Top matches of 2012 - No.2: Miracle at Medinah

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Martin Kaymer of Europe celebrates after making the winning putt as his caddie Craig Connelly watches on the 18th green to win The 39th Ryder Cup. Photo / Getty Images.
Martin Kaymer of Europe celebrates after making the winning putt as his caddie Craig Connelly watches on the 18th green to win The 39th Ryder Cup. Photo / Getty Images.

The stunning, spectacular and the sentimental, nzherald.co.nz lists the top ten sporting matches of 2012.

Number 2: The miracle at Medinah
September 28-30, 2012

The 2012 Ryder Cup will long be remembered as one of the great days in European sporting history.

European leader Ian Poulter was on the rampage, Rory McIlroy was in a police car and noisy American supporters were silenced over three of the most dramatic days the world of sport has ever witnessed.

It looked as though the United States team was going to put together a two-game winning streak at Medinah when the Americans took a 10-6 advantage into Sunday's singles matches.

But like a lightning bolt, the Europeans won the first five singles matches to take the lead.

The battle continued through the rest of the 12 matches, but Europe finally prevailed by the results of three amazing matches: Justin Rose making birdies on the last two holes to beat Phil Mickelson; Jim Furyk making bogey on the last two holes to hand his match to Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer, a controversial captain's pick, drained a six-foot par putt on 18 to defeat Steve Stricker and clinch the Cup.

The story of McIlroy getting his tee-time wrong and turning up via police escort minutes before teeing off, the vocal banter and rivalry between European and American fans and the fact that the Europeans had been written off by golf fans across the world only added to the tension, emotion and drama of the occasion.

It could be argued that this was the greatest comeback in sports history, considering the pressure, the circumstances, the location, the way the U.S. team had performed for two days and the sheer number of points Europe had to get in a single day of play.

For golf pros the 'miracle at Medinah' will always be referenced as a reminder to never give up, and for the fans, it will be remembered for being one hell of a ride.

What they said:

Oliver Holt of the Daily Mirror
To those lists we all did for Sports Personality of the Year after the Olympics and Paralympics, we can add the name of Ian Poulter. Because among all the 12 heroes of this team, Poulter was the leader, the man who stood tallest, the man who summoned defiance when others were falling. And what about McIlroy. After all the drama, arriving at the course in a police car 11 minutes before his tee time, he played beautifully. His role was vital. He took down Keegan Bradley, the kingpin and cheerleader of the US team.

Steven Howard of the Sun
They saved the best to last. After a summer unsurpassed in the annals of sporting history, Europe's Ryder Cup team went and rewrote it here at Medinah yesterday. And I can tell you one thing for nothing: The Windy City looks mighty pretty this morning. Jose Maria Olazabal's Europe had been written off in the morning as embarking on Mission Impossible. We said that barring a miracle all that was left was the administering of the last rites. That there was a mathematical chance was only because of Ian Poulter's five birdies in the last five holes the previous night. With two hours to go yesterday the USA were STILL predicted to win 16½-11½. Well, the European bravehearts showed us all.

Steve Busfield of the Guardian
After two days of triumphalism came silence. Followed by chants of "Olé, olé, olé, olé, olé, olé." Even before the final blow was struck in Europe's amazing triumph, tens of thousands of Americans were streaming towards the exits stunned by the turnaround. The whooping, hollering and chants of "USA! USA!" that had been the main features of days one and two disappeared. The European fans gathered around the 18th green to enjoy the moment. The departing fans taunted by one group with a chant of "10-6 and you f****d it up".

Top matches of 2012
Number 3: East Coast snare Meads Cup in dramatic fashion
No.4 - Rabbitohs make improbable comeback
No.5 - Pacquiao knocked out cold
No. 6 - Breakers triumph in overtime
No.7 - Epic Aussie Open final
No. 8 - Blues suffer last minute heartbreak
No.9 - Arsenal make astonishing comeback
No.10 - Black Sticks go down fighting

Tomorrow we will complete our best matches of 2012 series. Which ones stood out? Have your say below.

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