1999 Ryder Cup
|Dates||September 24–26, 1999|
|Venue||The Country Club|
|Captains||Ben Crenshaw (USA)
Mark James (Europe)
|United States wins the Ryder Cup|
The American team won the competition by a margin of 14½ to 13½, The Europeans, leading 10–6 heading into the final round, needed only 4 points on the final day to retain the cup. But the Americans rallied on Sunday, winning the first 6 matches of the day to surge into the lead. Jim Furyk upset Sergio García to give the Americans their 8th point of the day, and the Americans recaptured the cup when Justin Leonard halved his match with José María Olazábal.
The behavior of the U.S. team was criticized after they raucously invaded the 17th green following a long putt from Leonard before Olazábal could tackle a shorter putt which would have kept European hopes alive, an incident which was viewed by many as appalling sportsmanship. Veteran broadcaster Alistair Cooke described the last day of the tournament as "a date that will live in infamy" in a Letter from America entitled "The arrival of the golf hooligan".
It was nevertheless tied as the largest come-from-behind victory in Ryder Cup history with Europe achieving the same feat in 2012, and it is widely regarded as one of the most impressive come-from-behind victories in recent sports history.
- 1 Pre-match tensions and aftermath
- 2 17th green incident
- 3 The course
- 4 Format
- 5 Teams
- 6 Friday's matches
- 7 Saturday's matches
- 8 Sunday's singles matches
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Pre-match tensions and aftermath
Members of the U.S. team spoke out in press conferences in what appeared to be a blatant attempt to bait certain members of the European team into a confrontational response. Jeff Maggert being one of the worst offenders when (at the time ranked 18 in the world) lavishly and outspokenly said "lets face it, we've got the worlds' 12 best players". Colin Montgomerie was one of the first to respond detailing "You want someone to bite?, well I'm not going to!" Payne Stewart also claimed by the strength of the European team, they should be caddying for the U.S. team not playing against them.
The bad atmosphere continued into the week with the American fans heckling and abusing the European players to the point that Payne Stewart, playing Montgomerie in the Sunday singles, picked his ball up on the 18th fairway and conceded the match out of courtesy to Montgomerie who seemed to be the target of the majority of the fans taunts. Analysis of the event in its aftermath seemed to conclude that the U.S. team and their fans' behavior throughout the matches had been unacceptable which led to many apologies from many of the American players. Many American journalists had conceded that the matches had become so intense to the point that they were no longer being played in the spirit that Samuel Ryder had intended.
17th green incident
In the Sunday singles, Justin Leonard playing José María Olazábal in the ninth match of the order arrived at the green all square with at that point the U.S. team having 14 points and only requiring Leonard's point or half a point to make the remarkable comeback complete. Putting first from over 40 feet from the hole, he sank the putt meaning if Jose didn't hole his putt of roughly 25 feet then USA would be guaranteed victory as Leonard would be 1up with one hole to play thus gaining at least half a point. When Leonard's putt went in, almost the entire U.S. team and some fans ran onto the green to congratulate him being completely oblivious to the fact should Olazábal hole his putt then the match would technically still not be over. Not only did they act prematurely but many of the players and camera crew who had ran onto the green to film the incident walked over the putting line of Olazábal which goes against the etiquette of golf.
This incident was met with extreme criticism from the worlds' watching media accusing the Americans of bad sportsmanship. Many of the European players were extremely critical of their actions including Sam Torrance one of the vice captains calling the American's behavior "disgusting". Tom Lehman who was singled out as one of the worst offenders admitted the U.S. team had been more than over-exuberant on the final day of the competition and apologized on the teams' behalf.
The Country Club, located in Brookline, Massachusetts, is one of the oldest country clubs in the United States. It was one of the five charter clubs which founded the United States Golf Association, and has hosted numerous USGA tournaments including the U.S. Open in 1913, won by then-unknown Francis Ouimet. The club is one of the largest of its kind in the northeastern U.S., with about 1300 members.
- Day 1 (Friday) — 4 four-ball (better ball) matches in a morning session and 4 foursome (alternate shot) matches in an afternoon session
- Day 2 (Saturday) — 4 foursome matches in a morning session and 4 four-ball matches in an afternoon session
- Day 3 (Sunday) — 12 singles matches
With a total of 28 points, 14½ points were required to win the Cup, and 14 points were required for the defending champion to retain the Cup. All matches were played to a maximum of 18 holes.
