The competition turned when Olazabal won the last two holes to beat Stewart, the second American to drive into the water on the 18th. Then Calcavecchia stepped onto the tee and dunked two shots into the drink before conceding his match to Rafferty. When O'Meara lost to James 3 and 2, Europe needed just two of the remaining six matches to retain the Cup.
Couples was playing the 41-year-old O'Connor, whose last appearance in the Ryder Cup was in 1975. With the match even, Couples—who has won exactly one Tour event in the past five years but has, nevertheless, won $502,000 so far this year—seemed to be in good shape, but he missed the five-foot birdie putt at 17 that would have given him the lead. So once again it came down to 18. After a monster drive, Couples was left with a nine-iron to the green, while O'Connor faced a two-iron over the water. Jacklin, who walked the last two holes with O'Connor, assessed the situation and said, "If you put this lad under pressure, I guarantee that you'll win the hole."
O'Connor struck his iron to within four feet, and Couples, as Jacklin had foreseen, pushed his nine-iron to the right of the green. From there he chipped on, then missed a six-footer to make bogey. Europe had its fourth point of the day. One to go.
It wasn't long coming. Green and the 42-year-old Canizares—both of whom ended up shooting 33 on the back side—were even as they came to the 18th green. Both left themselves long putts for birdie, but when Green charged his ball five feet past the hole and then missed coming back, Canizares, to his surprise, had a two-footer to win the match. When he sank it, everyone knew the significance: The U.S. now could do no better than tie; the Ryder Cup would stay in Europe.
Funny thing was, the Americans didn't know when they were beaten. Brand lost the 18th—and his match—to McCumber. Faldo did the same to lose to Wadkins. Watson beat Torrance 3 and 1. Strange, trailing by one hole with three to play, finished with a glorious run of three birdies to defeat Woosnam 2 up and tie the team score at 14, only the second tie in Ryder Cup history. The score now stands at 22 wins for the U.S.; six for Great Britain and Europe.
"It was a fair result," said Jacklin. "The Americans are bloody tough. And determined. And so are we. That's the fun of it. It's been a wonderful feast of golf."
With American pride as dessert.