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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Ian Poulter's Medinah fightback, the McIlroy-Reed dual in 2016 and other memorable moments from the past five Ryder Cups

Also included are Boo Weekley's Happy Gilmore-inspired celebration in 2008 and Phil Mickelson's scathing attack on 2014 US captain Tom Watson

Rory McIlroy played out an epic duel with Patrick Reed in the 2016 Ryder Cup. AFP
Rory McIlroy played out an epic duel with Patrick Reed in the 2016 Ryder Cup. AFP

As Team Europe and Team USA prepare to do battle in the latest installment of the Ryder Cup this weekend, here are five memorable moments from past tournaments.

2008 - Boo helps ride US to victory

For the hosts, the stakes seemed higher than usual. The US had not won in nine years, falling to record defeats to Europe in the previous two events. So tension was high going into Sunday at Valhalla. Step up Boo Weekley. The unorthodox American, out in the sixth match, thumped his tee shot down the first fairway, then took off on his driver, using it as an imaginary horse. He defeated Oliver Wilson 4&2. A Tiger Woods-less US won the trophy comfortably, thanks in large part to captain Paul Azinger’s innovative “Pod” system.

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Read more:

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Ryder Cup 2018: Picking the most likely pairings and a couple of dream duos

Ryder Cup 2018 talking points: Can United States end European hoodoo?

How to watch the Ryder Cup in UAE: Complete guide to Europe v US

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2010 - McDowell’s magic gives Mahan Monday’s blues

For the first time in history, the Ryder Cup overflowed to Monday, after Celtic Manor had been battered by rain. Three points down overnight, the Americans stormed back, meaning the outcome rested on the final match: Graeme McDowell versus Hunter Mahan. The Northern Irishman prevailed, displaying nerves of steel to hole a snaking putt on 16 to go 2-up, before Mahan fluffed a chip from the edge of the 17th green. Tears followed in the press conference, with Mahan so inconsolable that Stewart Cink felt obliged to stick up for his crestfallen teammate.

2012 - Pumped-up Poulter’s fab five

The ‘Miracle at Medinah’ is stacked with memorable moments, but without Ian Poulter at his chest-thumping best, Europe’s unbelievable comeback would not have been possible. Europe trailed 10-4 late on Saturday and their final match out looked done, too. Poulter and Rory McIlroy were two holes down against Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner with six to play. Almost possessed, Poulter birdied the final five, winning the match with a 10-footer on 18. His roars reverberated around the course. Europe had belief. On Sunday, they rallied to take 8.5 points from 12 and, in the competition’s greatest comeback, retained the cup.

2014 - US rebel against captain Watson

Jamie Donaldson’s arrow-like approach to 15 at Gleneagles sealed a dominant victory for Europe, but the real story developed off the course, in the aftermath. Sat in the mandatory team press conference post-event, Phil Mickelson appeared to launch a stinging criticism of captain Tom Watson, a not-so-veiled questioning of his approach and strategy for the week. Asked for his opinion, poor Jim Furyk did his best to play the diplomat. Nevertheless, the incident spawned the US Taskforce, a specific committee devised to help win back the cup. By the next meeting with Europe, it had delivered on its remit.

2016 - McIlroy-Reed trading blows in a frenzy

One for the ages. McIlroy and Patrick Reed had starred for their respective teams during the first two days at Hazeltine. With typical bravado, Reed declared he wanted Europe’s top dog in the Singles, and got his wish. An epic front nine unfolded on Sunday, as both players traded blows and whipped up an already fervent crowd. It reached a crescendo on the 8th, when McIlroy drained a 60-foot putt and promptly went bananas. Reed retaliated with a matching birdie. In the end, he claimed a 1-up victory, and a prize scalp. The US soon reclaimed the cup.