by Ray Fleming

“ Quiet Olazabal fails to inject spark at the key moment” was a premature headline about the Ryder Cup yesterday in a newspaper which shall be nameless. Deadlines are terrible things. In fact, at the key moment on Sunday morning, Europe's Spanish captain, Jose Maria Olazabal, had struck the necessary spark by leading with his in-form golfers in the hope that they would claw back the advantage held by Americans at the start of the last day.

The tactic worked and in one of greatest recoveries in the history of the Ryder Cup the Europe team were narrowly victorious. In his victory speech Olazabal spoke emotionally of the “spirit of Seve” which had inspired the team of twelve Europeans. Seve Ballesteros, Spain's iconic golfer, died in May last year and his distinctive silhouette was to be seen on the sleeves of all the team.; he and Olazabal had been partners in Ryder Cups of the past.

The tide in what appeared to be a certain victory for America had turned late on Saturday when the UK players Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter won impressively and brought Europe within striking distance of the US. Even so, Sunday was never easy especially with a sometimes intimidating crowd who had come to see the American victory.

So the Europeans -- Spanish, Belgian, British, German, Italian and Swedish -- can win together. An example for the EU?