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On This Day in 2008: Paul Azinger gets better of Nick Faldo as USA retain Ryder Cup

On This Day in 2008: Paul Azinger gets better of Nick Faldo as USA retain Ryder Cup
© Reuters
Nick Faldo was criticised as the USA celebrated a 16 1/2-11 1/2 victory.

Paul Azinger comprehensively got the better of fellow captain Nick Faldo as the USA regained the Ryder Cup at Valhalla on this day in 2008.

Europe had won the previous three matches but this one ended up in a resounding 16 1/2-11 1/2 victory for the hosts.

Faldo’s decisions were criticised throughout, none more so than the order in which he sent his players out for the final day singles.

USA captain Paul Azinger pours a drink over Boo Weekley
USA captain Paul Azinger pours a drink over Boo Weekley (Rui Vieira/PA)

Europe trailed by two after the first two days but Faldo chose to leave Padraig Harrington, the Open and USPGA champion, until last despite the risk his result would be irrelevant.

That was exactly how things played out, with European giants Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell all still out on the course when the result was decided.

The winning point was secured by Jim Furyk, who beat Miguel Angel Jimenez on the 17th.

Faldo put on a brave face afterwards, saying: “We are talking about fractions between these two teams.

Nick Faldo, right, looks dejected after accepting defeat
Nick Faldo, right, looks dejected after accepting defeat (Nick Potts/PA)

“If we could get it to the last four guys – that was the risk I guess we took.

“We gave our heart and soul. The golf was fantastic and this particular week they have done us. Everybody has given 100 per cent and that’s all you can do.”

Europe reclaimed the title at Celtic Manor in 2010 and have won four of the five editions since 2008.

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