Presented by

1987 - Jacklin's history makers

Europe claim an historic first win on American soil

Last Updated: 28/08/12 9:46pm

  • Share:
Ryder joy for a very youthful Faldo

Ryder joy for a very youthful Faldo

Having finally won back the Ryder Cup, Tony Jacklin and his team had a new aim - to become true history makers and win for the first time in America.



Andy Bean
Dan Pohl
Larry Mize
Mark Calcavecchia
Payne Stewart
Scott Simpson
Tom Kite
Ben Crenshaw
Larry Nelson
Curtis Strange
Lanny Wadkins
Hal Sutton

Captain: Jack Nicklaus


Ian Woosnam
Howard Clark
Sam Torrance
Nick Faldo
Jose Maria Olazabal
Jose Rivero
Sandy Lyle
Eamonn Darcy
Bernhard Langer
Seve Ballesteros
Ken Brown
Gordon Brand Jnr

Captain: Tony Jacklin

The scene was Muirfield Village, the course that Jack Nicklaus built, and the great man himself would captain the American side, but not even he could resist the European invasion.

Right from day one the bold men of Europe laid down their marker, drawing the foursomes 2-2 before adding a comprehensive 4-0 thrashing in the afternoon fourballs.

Two pairings on that opening day claimed two points apiece and they were two of the finest Ryder Cup partnerships of all - Nick Faldo-Ian Woosnam and Seve Ballesteros-Jose Maria Olazabal.

The little and large Faldo-Woosnam team continued their form on day two, halving in the morning before leading off in the afternoon against Curtis Strange and Tom Kite.

"I don't think the Americans knew what hit them," said Faldo. "Woosie and I birdied the first five holes."

"Sometimes when you're playing with Woosie you feel like putting a pair of reins on him and holding him back," continued Faldo. "Not on this day - we both played some unbelievable golf."

The Spaniards added a third win of their own on the second day, whilst Sandy Lyle and Bernhard Langer completed two wins to add to the one they achieved on the first day.

Europe led by the astonishing score of 10.5-5.5 going into the singles. Nicklaus commented: "Emotion in golf is fantastic when you're playing well and so far the Europeans have drowned us with it."

What the three strong pairings had indicated, however, was that the European team was a little top heavy so there were worries, as always, about the fate of the singles matches and those concerns were proved right.

Agonisingly tense afternoon

The Americans won five of the first seven matches out as Europe lurched towards the winning mark. Faldo and Woosnam both lost on the final green on an agonisingly tense afternoon.

Unheralded Irishman Eamonn Darcy suddenly found himself thrust into the limelight. Playing against the putter-less Ben Crenshaw - he broke it in anger on the sixth - Darcy holed a nasty six-footer on the final green to win his point and be engulfed by thankful team-mates.

That left Ballesteros in position to score the winning point against Strange and complete the momentous victory.

His partnership with the 21-year-old rookie Olazabal had been key and Olazabal was in no doubt what made them a potent force

"We understood each other very well on the golf course, we pretty much thought the same way and played pretty much the same game," he said.

"We were not that precise off the tee but we relied more on our short game. I think we had the same mentality and I think that helped to build the right chemistry when playing the foursomes and the fourballs."

Olazabal famously celebrated the win with a snake-hipped dance on the green, clapped on by Woosnam and Faldo.

"It was the first time we had won on American soil; the atmosphere and the emotions we went through that week were very, very special," he reflected afterwards.

  • Share: