2012

THE MIRACLE AT MEDINAH

The 39th Ryder Cup was held 28th-30th September 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois, U.S.

Glenmuir worked with European Team Captain José María Olazábal in designing matching Shirts and Sweaters for each day of the competition, including practice days.

EUROPE MAKE RECORD COMEBACK

Europe were victorious with 14½ points to the American's 13½.

At the start of the final day's play, the US Team led 10–6 and required 4½ points to win; Europe required 8 points to retain the Ryder Cup and 8½ to win it outright. Europe achieved one of the greatest comebacks in Ryder Cup history by winning eight and tying one of the 12 singles matches.

KNITTING THE EUROPEAN TEAM TOGETHER SINCE 1987

The prestigious partnership with Glenmuir supplying the European Ryder Cup Team for over 25 years is one of the longest-running in the world of high-profile professional sport and reflects that the Glenmuir brand and its products perform at the highest levels of the game.

Read our Glenmuir Diary below from the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah.

Monday 24th September

Monday AM: It seems so long ago that we started work with José María Olazábal on the shirts and sweaters for the European Ryder Cup team to wear at the matches to be played in Medinah, Chicago and here I am on the Team charter flight just two hours away from Chicago.

The charter flight left Heathrow at midday today, the majority of the European Team are already Stateside enjoying successes on the USPGA Tour but we have already spotted Francesco Molinari, Nicolas Colsaerts and Paul Lawrie who I spoke to wish him well for the week. José María Olazábal and Miguel Ángel Jiménez have both been mingling with the passengers and we spotted Sam Torrance as we checked in.

The final few months before each event is always stressful and the added complications of meeting deadlines to get the product to the USA for the away matches invariably gives us all, and me in particular, a number of sleepless nights. It is always a huge relief to get confirmation that all the product has arrived at the team hotel and that happened over a week ago so all we can do now is hope that the players are happy.

Having just hit the full stop key, and bearing in mind my previous comments I am taken aback by a tap on the shoulder from Sandy Jones informing me that the Captain would like to see me!! My heart sank as I started to imagine what could have gone wrong so I nervously followed him to the front of the aircraft. To my absolute surprise and delight José María thanked me for the longstanding support of Ryder Cup and presented me with a plaque from Ryder Cup and Team Europe in appreciation of Glenmuir's 25 years of continuous supply of the European Team on course sweaters and shirts. Fortunately Andy Redington of Getty Images was on hand to capture the presentation which took place 54 degrees North, 72 degrees west some 500 miles north of Montreal at 35,000 feet. What could be a better start for the coming week, can’t wait for the golf to get underway.

Monday PM: Our outward charter landed at Rockford International airport which is a predominantly freight facility and on taxying to the terminal we were greeted by the Fire Department who set up two pumps either side of the tarmac to create an arc of water for the aircraft to pass under and the officers saluted us as we passed, what a great way to welcome us!

Being a freight airport with no other passengers we flew through custom and immigration control, again the staff were extremely courteous and welcoming.

Bags were retrieved in record time and outside the terminal awaiting us a fleet of buses fully customised externally with Ryder Cup Medinah branding and a huge image of the Cup, cameras were quickly found to record for posterity.

The best however was yet to come. As soon as we were ready to roll, each coach had its own personal Chicago Police Department escort, one vehicle at the front and one at the rear who shot past us at each intersection to stop motorists entering the motorway and at each traffic light to allow us to pass through irrespective of the light’s colour.

I only hope that such warm hospitality and generous treatment is afforded to the American visitors when they arrive in Scotland in 2014. It was certainly VIP treatment and made us all feel very welcome.

The welcome continued at the Hotel where we were pre-checked in and for most of us it was straight to bed exhausted.

Pictures from the first day at Medinah Country Club for the 2012 Ryder Cup (© Getty Images)

Tuesday 25th September

Tuesday AM: Being used to just one 4.30 in each day that falls late afternoon my body was shocked to discover that another 4.30 exists in the middle of the night! Hope that those Team members having to travel from Europe manage to get through the time barrier by Friday.

As dawn broke there was no indication of the beautiful sunny day that lay ahead. Breakfast over we headed for Medinah Golf and Country Club on the hotel shuttle bus, again we were struck by the friendliness of those we came across.

