It was one of the most stunning collapses in the history of golf or any other sport.
The Meltdown at Medinah belongs on the short list of most embarrassing choke jobs in American sports history, as Europe tied the biggest single-day comeback in Ryder Cup history but blew the previous effort out of the water by doing it on enemy soil.
Captain Davis Love III’s group will go down in as much infamy as the 1969, ’84 and 2003 Chicago Cubs, 1992 Houston Oilers, 2004 New York Yankees, 2007 and ’08 New York Mets, 1964 Philadelphia Phillies, last year’s Boston Red Sox, Jean van de Velde’s meltdown at the 1999 British Open, and just about every major Greg Norman ever played in.
The only team on that list that blew its wad in a single day was the Oilers, who blew a 35-3 halftime lead to the Bills in the Wild Card playoff before Frank Reich went all Frank Reich on them. That’s probably the most apt non-golf comparison for the Americans, who were 4/5ths of the way home before letting this one slip away.
Needing only 4.5 of 12 available points to clinch the Cup, the U.S. could only manage a meager 3.5, finishing the day with 3 wins, 8 losses and a draw from Tiger Woods, though by that time his match with Francesco Molinari was moot.
The magnitude of the collapse was so severe that it wasn’t possible for anyone to see it coming. Except for a Canadian comedian known for awesome Bob Dole impersonations.
That’s right. The seer of seers, prognosticator of prognosticators who saw the U.S. collapse coming was SNL alum and golf aficionado Norm MacDonald. A look at MacDonald’s Twitter feed from late Saturday night shows that he pretty much nailed the thing down to a T.
The only thing Norm screws up? Calling a Tiger win and a Zach Johnson-Graeme McDowell tie.
He is far more prescient at determining the match that would seal the deal.
“Stricker has done nothing but play badly and lose.”
Sure enough, poor Steve Stricker absolutely tanked down the home stretch to hand a win to Martin Kaymer, who was hardly playing lights-out golf coming in to this event.
In the end, Norm ended up calling it far more accurately than the guy who is actually paid to cover golf, ESPN’s Rick Reilly.
Perhaps this is karma for American audiences being too dull to fully appreciate Norm’s sense of humor when they had the chance. At least “Dirty Work” will always have a place in my heart.