will be a US Ryder Cup stalwart for years to come. That being the case, and with the benefit of hindsight, it now seems baffling that Davis Love opted to leave Bradley (and playing partner Phil Mickelson) out of Saturday afternoon's fourball session.
Here are some of my random thoughts after watching this year’s Ryder Cup:
An American Cop won the Cup – Rory McIlroy barely made it to his teetime on Sunday. Apparently, overzealous Golf Channel watching the night before caused him to confuse his local time zone and he left his hotel an hour late. But lucky for him, there was an Illinois State Police officer at the scene that gave him a police escort to the golf course. WTF? Do you think that if the roles were reversed and an American golfer was late to a Ryder Cup in Europe that some doughnut dipper would rush him through traffic with lights flashing and sirens ‘a blazing? If I were that Smokey Bear, I would have taken Rors straight to Gino’s East and told him, “You just f*cked up the Ryder Cup. Be happy that you can drown your sorrows in the world’s best deep-dish pizza.”
The Ryder Cup produces the best golf of the year – I know that it’s not scientific, but it just seems that there are more great golf shots produced during the Ryder Cup than any other golf tournament. It’s really amazing considering all of the pressure and crowd distractions.
Ryder Cup singles match play is the best golf day – If I could only watch one day of golf, it would have to be the final day of the Ryder Cup. It seems that no lead is safe entering the final day. Unlike other golf events where only a handful of golfers really matter during the final round, every golfer matters at the Ryder Cup. Normally when I watch a golf event, I fast forward to just my favorite players and contenders. But for the Ryder Cup, I only fast forward through the commercials. Golf and excitement are two normally mutually exclusive terms. The Ryder Cup is one of the few exceptions.
The Ryder Cup brings out the passion – Not since David Duval has there been a more stoic persona on the PGA Tour than Jason Dufner. He rides the emotional roller coaster of a golf tournament like it’s Venice canal ride. But at the Ryder Cup, the guy was pumping his fists, shouting to the crowd and even smiling! Seeing that kind of passion is what’s so great about the Ryder Cup.
I don’t understand European team pride – Don’t the Germans hate the Italians, the Italians hate the Spaniards, the Spaniards hate the Brits and everyone hates the French? As an American, it’s easy to understand American pride and cheering for your country. But I think I’d have a hard time feeling that way for a general region that my country happens to reside. The European team shares a common currency (for now) but I don’t think much more. That’s why it’s puzzling to me why they care for the Ryder Cup as much as they do.
Ryder Cup Uniforms are Uniformly Awful – I have yet to watch a Ryder Cup where the outfits matched the coolness of the event. I sometimes wonder if the costume designer for “Caddyshack” found a second job dressing the Ryder Cup teams. Maybe when he dies the uniforms will improve.
Pros hit shanks too – Webb Simpson hit a hoseltoved shank iron shot off the tee earlier this month at the BMW Championship. Well he did it again on the final day of the Ryder Cup at Medinah’s par-3 8th. It seems that September is shank month for Webb since he hit a shank during the 1st round at last year’s BMW Championship. According to Simpson, “I probably shank one every other day on the range because one of my focuses in my swing is that I try to put as much force as I can on my downswing trying to get my weight through the ball,” Simpson said. “A lot of times that club will get a little behind me and that face is open and the heel gets there first.”
This is a guy who has won a U.S. Open for chrissakes! As someone who suffers from the occasional shanks, it makes me feel good to know that even pros aren’t immune to this horrible affliction.
The European team staged one of the most remarkable come backs in sporting history this morning to claim the 2012 Ryder Cup.
Until this morning, the final day of the 2010 Ryder Cup was the most dramatic golf I've watched, but this morning's climax to the 2012 Ryder Cup has easily surpassed the 2010 for drama that saw the European Team channel the spirit of the late Seve Ballesteros and produce one of the greatest come from behind victories in sporting history.
Starting the third & final day 10-6 down, the odds were stacked against Europe to even make a reasonable score, let alone retain the Ryder Cup by winning a majority of the 12 singles matches. But with Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose & Paul Lawrie winning the first five matches, the final day was an amazing show of awesome, nail-biting golf.
Ian Poulter didn’t lead in his match against Webb Simpson until the 17th hole and Justin Rose needed 18 holes to beat Phil Mickelson finishing with two sublime birdies.
While Rory McIlroy beat the young charismatic Keegan Bradley after only arriving at the Medinah Country Club ten minutes before his tee time in a police car with the excuse he had confused Eastern with Central Time!
Luke Donald & Bubba Watson was the first match of the day & the first to finish with Donald winning 2&1. But apart from Paul Lawrie thrashing US rookie Brandt Snedeker 5&3 every match was a tight one, with many switching from red to blue and back again.
It went right down to the wire, the last two matches between Steve Stricker & Martin Kaymer and Tiger Woods vs Francesco Molinari. With three holes to play both matches were all square with Europe needing just one point to retain the Ryder Cup. And it went down to the 18th when Steve Stricker made his putt and left Martin Kaymer a shot to win or lose the Ryder Cup for Europe. With just one match remaining, Kaymer won the Ryder Cup for Europe in the most amazing comeback of all-time.
In a post-match interview José María Olazábal attempted to dedicate the win to his great friend Seve Ballesteros before breaking down with emotion.
Bubba Watson lost to Luke Donald 2&1
Webb Simpson lost to Ian Poulter 2 up
Keegan Bradley lost to Rory McIlroy 2&1
Phil Mickelson lost to Justin Rose 1 up
Brandt Snedeker lost to Paul Lawrie 5&3
Dustin Johnson beat Nicolas Colsaerts 3&2
Zach Johnson beat Graeme McDowell 2&1
Jim Furyk lost to Sergio Garcia 1 up
Jason Dufner beat Peter Hanson 2 up
Matt Kuchar lost to Lee Westwood 3&2
Steve Stricker lost to Martin Kaymer 1 up
Tiger Woods v Francesco Molinari A/S