Today was first practice day and would be the first sighting of the European team wearing the product we designed for them in conjunction with Jose Maria Olazabal. The shirts were Etna(Orange to you and me) with white trim and the cashmere sweaters Etna and Blackberry(dark navy) and worn with navy trousers, the belt, cap and shoes were white. Caddies were kitted out to match.

On entering the ground I was instantly overwhelmed by the sheer size of the place. Medinah G & CC has three 18 hole courses set in beautiful parkland and the most imposing Club House. The second thing that hit me was vast number of spectators milling around on this the first day of practice.

Today was also very special in that we were amongst a privileged few to be allowed access throughout the day to the Club House and so we decided to make this our first call before heading out on to the course. There is a real thrill to being waived through the tight security that screens the clubhouse from the general public and the interior is sumptuous with beautifully hand painted domed ceilings and wood panelling everywhere.

Out on the course we found a spot between the 12th green and the 13th tee to watch the Europeans play through. After a wait of around 45 minutes I could just make out a mass of orange colour on the 12th tee and we were soon rewarded with some great approach shots to this pretty difficult green protected by a tall tree and with the added difficulty of anything right likely to run off to the water hazard.

We thought they all looked great in their Tuesday outfits.

The USA do a great job in attracting spectators and making even practice day a terrific experience. Those attending were able to see the best golfers from the USA and Europe followed by a Captain/Celebrity scramble with such great names as Trevino, Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw playing along with Michael Phelps, Bill Murray and Justin Timberlake to mention just a few.All in all a great crowd pleasing fun event.

A great day at the golf course comes to an end as we have to get back to get ready for a Ryder Cup Welcome Evening tonight where the good and great of the Golf Industry will be assembled, should be a great night

I have to keep reminding myself that this is only day one and clearly need to pace myself to see the week through.

Times like these you wish you could bottle and keep for later.

Tuesday PM: Attended the Ryder Cup Europe welcome reception on the roof terrace of the Renaissance Schaumburg, lovely evening and nice to be outside and in such pleasant company. Guests included player’s families so it was great to meet them informally.

A group of ladies were planning a sightseeing trip to Chicago for Wednesday and Mrs M decided to join them leaving me to enjoy the golf. Chatting to Lee Westwood’s mum and dad and Mrs M mentioned the trip to Mrs Westwood who said that she would also like to go on the trip and john Westwood asked if I would like to join him following Lee in the practice session, obviously I was delighted to accompany him and we agreed a meeting time.

Pictures from Day 2 at Medinah Country Club for the 2012 Ryder Cup (© Getty Images)

Wednesday 26th September

Breakfasted early and Mrs M just made the bus in time. I made my way to the shuttle bus collection area and met up with John (Westwood, father of Lee). On arrival at the Course John headed for the players family lounge and we agreed to meet at the first tee just before the 10 am tee off time. At 9.30 I approached the first tee and my heart sank as the area was teeming with thousands of spectators who had seen Team USA off and were waiting for the Europeans. I thought my chances of meeting John were next to nothing but fought my way through the crowds to the practice putting green and eventually John appeared but inside the barriers. He came over to me and to my surprise handed me a green arm band to get me inside the ropes.

At this point I had to pinch myself to make sure I had not died and gone to heaven.

I was inside the barrier in a flash and watching the entire team on the putting green.

As the time approached John said we had better get over to the tee and at this point it dawned on me that the only way to do this was over the Bridge!! We were a few paces ahead of the players and as we hit the top step to descend from the bridge to the tee the players came in to the sight of the crowd to tumultuous applause, cheers and whistling. That moment will stay with me forever.

Abhishek managed to get inside the ropes at The Open at Sandwich and I now fully understand what a fantastic experience it can be. Seeing shots played by such talented golfers at close range and being party to the banter between players, caddies and coaches was an absolute treat.

I am so indebted to John for the opportunity; he is such an interesting and knowledgeable character and truly great company. Both of us being from Nottinghamshire we are obviously kindred spirits.

Can anything top this? I doubt it, but this evening we are off to the Gala dinner so who knows?

