Hunter Mahan’s press conference capped an emotional day at Wales. The Hunter Mahan press conference became a big deal after Mahan fell to bitter defeat at the Ryder Cup. The Americans made it a historic finish, rallying from several points down to even things up with the Europeans. It all came down to one match, for the first time ever, to decide the championship. But when Graeme McDowell won that match, Mahan couldn’t contain himself afterward.
Thanks to McDowell winning 3 & 1, the Europeans took the Ryder Cup back by just one point. It was the narrowest defeat possible, and ensured that the Ryder Cup results would actually overshadow the ugly weather. But while Europe rejoiced, the Americans were left heartbroken.
Mahan’s press conference reflects that, as the young American started to talk about his team, then broke down in tears. At that point, Phil Mickelson took the microphone to spare him, and assured that they could have gotten the win from other sources.
Although Mahan could not halve his match and give the Americans the Ryder Cup, the team missed many other opportunities. Stewart Cink and Jim Furyk had the other near misses on Monday, as one more putt from either of them would have gotten that half-point. But if the Americans hadn’t fallen behind to start with, they wouldn’t have needed them.
This has been an eventful year already for Mahan, as the 28-year-old won the Bridgestone Invitational and tied for eighth at the Masters. He made the Ryder Cup team for the second time, and seemed on the verge of coming back against McDowell. But when McDowell made his clutch birdie at 16, the wind was knocked out of the team.
Other than the press conference, the most lasting image of the American may be on 17, as his second shot failed to get back on the green by a wide margin. If McDowell’s birdie hadn’t clinched the match, the failed shot at 17 sealed the deal — which obviously did not help Mahan’s mood later.
Yet the near comeback painted a brighter picture on the Ryder Cup results than anyone expected. Heading into Monday, it looked like the competition would be defined by a European blowout and terrible weather. But because of the USA, this may have come out of nowhere to be the most thrilling Ryder Cup in years.
But in every thrilling contest, there must be a joyful winner, and someone reeling from defeat. And although the press conference left Mahan reeling, Mickelson and his team had his back, as they had their own missed opportunities to mourn. It will only leave them all inspired to do better at the 2012 Ryder Cup back home.
New York Daily News- “In aftermath of losing to Europe, emotional Americans show they really do care about Ryder Cup”
Wooeb News- “Ryder Cup Loss moves Mahan to tears”