Half the sporting world and more will have watched the final day of the Ryder Cup This was one of the most fascinating TV coverage’s of a mainstream sport In the last 50 years Sport is a joy to watch when played in the right manner with skills that cannot normally be matched by the average person.
The 6 hour period on Sky Sports 1 on the last day of the Ryder Cup on the last day of September 2012 was marvellous viewing 24 men from all over USA and Europe played golf in Chicago of such intensity and skill leading up to a finish with arguably one of the best two golfers ever, Tiger Woods, missing a put on the last green to allow the European team to come away with victory Europe had been well behind going into the last day and were indeed 10-4 behind towards the end of day 2 before Ian Poulter found 5 consecutive birdies from nowhere to bring it back to 10-6 going into the last day After a final day which ebbed and flowed, it all came down to the final two matches Martin Kaymer, a German but one ofus for the three days, had already ensured that the Ryder Cup had been retained in the previous match which led to joyous scenes with the other members of the team, coaches, caddies and many fans going berserk Absolutely fantastic!
To come back from such a deficit was almost a miracle. The Americans are traditionally strong in the singles format of golf and came back from a similar deficit at Brookline USA in 1999 but that with the help of the very partisan home crowd Here the European players led by Poulter stepped up to the plate away from home.
Miracles have occurred in other sports over the last 50 years and beyond who can ever forget Manchester United coming back with two goals in injury time to win the Champions League in Barcelona In 1999, having played so poorly for the remainder of the match They were without arguably the best centre midfield the club had ever had in Keane and Scholes, were outplayed but came from nowhere in added time The commentary of Clive Tyldesley in that 3 minutes will have long into the memory.
Their neighbours Manchester City came back from the dead in 2012 to snatch 2 goals in injury time to win their first league title in 44 years. City had also come back from two goals behind in the final minutes of a playoff final in 1999 when playing Gillingham defeat would have absolute disaster for the club and indeed many fans were already walking back down Wembley way resigned to another season in the lower reaches of the Football League when a massive roar signalled a goal and some hope. Miracles do happen and did.
Turning to cricket, who can ever forget the summer of 1981? Ian Botham, the rising star of English cricket, had been dropped from his position of captain after a poor tour of the West Indies and been replaced by Mike Brearley, although Botham kept his place in the side as a swashbuckling all-rounder. England were forced to follow on at Headingly, Leeds and were nearly 150 behind with only 3 wickets left when Graham Dilley joined Ian Botham at the crease. What happened then was mayhem Botham in particular hit the ball to all parts of the ground and the deficit was knocked off with approximately 125 surplus An inspired
Bob Willis then bowled the best spell in his whole career and the Australians were beaten!
In snooker the final of 1985 between the ‘unbeatable’ Steve Davis and the little known Irish player Dennis Taylor, with spectacles covering virtually all his face, proved to be one the most watched matches in British TV sport. At well past midnight over 19 million viewers were watching a game of snooker, traditionally an unfashionable sport played in smoked filled clubs, captivated by arguably the biggest fight back ever in British Sport In a game of 35 frames, Taylor was 8-0 behind but recovered to win the final on the last ball of the last game and sunk to his knees in disbelief. Pure theatre.
In Rugby Union the abiding memory is that of Sydney 2003 when England, who had never won the World cup before, were behind with very little time left when the ball was passed to Jonny Wilkinson who promptly kicked a drop goal to lead the great sports commentator, Ian Robertson, to say that England had just won the Rugby World Cup notwithstanding there was a minute nearly to go. Wilkinson became an icon.
Furthermore as far as I am aware there were no serious injuries at any event. No misplaced golf shot into the eye of a spectator; no vicious tackle in football causing a broken leg; no negligent beamer in cricket causing somebody to lose consciousness or stiff arm tackle in rugby causing fractured cheek and eye socket . If any of the above had occurred in such high profile events they can lead to claims for compensation. Just as incidents on the local fields can with the necessary supporting evidence. Claims involving snooker are difficult!