Last Updated: 28/08/12 9:46pm
Jose Maria Canizares celebrates the putt that kept the trophy in European hands
How quickly things change. In 1981 the Ryder Cup was a horrible mis-match with a European side that was little short of pathetic. By the last match of the same decade the Europeans were favourites!
Jose Maria Olazabal
Christy O'Connor Jnr
Jose Maria Canizares
Gordon Brand Jnr
Captain: Tony Jacklin
Captain: Raymond Floyd
For a second time the Belfry would host the match and the famous 10th and 18th holes of that course would yet again witness drama and golfing history.
Tony Jacklin was once more the European captain and retaining the trophy was his final goal. On the American side the two defeats saw them turn to the hard man Raymond Floyd as captain and he wasted no time stirring the pot, introducing his side at the gala dinner as, "the 12 greatest players in the world."
On the first morning the Americans took control. They won two matches and halved the other two to wrestle an early two point advantage.
But in a repeat of the previous match's first session of fourballs Europe won 4-0.
The first three matches were all tight and yet not once, in any one of the four matches, did America ever lead. In the final match the reunited pairing of Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal, who halved their morning match, thumped the American team of Tom Watson and Mark O'Meara 6&5.
The second day was a nip and tuck affair, with both series of matches tied 2-2.
The Spaniards continued to be an awesome prospect for the Americans, adding two more wins to be undefeated as a pair in the match.
Late into the evening on Saturday there was a crucial contest between Mark James-Howard Clark and Payne Stewart-Curtis Strange.
That one point meant so much and ultimately the two Englishmen won it with a series of late birdies that ensured the home side would take a two point lead into the final day.
In the singles both captains threw their top performers in at the top and initially the policy worked for Floyd.
Tom Kite administered a sound thrashing of Clark 8&7, before Ballesteros, who had once been two up on Paul Azinger, floundered on the final hole and then Bernhard Langer was defeated by Chip Beck.
But then something strange began to happen - although Ballesteros was the first to find water on the final hole it suddenly became an American habit.
First Payne Stewart did it to lose to Olazabal In the next match Mark Calcavecchia did it too and handed victory to Ronan Rafferty.
Fred Couple didn't find water but his composure was shaken by one of the great shots in Ryder Cup history. His opponent, the veteran Irishman Christy O'Connor Jr, struck a 2-iron to the heart of the green.
Couples had only 9-iron for his second shot but pushed it wide of the green and victory was O'Connor Jr's.
Engulfed by rapturous team-mates they finally calmed down enough to see Jose Maria Canizares tap in for victory on 18 himself, a win that guaranteed Europe would retain the trophy.
The Americans fought like tigers in the remaining matches however and refused to be beaten, eventually recording a 14-14 tie, only the second in history.
Jacklin ended his reign saying, "You have got to know when to quit and this is the time. It's been an honour and a privilege."
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