The 1999 European Team Points Table began in September 1998, and concluded on August 22, 1999, after the BMW International Open. The top 10 players in the Points Table qualified automatically for the team. Captain Mark James then left out the number 11 player Robert Karlsson and the experienced (but out-of-form) Bernhard Langer by instead selecting Andrew Coltart and Jesper Parnevik as the two 'wild card' players to round out the team.
Captain: Mark James
- Darren Clarke
- Sergio García
- Pádraig Harrington
- Miguel Ángel Jiménez
- Paul Lawrie
- Colin Montgomerie
- José María Olazábal
- Jarmo Sandelin
- Jean van de Velde
- Lee Westwood
- Andrew Coltart — captain's pick
- Jesper Parnevik — captain's pick
The 1999 U.S. Ryder Cup Team was chosen on the basis of points compiled by the PGA of America, early 1998, through the 81st PGA Championship, Aug. 12-15, 1999. Points are awarded for top-10 finishes at PGA Tour co-sponsored or sanctioned events, with added emphasis on major championships and events played during the Ryder Cup year. The top 10 finishers on the points list automatically qualified for the 12-member team, and U.S. Captain Ben Crenshaw selected the final two players—Steve Pate and Tom Lehman.
Captain: Ben Crenshaw
- David Duval
- Jim Furyk
- Justin Leonard
- Hal Sutton
- Davis Love III
- Jeff Maggert
- Phil Mickelson
- Mark O'Meara
- Payne Stewart
- Tiger Woods
- Steve Pate — captain's pick
- Tom Lehman — captain's pick
|Montgomerie/Lawrie||3 & 2||Mickelson/Duval|
|García/Parnevik||2 & 1||Lehman/Woods|
|Clarke/Westwood||3 & 2||Maggert/Sutton|
|Jiménez/Olazábal||2 & 1||Maggert/Sutton|
|Clarke/Westwood||3 & 2||Furyk/O'Meara|
|Parnevik/García||3 & 2||Stewart/Leonard|
|Clarke/Westwood||2 & 1||Mickelson/Lehman|
|Montgomerie/Lawrie||2 & 1||Pate/Woods|
Sunday's singles matches
|Lee Westwood||3 & 2||Tom Lehman|
|Darren Clarke||4 & 2||Hal Sutton|
|Jarmo Sandelin||4 & 3||Phil Mickelson|
|Jean van de Velde||6 & 5||Davis Love III|
|Andrew Coltart||3 & 2||Tiger Woods|
|Jesper Parnevik||5 & 4||David Duval|
|Pádraig Harrington||1 up||Mark O'Meara|
|Miguel Ángel Jiménez||2 & 1||Steve Pate|
|José María Olazábal||halved||Justin Leonard|
|Colin Montgomerie||1 up||Payne Stewart|
|Sergio García||4 & 3||Jim Furyk|
|Paul Lawrie||4 & 3||Jeff Maggert|
- "Europe fired up for Ryder defence". BBC News. September 15, 2008. Retrieved April 21, 2010.
- Lehman named US Ryder Cup captain, BBC Sport, November 3, 2004.
- Davies, David. Casey opens war with America, The Guardian, November 18, 2004.
- Cooke, Alistair (October 4, 1999). "The arrival of the golf hooligan". BBC News. Retrieved October 2, 2010.
- Shipnuck, Alan (October 4, 1999). "Ryder Cup 1999: Smokin'". Sports Illustrated.
- "Maggert says US are the worlds best". Golf Today. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- Brown, Clifton (September 22, 1999). "Maggert Cannot Hide His Confidence". Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- The Gigantic Book of Golf Quotations, ed. Jim Apfelbaum. 2007.
- Markus, Don (October 26, 1999). "First peace, then tragedy". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
- "Americans still seeking forgiveness for Ryder Cup behaviour". Golf Today. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- "The Ryder Cup – Quotations". Golf Today. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- "Fury over Ryder Cup celebrations". BBC News. September 27, 1999. Retrieved March 18, 2013.