Wednesday PM: Attended the Official Gala Dinner evening at the Convention Center in Rosemont and delighted to be at the same table as our good friends David and Diane Huish and Alex McLeish and his wife Gill, Alex proved to be a great raconteur.

The meal was delicious albeit unusual as the main course consisted of beef and a salmon fillet.

After dining we transferred by shuttle bus to the Akoo theatre in Rosemont for the nights entertainment hosted by Justin Timberlake. Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel gave a welcome address. The cabaret opened with a tribute to the Blues Brothers followed by a stand- up comedy set by George Lopez. The rock band Chicago played a medley of their number 1 singles and album tracks and the evening culminated with the introduction of the Ryder Cup team members and their wives and partners.

I am reliably informed that much twitter debate has since occurred as to who wore the best dress!

Another late night to bed, but mind and body now getting more in sync with USA time.

Pictures from Day 3 at Medinah Country Club for the 2012 Ryder Cup (© Getty Images)

Thursday 27th September

Thursday AM: Thankfully remembered to get wedding anniversary card before leaving UK so brownie points earned!!

Leisurely start to the day as we would not be returning to the course until 8pm.

No doubt about it I should have trained for this visit for the last few months, much stamina is required in making sure that nothing is missed.

Amazed at the number of spectators again today, I have never seen crowds of this size in my past experience of Ryder Cup matches. Chicago locals love their sport and are turning out in big numbers to support Team USA.

We are fortunate enough to get seating for the afternoon Opening Ceremony but this entails getting to the seats by 3pm for the ceremony starting at 4pm. A number of old friends from the Golf Industry arrived last night and so it was good to meet up with them which made the waiting less painful. We spent much of the time Celeb spotting, no doubt about it, Golf brings together some odd bedfellows.

Justin Timberlake and NBC Sports’ Dan Hicks jointly hosted the ceremony introducing the Officials from The USPGA and Ryder Cup Europe, past Captains from both sides of the Atlantic and eventually the Teams and partners. Both Captains made excellent speeches and Phil Weaver, Chairman of the PGA of GB and Ireland delivered a moving speech in which he referred to Seve’s huge influence on the game of golf and in particular to the Ryder Cup competition.

Music was provided by the 60 piece Chicago Youth Symphony orchestra and American Idol’s Joshua Ledet backed by Soul Children of Chicago performed the Beatles classic “Come Together”

The Flags of the USA and Europe were raised to signify the start of the competition and American Idol winner, Jordin Sparks sang the Star Spangled Banner.

The expected flypast by American Air force F15’s failed to materialise much to my relief as the ceremony took place directly under the flight path of the main Chicago airport with flights passing overhead at one minute intervals.

Otherwise it ranked as a great Opening Ceremony that the USA organisers can rightly feel proud of.

Immediately after the Ceremony a Scotland cocktail reception took place at Medinah, Douggie Donnelly introduced the First Minister for Scotland who gave a welcome speech, Colin Montgomerie, Bernard Gallagher and Sam Torrance, all past Ryder Cup Captains were in attendance. The official Ryder Cup 2014 painting by Graeme Baxter was unveiled and a good night was had by all.

A quick coffee at the hotel before turning in completed my day.

Tomorrow morning sees the first matches and we have planned a 5.30 am start to try and get seats on the first tee. Bets are being placed on who will strike the first ball for Team Europe, will it be Rory or G MAC, whatever we are delighted to see play commence and will be doing our level best to give whoever as much encouragement as we can muster.

Can’t wait.

Pictures from Day 4 at Medinah Country Club for the 2012 Ryder Cup (© Getty Images)

Friday 28th September

Alarm kicks in at 4.50 am; shower and dress on auto pilot and somehow manage to get myself to the shuttle point in time for the 5.30 am first bus to the course.

A motley crew of the renaissance Hotel barmy army, bleary eyed and armed to the teeth with Euro flags quickly fill the first coach.

We arrive at Medinah just before 6 am and are fully aware that gates open to the public at 6.30 am. We blag our way past security with a variety of confidently expressed claims ranging from being Media accredited, players, caddies, coaches or just plain stupid. Seems to work well before they suddenly latch on but by this time we are all sprinting to the ultimate prize of prime position in the seating terrace behind the tee box and looking straight down the fairway, I will not name names but most are old enough to know better.

By 6.10 am there is not a single place left on the terraces and the first tee off is scheduled for 7.20 am, notwithstanding the cold and dark we are satisfied that we have sufficient numbers to make our presence felt against the huge numbers of USA supporters expected.

As daylight steadily replaces the darkness we tentatively test the level of support for each team with some light hearted banter.

We quickly find out that we are considerably outnumbered.

I can’t help thinking that the opposition have a distinct advantage in being able to sustain a considerable decibel output by merely repeating YOU ESS AY whereas we can do little to counter with any variation of EUROPE, maybe we need to consider alternatives.

Thus we are reduced to repeating OLE OLE OLE, OY OY OY.

Initial advantage goes to Team Europe as we are armed with our euro Flags and none have been issued to the Americans, after taunting them about their lack of waving weaponry supplies are sent for to redress the balance and soon we are back on equal terms and the baiting continues.

As the Sun continues to rise, the galleries alongside the first tee grow in numbers until we are seriously outnumbered but the banter continues much to everyone’s enjoyment.

Excitement mounts as the vice captains arrive on the Tee and Freddie Couples is soon orchestrating the assembled throng. The appearance of Michael Jordan in support of Team USA whilst appreciated by the Europeans raises the decibel levels to new heights.

Finally what we have all waited for when Furyk and Snedeker appear on the bridge closely followed by McDowell and Mcilroy, the crowds erupt and the first tee atmosphere is electric.

I spot GMac sliding his glove on and congratulate myself on correctly predicting the first strike. A hush descends as GMac takes a practise swing and we are away with a pretty horrible drive that finishes up in the middle of the crowd on the left of the fairway.

Snedeker steps up to the plate and booms a magnificent drive splitting the fairway, we all groan as we are taunted by the opposition supporters quietly hoping that our time will come.

The banter continues between the two sets of supporters who counter each other with world rankings and majors won whilst Mickelson and Bradley take on Donald and Garcia and Dufner and Johnson take on Westwood and Molinari. The V sign from Molinari in response to the chants of there’s only one Molinari is lost on most people but I find it quite amusing. Woods and Stricker arrive quickly followed by Poulter and Rose. Tense handshakes take place and Woods and Poulter appear distant, Poulter nails his drive splitting the fairway and Woods responds with a pretty ugly drive that finishes amongst the crowd to the left of the fairway, finally our time has come.

With all the matches away much patting of backs and handshakes take place between supporters from each camp and best wishes extended.

We all agree that the experience has been worth the lack of sleep and glow in the satisfaction that we have done our best to support our teams.

After a brilliant start for Europe, USA starts a fight back and we finish the morning session level.

The afternoon session is dominated by the USA who takes three points but a spirited performance by Westwood and rookie Colsaerts gains Europe a point to take us to three points against five for the USA at the end of Day one.

Wearily we return to the hotel suffering from sleep deprivation vowing to do it all again on Saturday.

Pictures from Day 5 at Medinah Country Club for the 2012 Ryder Cup (© Getty Images)

Saturday 29th September

The renaissance hotel barmy army decided I should be rested this morning to save my energy for the important afternoon four-ball matches (actually a rare business meeting interrupted the enjoyment).

Arrived at the course to dissapointing morning results for Team Europe, thankfully Poulter and Rose made their point but only after being taken to the 18th hole by Watson and Simpson. A magnificent second shot to the green by Bubba left a great birdie opportunity to square the match,fortunately for us it was missed and avoided a total morning wipeout.

After watching all the afternoon matches off the first tee and suffering the overwhelming presence of the USA support we headed out to our favoured spot around the 12th tee, a great vantage point for 6 holes.

Crowds are awesome and very vocal.

By mid afternoon the scoreboard makes depressing reading with all matches showing red figures.

USA are on a roll and fans are getting behind them, even the marshalls protecting the greens are orchestrating the chants of the fans in the seating terraces. Only a matter of time before we get cheerleaders in short skirts waving pom poms!

Watson and Simpson take an early point from Rose and Molinari.

The signs are depressing but a spirited fightback by the Europeans in the remaing matches gives us cause for celebration. A fantastic end to the day's play ensues with Lawrie & Colsaerts just losing by one hole to Johnson & Kuchar and Garcia & Donald and Poulter & Mcilroy achieving wins in the most exciting matches so far.

Some terrific golf being played, Keegan Bradley and Web Simpson exciting to watch and Colsaerts turning in some superb golf. Love him or hate him you have to acknowlege Poulter's huge influence, he has been magnificent so far and undefeated in his three matches.

We finish the afternoon with 6 points to USA's 10, could have been much worse as we convince ourselves that 8 wins in tomorrows singles is doable!

Great evening celebrating PGA Captain Eddie Bullock's birthday, much dancing, drinking, singing and laughing amongst good friends.

Much to do on Sunday but not impossible, hope to see Team Europe come out fighting.

Pictures from Day 6 at Medinah Country Club for the 2012 Ryder Cup (© Getty Images)

Sunday 30th September

Another beautiful sunny autumn day here in Chicago and an 11.05 start gives us a welcome lie in but wanting to savour every moment we are on the 7.40 am shuttle to the course.

A fairly muted atmosphere prevails amongst the Renaissance Hotel Team Europe barmy army and tactics for the day are the main topic of conversation during the journey.

General consensus is that we are in for a drumming and the best outcome hoped for is respectability. We all agree that the USA support will be awesome and the best plan was to spread our scant resources across the course and to be as visible as possible to our players on every hole.

Arrive on the course at 8 am and vast numbers of spectators already there and the terracing on the first is filled to capacity 3 hours before the first match.

We head out and cannot get anywhere near a green until we reach the 9th.

Our favoured position is by the players exit to the tenth from where we can see the approach shots to the ninth green, great visibility of the ninth pin, a huge scoreboard and by looking in the opposite direction, the tenth tee.

We quickly assemble a block of 12 Team Europe supporters confident that as our players leave the green we can make a noise and show our support and encouragement.

Fortunately it is a perfect morning so we camp out under the rope for the anticipated three hour wait for our first sighting of play but greatly entertained by the Five live team who are providing on site radio coverage throughout.

Great camaraderie is soon established amongst the few European supporters, shopping trips are made for provisions whilst favoured spots are guarded.

As 11.00am approaches Five live bring us staggering news that Rory Mcilroy has not turned up and is due out in the third match at 11.25 against the USA’s newly found god, Keegan Bradley. We learn a few minutes later that he has now arrived and on the putting green munching on a breakfast bar having misjudged local time by one hour when setting his wake up alarm.

We all find it beyond belief that with so much back up and support that this could happen to a competitor in the third most televised sporting event in the world. There is much speculation amongst the spectators.

A glance at the scoreboard at 11 am reminds us of the hill that has to be climbed, USA 10 to Europe’s 6 and 12 games starting all square, we need to take 8 of the remaining 12 points to draw and retain the cup and conversely USA need to take 5 of the remaining points for an outright win.

The way that Team USA has played so far favours them and history has never seen a last day turnaround of this magnitude.

The singles matches start at 11.03 with Luke Donald taking on Bubba Watson, we are well informed on progress by 5 live, joy of joys, Luke roars out like a lion and takes the first hole. We scream at the scoreboard attendants some 40 yards away to take off the all square and put the first blue on the scoreboard and they gracefully oblige. Every positive is so vital at this stage.

The ever inspiring Poulter is second match on against Webb Simpson, both of whom have played magnificently in the preceding matches. The USA support on the opening holes is even more intense than Valhalla.

Rory, still with bedding in his eyes and lacking any warm up is third off against Keegan Bradley. The USA supporters whilst highly vocal have a limited repertoire of chants and “get in the hole” and YOU ESS AY soon become very boring. The European support tends to be a bit more inventive, entertaining and self- deprecating. As soon as Rory appears the Europeans unite in singing “Rory, Rory, what’s the time, Rory, What’s the time? Rory acknowledges with a big grin.

Captain Olazabal has obviously inspired his team for today, the team are dressed in white shirts and dark navy sweaters in tribute to Seve, Seve’s outline logo is clearly visible on each players shirt and sweater, a constant reminder to them all of Seve’s huge influence on Ryder Cup and his dogged refusal to ever give up despite the odds.

More blue numbers appear and optimism rises, game now on we are definitely going to give them a run for their money.

At last we have started to put, the greens have been variously described as ranging from a marble floor to putting on glass. Again it gives us something to be cheerful about.

Donald piles the pressure on Watson and Paul Lawrie rapidly gains control of his match against Brandt Snedeker.

At last we get to see some golf as Donald appears and nails his approach to the green to within 4 foot of the hole. Bubba’s drive is nearer but sitting amongst the trees at the right hand side of the fairway from where his second shot hits the right greenside bunker. Luke makes his put and wins the hole and we, of course, go mental screaming support and waving flags gain his attention and a touch to his visor and a big smile – Result.

The 9th proves to be a great hole for Team Europe all afternoon, at 432 yards with a slight dogleg left to right it has not been possible to dramatically tailor it to the USA’s big hitters much to our delight.

Blue continues to dominate the scoreboard and shortly before the last match through the 9th we get our first point of the day from Luke Donald, 7 points to 10 suddenly seems a lot better.

After watching Molinari doing a great job on Woods through the ninth and congratulating our fellow supporters on a task well done we decide to head to the 18th.

USA knees are knocking on the course and as we walk to the 18th the USA supporters are noticeably quieter and tension is beginning to mount.

Surely the unthinkable prospect of anything other than a USA win could not be a possibility.

Some extraordinary events unfold out on the course as we walk back to the 18th. Justin Rose magical shot on the 17th is pivotal.

We reach the 18th and match result after match result gets us that much nearer and with four matches remaining we are all square in two and down in two but all too close to call.

Before we know it the last two matches remain on the course and the scoreboard reads 13 all.

We now believe we can do it with Molinari one up and Kaymer level and needing one point. The excitement mounts and the tension becomes unbearable, Molinari loses his lead to go all square but then delirium as Kaymer takes the 17th to go one up with one to play. People cannot bring themselves to watch. Chaos reigns as TV has a slight time delay against radio so some cheering and others wondering what is happening.

Kaymer needs to halve the 18th for Europe to draw and retain the Ryder Cup, how tight can things get.

Groans as Kaymer’s Tee shot finds the fairway bunker giving him what must be about 160 yards from the green, bigger groans as Stricker’s tee shot finds middle of fairway. Kaymer makes a great shot from the bunker and hits the green, Stricker matches him.

We are precariously standing on chairs to see above the sea of people.

Stricker is first to putt but sends the ball about 8 foot past the hole, kaymer putts and from where we are it looks to be a similar distance past, it is sheer agony to watch. Stricker sinks his putt and kaymer matches him to halve the hole and seals the match with the point we desperately needed.

Pandemonium erupts, people are falling off chairs, much hugging and high fives, everyone wants to congratulate everyone else but, hey, there is still a match out there to be completed. Eventually Francesco Molinari and Woods hit the 18th green and, bless his cotton socks, Molinari takes half a point for an outright European victory.

Another piece of Ryder Cup history is written with this unprecedented fight back, all of us go looking for defibrillators and alcohol to celebrate.

The Party starts, can it get any better – you bet just wait until tomorrow.

Pictures from the Final Day at Medinah Country Club for the 2012 Ryder Cup (© Getty Images)

Monday 1st October

I will treasure the celebrations on the 18th and they will remain with me forever. I was fortunate to be at Oakland Hills in 2004 to witness the huge win for Europe but tonight eclipsed those celebrations. The stands soon filled with Team Europe supporters whilst the USA fans quietly slipped away, grudgingly acknowledging the sheer brilliance of Team Europe’s stunning performance.

The players and caddies were so generous in their appreciation and soon the crowd were rewarded with mementoes ranging from shoes to gloves, sweaters and caps being thrown randomly in to the crowds.

As the Team, Caddies, Captain and Vice Captains took to the podium champagne exploded and both team and supporters danced with glee.

Eventually and much behind schedule the Players were dragged away for the Official closing ceremony being held behind the clubhouse on a part of the ground prepared especially for the occasion with a stage and big screens.

Other than USA officials the crowd was made up entirely of European supporters and for the first time during the week the true extent of Team Europe support became evident en masse.

The Galleries were full and its proximity to the International Pavilion, base to the International contingent of the European barmy army, provided a choir that Gareth Malone would have taken great pride in.

Congratulatory speeches were made by Davis Love and Allen Wronowski on behalf of Team USA and PGA chairman, never have I seen such downcast expressions as the cameras panned Team USA on to the big screens. Phil Weaver delivered a generous and professional response.

Olazabal rose to a rapturous welcome from the assembled audience and was eventually allowed to make his emotional address. As a player he earned his deserved respect of Golf fans worldwide but today Ryder Cup history was written and Olazabal has taken on God like status.

The audience went wild and only allowed the ceremony to continue when Olly personally requested them to allow others to speak. Such is the respect for the man that immediately silence prevailed.

The silver putter was formally handed over to The Scottish First Minister, Mr Salmond as host of the next matches to be played at Gleneagles in 2014.

The audience were treated to musical performances by Nicola Benedetti and Julie Fowlis, lead vocalist in the Pixar film, Brave, sang beautifully.

The ceremony closed with the lowering of the USA and European flags and the teams left the stage to rapturous applause.

It struck me at this stage just how loyal and supportive the European fans had been throughout the matches despite the early results going totally against. This contrasts to certain sections of the Press who up to Saturday night had been very negative and critical of the team and of individual players. I know that some of this personal criticism was counter- productive and totally unwarranted, it was also unhelpful. I will not name names but I am sure that all guilty will recognise themselves and hang their heads in shame, the fans will not forget and will remain sceptical of anything emanating from these individuals in the future.

The atmosphere amongst the supporters as we left Medinah on Sunday night was euphoric and much partying was anticipated.

Most of us were leaving at 5 am on Monday morning and I suspect very few would get any sleep in the meantime.

The people of Chicago are sport fanatics and were most charming and welcoming. Those we met we thanked and extended a welcome to Scotland in2014 so we could return their generous hospitality.

Sunday night we partied Chicago style in to the early hours wanting to savour every last second of this truly wonderful experience.

The 5am departure proved fairly subdued, sleep deprivation and hangovers made for a quiet trip to the airport.

On arrival at Rockford International airport baggage was quickly checked in and the security formalities were cheerfully administered before welcome bacon butties and coffee were provided.

The flight was fairly quiet, addresses and e mail details were being exchanged with the promise of eternal friendship and determination to do it all again in two years’ time.

The travelling players paraded the cup throughout the aircraft, kindly allowing photographs and happily signing autographs to everyone’s delight.

I was in my element and enjoyed every minute.

Unfortunately I had not been able to get Olly’s autograph and felt it inappropriate to hound him despite Mrs M urging me to gate-crash the front end of the plane.

I must have done something right in life, the curtains parted and Olly appeared cup in hand. I scrambled for the camera and pen and he looked me in the eye and said “ ah 25 years” and gave me a hug. I got the autograph I wanted and Mrs M had the presence of mind to capture the moment which I will forever treasure along with the most exciting Golf I, and I suspect anyone else, have ever witnessed and we were there to see it unfold at first hand.

Back at Heathrow I watched the post-match TV news and a shot of Lee Westwood came up and I could clearly lip-read him saying “I can’t believe it”, from one Nottinghamshire lad to another you took the words right out of my mouth.

I hope that my blog has given all of my colleagues at Glenmuir an insight of the 2012 Ryder Cup which they have all contributed to. I am delighted to have represented the Company this week but acknowledge the hard work and dedication from everyone in making this year’s team look so good out on the course.

Finally a word of thanks to Ryder Cup Europe and a suggestion for a change in the selection procedure, next time it may be worthwhile changing to 9 players from Ryder Cup points, two Captain’s picks plus Ian Poulter?

The return to Scotland for the Ryder Cup in 2014 is a mouth-watering prospect not to be missed. All of us at Glenmuir cannot wait.

Pictures from the Presentation and Flight home from the Medinah Country Club for the 2012 Ryder Cup (© Getty Images)

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